Successful PV System on Common House [was Insulated Concrete Forms]
From: Chris ScottHanson (
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 17:08:17 -0800 (PST)

Our PV panels on the common house have paid for virtually all our electric 
usage in the CH during the 2015 calendar year.  Total cost for electricity for 
ALL of 2015 was $.07.  That’s correct, 7 cents for the year.  This includes a 
ductless Mitsubishi heat pump, an on demand electric hot water heater, and the 
electric motors for two commercial washers and 2 propane dryers.  We were 
thrilled to find this out, with 2015 being our first full year of CH operation. 
 I do not know any of the technical details of the system, but I could find 
out.  (Photos can be seen at 
<> )

Chris ScottHanson
(206) 601-7802

> On Jan 7, 2016, at 10:05 AM, Thomas Lofft <tlofft [at]> wrote:
> ON Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2016 10:39:27 -0500
> From: Miranda Castro <mirandacastro [at]>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Insulated concrete forms
> Miranda wrote: 
> Hi All
> I am curious as to whether any cohousing group has used "insulated concrete 
> forms? in the construction of their homes - 
> or researched this and decided not to and if so why.
> Thanks so much
> Miranda
> Hi, Miranda et al.: 
> At Liberty Village, MD,
> there was one home built with ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) which is now 15 
> years old.  
> I witnessed the construction, but was neither the builder nor the project 
> manager, however, I do now own the home.
> I have otherwise watched the development and use of this technology and 
> consider it very beneficial.
> However, I'm not sure how its current cost balances against all its benefits. 
> Local construction costs will depend upon both material and labor typical 
> local cost variables.
> Benefits: It creates a very airtight structure, 
> It's very highly resistant to external noise;
> It's well insulated and totally air infiltration resistant except at openings 
> for doors, windows and utilities which must be well sealed;
> It's insulation levels can be upgraded by thicker ICF's at the onset. 
> The roof structure may be conventional framing or trusses with structural 
> insulated panels (SIP's) used for roof structure.
> Constraints:
> It requires a very well trained and experienced crew and manager to be well 
> constructed;
> Like any other construction it is still totally dependent upon knowledgeable 
> soils testing and foundation construction;
> Effective use for a PassivHaus would still require high insulation values for 
> doors and glazing, possibly triple glazed;
> I expect long term value will be very high, offsetting possibly higher 
> initial expense.
> Similarly, this house was also developed with Ground Source Geothermal Heat 
> Pumps for Heating & Air Conditioning (HVAC).
> These also added front end expense in 2000, but very high value long term 
> benefits with HVAC operating expenses less than 50% of comparable fossil fuel 
> costs.
> I personally believe strongly in making front end investment for long term 
> value, so I have added photo-voltaic (PV) panels to the rooftop.  
> In this case, the house was planned for perfect southerly roof orientation 
> and all roof penetrations were avoided. 
> In 2014, 36 - 255 watt PV panels were added for a 9.2 KW DC system, 
> eliminating any electricity cost from last May through this month.  
> The house is about 2,400 sq. ft. on 2 levels, with three baths, four 
> bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 living-dining areas.
> It is currently used as an upper and lower level duplex, and has an attached 
> 1 car garage.
> It is now offered on the local real estate market for $385,000, including a 
> 30,000 sq. ft. lot. 
> All inquiries are invited.
> Tom Lofft
> Liberty Village, MD
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