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Marc Rosenbaum
Martha's Vineyard
high performance building geek
Interests: You mean there's stuff besides bikes and buildings?
Recent Activity
For 36 years, my professional community has been the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. This past week we gathered once again in Boston for the Building Energy Conference. It was one of the best ever. I go to Building Energy to get my mind twisted out of my ordinary fixed ideas... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2015 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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3 weeks from now, NESEA and I will once again offer the Zero Net Energy Homes online course. Who do you know whose practice could really benefit from a more rigorous and quantitative understanding of building science, solar energy, superinsulated construction, ventilation, renewable energy, and low energy use mechanical systems?... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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A blizzard (a severe snowstorm and sustained winds of over 35 mph) is a challenging weather condition for a minisplit heat pump. Recall how an air source heat pump works - the outdoor unit has a compressor and a fan that blows air across a coil with refrigerant. In heating... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at Thriving On Low Carbon
Mid-February can be dreary, but one bright spot on the horizon is always the Building Energy Conference in early March. It’s an annual renewal with old friends and, even better, a way to make new ones. Building Energy is so much more than information – seeing and hearing from so... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Thriving On Low Carbon
Building Energy is the best conference I go to year after year. Design, engineering, construction, renewables, planning, with unusual peer to peer honesty and humor. Hope to see you all there! I'm presenting a 1/2 day workshop on my own Zero Net Energy Deep Energy Retrofit, and I'm sharing a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at Thriving On Low Carbon
Utility meter read 100,691 on the morning of Jan 1st 2014 and 98,990 on the morning of Jan 1st 2015. PV meter read 12,932 on the morning of Jan 1st 2014 and 19,080 on the morning of Jan 1st 2015. We had a net export of 1,701 kWh, used 4,447... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2015 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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Today David Velan of Ecodrain paid us a visit here at South Mountain so my colleague Brice Delhougne and I could see his product firsthand. A few years ago David got interested in capturing the waste heat in shower water and other hot waste water. Others have done that (Powerpipe)... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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We moved in on November 1st, 2013, and the PV system had been activated on October 20th. The NSTAR net meter read zero when installed, read 99980 (it goes down from zero if the energy is net exported) on Nov 8th 2013, and read 98852 on Nov 10th 2014, for... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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This house has an interesting history. The owner of the place had been living on the lot in a structure that began its life as the body of a box truck. It was 8'x16' and had a small attached shed that housed the water pressure tank and the water heater.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
Who do you know whose practice could really benefit from a more rigorous and quantitative understanding of building science, solar energy, superinsulated construction, ventilation, renewable energy, and low energy use mechanical systems? This online course is a packed 10 weeks, and includes a bunch of Excel calculators so folks can... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
I'm giving a talk on Thursday September 4th at 1 pm EDT about one of the more confusing topics that I cover in my Zero Net Energy Homes Online Course. It's called Understanding and Calculating Heat Loss to the Ground, and you can sign up here: Here's the description: Building... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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Tom DeMarco wrote, "you can't control what you don't measure" (widely misattributed to Peter Drucker BTW). Well hell, there's lots you can't control no mater what. A less ambitious implementation of measuring is to aid in understanding how a system operates. The eM is good for this. One useful feature... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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I have a new toy. It's a totally geeky toy - almost everyone else would rather have a large plasma screen TV. It's called eMonitor and it is made by Powerhouse Dynamics. You can buy one from folks at Powerwise Systems or Energy Circle. It's a device that measures energy... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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Once we bought the new house in the fall of 2012, we began to work on the new design. We were starting with a one bedroom house of 1,142 sf, on one level with a full basement. There were some framing oddities that were revealed as the gutting process proceeded.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
Before I get all geeky about this Deep Energy Retrofit journey we've been on I have some overall reflections on the past year. I've built two houses for myself over the years, but I always stopped working, and focused completely on the construction process. I was on site whenever anything... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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One of the interesting twists in the sale of House 5 is that I priced the solar electric system as an option, since it was an income generator, making $1,250/year of electricity. Ultimately the house was purchased by our friend and next door neighbor in the cohousing. He is a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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It’s been a long time since the last post here and much has occurred! Jill and I got hitched on June 2nd 2013 on the beach at the Gay Head Cliffs, then spent the next 7-1/2 days packing up our household at House 5 in Island Cohousing in preparation to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at Thriving On Low Carbon
The third Zero Net Energy Homes online course has just finished up. I have about 30 Capstone projects to review - very cool! If you'd like to get a sense of the course, which will begin again in February, there's a Test Drive module posted, complete with a couple of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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OK, I've been neglecting this blog. We've been in the thick of doing a gut renovation on the house we bought late last fall. Stay tuned for more on this project when I get my head above water! Here's a teaser of the ventilation system: Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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One thing I learned many years ago following the energy usage of buildings I designed was that as the energy needs of the building are reduced, and the fraction of those needs supplied by solar energy increases, the variation in back-up energy from year to year increases. Let's look at... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
Forget the Oscars; forget the Superbowl; the most exciting event of the year is coming up on March 5-7th, the annual Building Energy Conference, hosted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. I can't conceive of missing it - for over 30 years NESEA has been the place where the best... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
The Fall 2012 Zero Net Energy Homes online course had 50 students and was a great learning experience! Brian Hayden of Heatspring wrote about it here. We’re doing it again starting March 11th, the link is here. It's a packed 10 weeks, and includes a bunch of Excel calculators so... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
I tried an experiment this week during our cold snap. We've kept the door closed to the first floor ell (bedroom and bath) and let it run cold, because the Fujitsu wasn't sized to heat that space too. I opened the door early in the cold snap, and let the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
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Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard is really getting the superinsulated, energy efficient home down pat. Last Saturday, accompanied by job super extraordinaire Lee Taberner, I did a final blower door test on the second house they've built at the end of Bailey Park Road. The result - 203 CFM50.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon
The first Zero Net Energy Homes Online course in the NESEA Building Energy Masters Series has finished (and the next one begins March 11th!) I had a terrific experience teaching this course. We had fifty students signed up – architects, design/builders, builders, engineers, energy auditors – almost entirely professionals with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2013 at Thriving On Low Carbon