Teacher educates neighborhood about solar

When hail stones damaged the shingle roof of Ron Edmiston of East Kingston, New Hampshire two years ago, the Timberlane Regional High School physics teacher purposefully set out to replace it with an environmentally friendly roofing system.

He had recently sold 18 acres of land to a nature conservancy that wished to preserve an Atlantic Cedar swamp along a nearby river. With that money and the compensation they received from their insurance company to repair the roof, Ron and his wife, Becky, decided to install an integrated solar roofing system including a standing seam roof with BIPV solar laminates and a Dawn Solar thermal system under the roof panels.

”We wanted to go with the best roofing system we could find with the understanding it would be guaranteed to last for the next 25 years,” recalls Ron. “We had traveled a lot and seen how people were actively doing construction that would have a positive impact on the environment.  We had always envisioned having a solar home and this was our opportunity to do it,” he notes.

The Englert ULTRACool standing seam metal roof Ron chose is the platform for the integrated roofing system and plays a key role in balancing the performance of the photovoltaic laminates and solar thermal system. The  Photovoltaic (BIFV) system uses self-adhesive quarter-inch thick laminates that are virtually invisible and provide all the electric energy the average home requires year round while the solar thermal system mounted under the Englert Solar standing seam dramatically reduces the cost of heating hot water.  The roof and the thermal technology are self-regulating to prevent overheating and can even be used to heat roofs to rid them of snow and ice.

The couple ran into one minor, potential, stumbling block for the plan. Their house was in an association-owned development and building requirements called for shingled roofs.  Ron jumped that hurdle by showing the association how he could replace shingles with a Decra shingle system for the front of the house while using standing seam on the back where it could not be seen from the street.

Ron chose to do not one integrated roofing system, but two — one on the southeast and the other on the southwest sections of the new roof. The laminates were applied to an Englert Series 1300 standing seam roof.  The photovoltaic installations comprise a 6Kw system and provide electricity to the house.  

The Dawn Solar Systems were installed under the Englert portion and under another section covered with the Decra shingles. One of the systems provides hot water for household uses. The other system is for pre-heating water that is used for the couple’s outdoor pool in summertime and to preheat water fed to an existing oil furnace used for home heating in the colder months.

The project took several months to complete because Ron chose to do the electrical work required in tying the solar PV laminates into the home’s existing electrical system.  The plumbing for the solar thermal system was done by Becky’s cousin, a professional plumber in the area.

The system was up and running two years ago and to date, Ron and Becky have recorded a savings on electricity of $4,600 over the two-year period.  Because of fluctuating oil prices it is difficult to calculate the savings on heat and hot water, explains Ron. But he points out that on a “nice day” — 40°F or better—the standing seam roof and its photovoltaic laminates will heat the entire house.

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