Being that Bill's main concern was the energy efficiency of the house, he chose to build with energy conserving materials and incorporate an active solar heating system
. While he is not off the grid entirely, the house is highly efficient and does have very low electric utilities.
When we returned from our research trip (see the March/April 2003 issue) we went out to the greenhouse and sure enough, even without the active solar heating system
installed, the building was warmer than our passive solar house.
A 10-panel (480 square foot) active solar heating system
in their area can reduce heating costs by about 50%.
Closed loop active solar heating systems
are assembled, operated and maintained in much the same way hydronic boiler systems are, making them compatible with the skills of our existing hydronic installers.