Achieving our Sustainability Dream
David Kendall | A&R Solar
In early 2012 we decided to downsize to a smaller home and reduce our energy footprint. Finding a suitable home meeting my wife’s expectations with the proper roof for solar panels proved to be a challenge, and required six months to accomplish. The house we selected was built in 1987 and required energy efficiency repairs to plug existing air leaks and add additional insulation. An additional goal was to replace one of our internal combustion energy vehicles with an electric vehicle to reduce fossil fuels from our carbon footprint. We also achieved our goal of becoming a net energy producer. Weatherization repairs were required, following a blower-door test, which highlighted substantial air leaks requiring sealing and additional insulation. We initiated repairs consisting of sealing and insulating heating & cooling ducts, attic and unheated crawl spaces. We also installed high efficiency exhaust fans, low-flow toilets, ceiling fans, and replaced a leaking skylight & front door, and replaced all existing light bulbs with LEDs.We replaced the relatively new gas furnace and hot water heater,~1 year old, with a heat pump, heat pump water heater, and a water recirculation pump. We installed a 13.2 kWh solar system (Itek panels and Bluefrog APS Microinverters, built in Bellingham, WA). The installation resulted in 33-panels on South roof, 16-panels on West roof, and 6-panels on East roof. We decided to go with microinverters rather than inverters in series, to reduce the effects of shading. Microinverters report each panel production independently, so the shading on one panel does not effect the production of other non-shaded panels. I should also note that incentives in place through 2020 for solar panels/inverters made in Washington State provide a net-metered pay back of $0.54 per kWh, which helps to pay off the upfront costs of installation. In January 2013, the next chapter in our sustainability dream was realized with the arrival of our electric vehicle (Tesla Model S EV). This vehicle replaced one of our two Prius’s. After the first year of monitoring our solar production and electric use in our all electric home, we achieved our sustainability goal, producing more than 500 kWh (105%) more than we consumed, including charging our EV. Our solar production has subsequently banked more than 1,800 kWh over our electric use.
Some GPS systems may not navigate correctly to this home. Following these directions instead.
I-5 to exit # 177 - Edmonds Ferry (Lake Ballinger Way, State Route 104). Take 1st exit to right and proceed west on Lake Ballinger Way (State Route 104) and take right at third light onto 76th Avenue West. Note, Ballinger Union76 gas station is located on northwest corner of 76th Ave. W and Lake Ballinger Way/State Route 104).
I-5 to exit # 177 – Lake Ballinger Way, State Route 104). Take exit and proceed west on Lake Ballinger Way, and take right at third light onto 76th Avenue West.
Proceed north on 76th Ave. W. to second street on right; 241 St. SW. Take right onto 241 SW and go one block, bear left, 241 St. SW becomes 74th Avenue West. Proceed down 74th West around southern end of Lake Ballinger to southwest corner of lake, where. 74th Avenue West bears right heading north (note, Interurban trail is adjacent on east side of 74th Ave. West). Proceed about 0.45 miles toward yellow barrier across 74th Ave. W., just past the southern end of Lake Ballinger golf course (soon to be a Park) on right (east) side of road. Our house is the second house on the left side, south of the yellow barrier, the brown house with the solar panels and Emerald Green Arborvitaes across the front yard.