Very Fine Solar Homes in Maryland
Sharing our visits from the Maryland Home Solar Tour
Our staff at the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) was privileged to join the 2016 National Solar Home Tour, held Saturday, October 1, 2016. Our team visited homes in Howard and Ann Arundel counties.
The first home visited, in Harwood, MD, was completed in 2011. This off-grid home features all the comforts of a typical home yet boasts a 10 kW photovoltaic system. The heating is primarily provided by a 9 flat plate panel solar thermal collector and radiant floor system. On cloudy days, energy generation is supplemented by a two-ton geothermal heat pump and a Navien tankless water heater. Cooling is accomplished through a unique geothermal in-floor radiant cooling system aided by two air handlers. All heating and cooling systems are connected via automated optimizing controls. The home’s frame is timber, SIP panel construction with R-44 walls, passive solar engineering, an insulated precast foundation, and Serious/Alpen quad pane windows. A plug-in electric hybrid vehicle charging station was installed in 2012 and is available to visitors.
The second home visited, located in Ellicott City, MD is a 1950s ranch house and boats solar PV, solar hot water, a cupola/solar chimney plus solar powered daylight tubes, attic fan, sidewalk lights and south facing energy efficient windows. The home also features two highly efficient Energy Star mini-split heat pumps (26-SEER), a fireplace insert woodstove, exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), CFL/LED lighting, recycled glass kitchen counter tops and recycled floor tiles in the foyer and basement. In the yard there are two rain gardens, permeable walkways, three rain barrels and two compost piles, a 1,000 gallon cistern, extensive food forest and native meadow planting. Additionally, there is also an aquaponics system in the basement.
“Many home and buildings utilize energy efficient measures cost effective technologies that can benefit the environment, move us closer to energy security and protect against power outages,” Tung explained.
The metro DC tour, organized by national and local arms of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), and the Sierra Club highlights investments in the clean energy economy. Renewable energy can help homeowners reduce their monthly energy bills
The National Solar Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. Now in its 21st year, this coalition of over 5,500 home and business owners, volunteers, solar installers, public officials and non-profit organizations conduct nationwide open house tours of their energy efficient and solar-powered buildings.