To quote Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, "We all want a hot shower and a cold beer." Living in a solar house does not require giving up the comforts of home. Our solar hot water system provides hot water for the radiant floor heating, for dishwashing, clothes washing, and -- yes -- even those hot showers. (National Park Service rules prohibit us from offering our guests a cold beer during the Decathlon!)
The team chose to place the Apricus tubes on the roof-mounted racks, along with the PVs. If a community of LEAFHouses is ever built, having roof-mounted hot water tubes means the houses can be closer together than if they were wall-mounted, making more efficient use of land. The tubes absorb the sun’s heat in an insulating layer of air-evacuated glass. While the outside of the tubes is cool, the inside the tubes can exceed 300º F. Piping leads from the tubes to a storage tank in the Mechanical Room. The system is served by a backup electric on-demand water heater.
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