Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Q+A with Stew MacLehose, owner of Double Thick Walls on the Dime in Falmouth

From the August 2011 Bright-Minded Home column in Maine Home + Design:

Designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects, this prototype for a Modular Zero Home does not have a furnace. Instead, its radiant floors are heated by the rooftop solar thermal system and supplemented with an electric on demand water heater. Triple-glazed casement windows minimize heat loss, and the exterior walls are double-studded and filled with R-40 dense cellulose insulation. The name is a pun on “Double Nickels on the Dime” by The Minutemen.

Q: What have been the biggest benefits of your home’s efficient features?
A: Not having an oil bill.  My electric bills can get high ($200) in mid-winter when solar gain is at its weakest and the electric on demand water heater kicks in, but even then, that’s a lot less expensive than an oil bill and it’s our only bill. The solar hot water has produced the best return on investment, due in large part to the tight construction of the house. 

Q: Are there any systems or products that you found less useful than others?
A: No, there are only two mechanical systems in the house, the solar hot water system and the ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator), which is necessary to bring fresh air into the tightly-sealed house. Both of these systems are essential and very useful.

Q: Are there any new efficient technologies out there that you'd like to try that you haven’t yet?
A: I’d like to move to photovoltaic panels next.  At this point they wouldn’t be cost effective, but I’m hoping the price comes down in the future.

Check out more Kaplan Thompson designs at

No comments:

Post a Comment