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Renewable energy upgrade plan for 6,000' altitude mountain home

Post in 'The Green Room' started by ylekyote, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. ylekyote

    ylekyote New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2013
    Messages:
    73
    I'm planning and wanting suggestions. Currently I have a 900watt solar system that isn't hooked up (it was off the grid but house now on electric) I'm having that done very soon, along with upgrading it to a larger production to cover all electrical costs. Plan on adding about 6kw. I have about 2700 SF, about half and half on each level.

    Two inoperable wood stoves on each level.

    I have a propane boiler in my basement that sits next to my solar collector tank. The solar tank assists the gas hot water and boiler by preheating water for them. It's also hooked to my in-floor radiant heat, but isn't large enough to really do much with that.

    This is my plan:

    New medium sized EPA (non-cat) wood stove for my upstairs floor immediately. Ordered one...on its way!

    Over winter will install 6kw of solar panel to give me 7kw system total for net metering. Will have credit by end of first 12 months and use that excess for oil-radiant space heaters as-needed in the winter (bathrooms and where my wife wants one).

    Over winter I'll make a greenhouse (about 10 x 15) and have a corner section of it for a barrel wood stove (that corner will be paneled with aluminum instead of plastic, and likely have heat shields on the sides facing the plants). I'll install copper coils on inside and outside of stove (wrapping the outside with heat shield) and put a solar-powered blower fan on it too. Both the hot water and forced air will flow beside my lower growing beds for heating, and then travel into the downstairs for heat, and radiate upwards too.

    When it comes time to replace my gas boiler, I'll see what is new and improved to do that with. Likely a small wood furnace, unsure if outside or inside. If outside I may place a hot storage tank where the gas boiler now sits. I have about 5' x 8' of space there, with the solar tank right next to it.

    I will likely keep my hot water heater until it goes, and then replace with on-demand electrical unit since I have solar production.

    Suggestions?

    I need to find 2 metal barrels to make my stove with a Vogelzang kit. Any suggestions?

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  2. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    3,731
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    DId you ever try that with a barrel stove before ? Im wondering if it works well.
  3. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,868
    Loc:
    SE PA
    what is your location?

    The copper on the barrel stoves is to tie into a storage system of some sort, huh?
  4. ylekyote

    ylekyote New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2013
    Messages:
    73
    I'm in Colorado. Another member uses coils in his top barrel and says it works good. He use to have the coils wrapped around the outside only, but said it didn't work as well as he wanted, so he put them inside. I'm not exactly sure how he has it rigged from there. I think ideally one would have a storage tank to hold the hot water and let it go as needed (and ideally use it to preheat the domestic hot water too), otherwise it would have to be controlled with a loop and let the heat go into the ground (or some other areas, outside radiator?) when heat was not wanted for the interior radiator heater. I was gonna start simple and just use the barrel stove for greenhouse heat, as well as bottom floor heat for my home. Then maybe later if that works well I'll rig it to assist my my hot water heater, solar tank, and in-floor heat. Maybe when my Maytag propane water heater goes out I can reuse the tank and plumb my hot water from the stove to it. I'll have to study up on pressures and all that stuff and have a plumber do that. Possibly split the pipe from the stove into two isolated loops. One for domestic hot water and one for the downstairs radiator heat.
  5. Laszlo

    Laszlo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    Look up Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute, both based in Colorado at over 7,000' I believe, and both his home and the institute headquarters are net energy producers. Though they do utilize solar, their main enabling technologies are extreme energy efficiency (negawatts, as they call them), resulting in uncompromised comfort and long-term cost savings.

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