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Sean Misskelley from Clarum Homes talks about the solar thermal system in the Menlo Passive Home Project.
The house is equipped with a 3-panel 120-gallon Velux solar thermal system with a high-efficiency vortex made by A.O Smith as a back-up water heating source. This system is designed to offset approximately 80% of the energy needs for heating the home’s water and up to 50% of the home’s demand for its space heating.
This system is also used inside the home in conjunction with the heat recovery ventilation system with a hydronic in-line heat coil. This system heats the water on the roof, coming down through a controller that reads the temperature and stores it in the storage tank. The high-efficiency boiler only kicks on when the temperature drops due to lack of solar heat caused from rainy or very cloudy weather.
While the HR ventilator will take care of particulate pollution (though I would rather the filter be MERV 16 than 13), what about the polluting gases that are in most areas these days? I am talking about fumes from wood burning, barbeques, automobile combustion exhaust, maybe diesel exhaust (very nasty stuff), other internal combustion engines (like lawnmowers), and the fumes from pesticides, herbicies, and fungicides. A particulate-only filter will not help any of these from being brought into the otherwise healthy home.