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Re: Solar at the community level

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Posted by nicksanspam on July 24, 2008, 2:38 pm

I've heard some architecture schools require students to build themselves
small shelters and live in them. The Jersey Devil Design/Build Princeton
architects arrive at a site, build themselves shelters, then build
the client a house with their own hands, then move on.

Architects should be paid more and do more serious solar heating.
The arithmetic is no more complex than simple beam calculations.

PE Norman Saunders estimates the need to "purchase heat" in his solar
houses using Gaussian statistics, in the same way that other engineers
predict 100 year floods. In one case, he told his clients they might
have to purchase heat once every 35 years. With that kind of serious
engineering, it's not unreasonable for a designer to guarantee to pay
100% of a client's fuel bills for 20 years, or maybe collect 20% of
the conventional minus the actual fuel bills for 20 years, or get it
all up front, with some sort of performance bond.


Posted by Morris Dovey on July 24, 2008, 3:35 pm
nicksanspam@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Wow! I was being facetious, but this sounds like a great program. Given
that the program does already exist, let's advocate for making
successful completion a prerequisite for tenure in any/all architecture
teaching positions? Hmm - federal funding of the program to include a
cash bonus for completion within the first five years of the program.

Dunno - we already have a perception that architects are unaffordable
except to the affluent. Beware of invoking the Law of Unintended
Consequences. If you want to push for higher fees, then I think it'd be
a good idea to also push for a certain amount /pro bono/ services.

After I posted, it occurred to me that an "early out" after some trial
period (say five years or so) might make sense if actual heating costs
fell below some threshold value.

That would allow phasing-in new (improving) performance standards in
much the same way that auto mileage standards are upgraded - and might
avoid a sudden ballooning of new home prices.

The downside is that no matter how it's handled the scheme imposes a
number of real burdens on small homebuilders - the challenge will be to
provide them with the education they need (It's not just the architects
who need better education).

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

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