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A Classic 1970s Home Goes from Solar-Heated to Net Zero Energy

Richard Levine’s Raven Run house in Kentucky has evolved over the decades

Posted on Apr 2 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Last week I was in Lexington, Kentucky speaking at the Midwest Residential Energy Conference. It was a great regional conference, and the folks there are making things happen. (I even played nice. With all those Kentucky Wildcat fans there, I held back and didn't mention in any of my talks that I'm a Florida Gator.) One of the many highlights for me was getting to visit Richard Levine’s 1970s active solar house. It stands out like no other house I've seen, and I've seen other solar houses.

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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Shades of Green: the 1970s vs. the Millennial Generation

The Millennial generation approaches design from the presumption that central air conditioning is normal and necessary

Posted on Nov 13 2012 by Vera Novak

Recently a friend asked for help in designing an off-grid house. Interestingly, I pulled out the old books from the '70s to show as examples and inspiration. We tagged a combination of ideas: an earth berm house, a passive solar house, an attached greenhouse buffer space, a solar thermal system, and a stack effectAlso referred to as the chimney effect, this is one of three primary forces that drives air leakage in buildings. When warm air is in a column (such as a building), its buoyancy pulls colder air in low in buildings as the buoyant air exerts pressure to escape out the top. The pressure of stack effect is proportional to the height of the column of air and the temperature difference between the air in the column and ambient air. Stack effect is much stronger in cold climates during the heating season than in hot climates during the cooling season. heating/cooling system incorporating a heat sinkWhere heat is dumped by an air conditioner or by a heat pump used in cooling mode; usually the outdoor air or ground. See air-source heat pump and ground-source heat pump. (southern rock exposure) and a cool northern forest glen.

It all seemed so — natural …

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Image Credits:

  1. Spector Associates

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Is Green Building for Everyone?

What about homeowners who like fresh air and minimal mechanical systems?

Posted on Sep 12 2011 by Scott Gibson

Is green building too narrow in focus, suitable only for people who keep the windows closed and let mechanical systems regulate temperature and humidity? What about people who like fresh air, even in winter, and are looking for minimal intervention from mechanical heating and cooling equipment?

That seems to be at the heart of a question from Maria Hars, a GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader who lives in a passive solar house built 30 years ago in northern Massachusetts.

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  1. Maria Hars

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