Past Featured New York Solar Homes of the Month!
Rated as one of the best energy star homes in New York State. This East Bloomfield Solar Electric earth sheltered home is a premier energy model of todays technologies with a solar electric system installed by O'Connell Electric and Rochester Solar Technologies, Energy testing by Air-Tight Technologies, Energy Star Appliances, CF lighting, and much more!
This East Bloomfield Earth Sheltered home features a 4Kw Battery Based Grid Connected system and is state of the art technology for energy efficiency. This home is one of the first in the New York State to be near net energy zero, this home has the latest in energy star appliances, CF lighting, Solar PV electric, Triple paine windows, Radiant floor heating, and much more.
Another quality job from Rochester Solar Technologies! Professionalism, quality and safety are what makes Rochester Solar Technologies a proven choice by homeowners in the Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse areas. We provide quality NEC compliant installations and renewable energy systems that fit the needs of our clients.
Pictured above is an Outback Power system featuring (2) GTFX3048 power inverters, (2) MX 60 charge controllers, and battery storage for several days of reliable electric for backup loads. Quality, Reliability, and energy dependance are what make this home a leader in the Rochester New York area!
The Earth Sheltered home under construction
Earth Sheltered East Bloomfield New York Solar Home under Construction
This home is under four feet of ground with the exception of this south facing front. The inside is domed to give it the appearance of being bigger then the 2400 sq foot of living area. It gets its electric from the sun and photovoltaic panels, along with a wind turbine. Heating is provided by a heat pump and in floor heat, but since the ground is a constant 54 degrees, then the pump will not usually need to run. This home has been rated as one of the highest energy star rated homes in New York State
Bloomfield, N.Y. -
Fri Nov 09, 2007, 10:37 AM EST
The wind blew briskly under a cold, cloudy sky Monday night, but Dave and Maria Fulmer’s not-quite-finished house at 2654 Whalen Road in East Bloomfield was bright, snug and warm.
All through construction, passers-by have stopped to check out the low-slung home, actually two buried concrete mini-domes designed by Earth Sheltered Technologies.
The Fulmers’ twin domes needed $180,000 in concrete, around 400 cubic yards. The south-facing, earth-sheltered building is capped by rubber membranes, sealants, and a two-foot layer of seeded earth to keep it tight. The house has a filtered well and conventional septic system, top-of-the-line insulated windows and energy-efficient appliances. It’s powered by a windmill and solar panels.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the public can check out this latest, greatest Energy Star home for themselves. Admission is $10 per family, and guided tours start at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Each admission also gets a notebook and CD about the building that includes vendor and builder information and business cards for each system in the building.
Eighty-eight-year old Isaac Kaplan, will live here soon with his good friends, the Fulmers, along with Dave Fulmer’s parents. Kaplan loves the place. “I get my own bathroom,” he said.
There's only one problem. The rolling Finger Lakes countryside to the south out his new bedroom window is bringing back the Danish-born Kaplan's memories of World War II. “It reminds me of Europe,” said the U.S. Army veteran, who fought at the Battle of the Bulge.
As Kaplan reminisced, the Fulmers’ earth-sheltered home at Whalen Road purred along on its photovoltaic and wind-energy power plant. The system had stored the sun’s energy earlier that day. Now it doled out night-time power via the house’s gel-pack batteries, warming the Fulmers’ visitors.
The solar and windmill-based power system generates small amounts of surplus power, and the Fulmers may eventually get checks — not bills — every month as their home feeds that extra power back to the grid.
On Monday, Dave Fulmer toured families of the men who built his unusual $500,000, 2,400-square-foot house. His wife, Maria, dished up snacks and drinks in the kitchen/great room as the praise rolled in from visitors.
Fulmer thanked Mike Woodruff, East Bloomfield's code enforcement officer, for helping the couple with the complex project. He praised Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. for giving the couple a mortgage on the unusual home.
“Those people were burning the midnight oil to make it happen for us," said Dave Fulmer. “It’s rare in the banking business. They helped us keep everything local.”
Yes, he gets occasional teasing about the house’s appearance. “The Flintstones — that sort of thing. Then they go through the place, large bedrooms, vaulted ceilings. It’s pretty neat to see how people can change after they see and feel it,” said Fulmer.
“This is absolutely amazing,” said Marc Nadeau, whose firm Direct Buy sold the Fulmers cabinetry, doors and other fixtures.
“Dave has basically rewritten the book here,” said sales tech Phillip Prouty from VP Supply, a wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and air-conditioning products with offices from Syracuse to Buffalo. He was looking over the zoned radiant heating, which allows for controlling the heat in various parts of the house. “I could tell you a lot of horror stories,” added Prouty, of other systems that were not controlled properly.
Matt Johnson from Airtight Solutions pronounced the house “extremely energy efficient” after measuring air loss. "This house tested at 190 CFM (cubic feet per minute air loss), higher than we expected,” he said. “That's number one in New York state.” Johnson provided air change and sweated the details on fixtures like ventilator assemblies and insulation.
The insulation types used in the house include open-and closed-cell soy-based foam. Soy-based foam goes on as liquid and fills every crevice.
The Energy Star test Matt Johnson described qualified the Fulmers for $18,000 in state funds to help pay for their $40,000 electric system: a 1,000-watt windmill, 4,000-watt photovoltaic panel system, two 3,000-watt power inverters and storage batteries.
Even so, this is a relatively off-the-shelf, low-cost solar home — not an expensive showpiece — and represents a look at the affordable near future for homeowners.
"The Fulmers were very conservative in their approach," said power-system vendor Shawn Lessord of Rochester Solar Technologies. Lessord's firm is a subsidiary of Victor-based O'Connell Electric.
Lessord says payback will come 8 to 10 years out for the Fulmers' new power system, and costs keep falling for future solar systems. "Panel costs are dropping," said Lessord. He has installed 30 systems this year alone for local homeowners, in part due to the state incentive program.
Dave Fulmer does not plan a lawn, though he will have to mow his roof each spring. He has seeded the house with prairie grasses that only grow about 7 inches high every year.
If half a million bucks sounds steep for a 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom house, builder Dan Pettit, who constructed the Fulmers’ home, begs to differ. Tracked down by cell phone on an Interstate highway, Petitt says it’s about time.
"We've been hiding the facts of what houses really cost to build," said Pettit of shorter-lived, energy-hungry conventional buildings. "We have done the easy thing, and now it’s catching up with us in every aspect of life."
Case in point, one Wall Street analyst last week predicted $300 a barrel oil, which currently hovers at about $90 per barrel. Electric bills are rising accordingly.
To offer a low-maintenance, energy-efficient building, Pettit moved to a new technique.
"I'm a wood guy. But here we are learning concrete. It’s going to cover many bases," said Pettit. "I've become a believer that this stuff is important. Whether we like it or not, we are having more storms, hail, hurricanes, forest fires. This can withstand a lot of that."
Then there is maintenance and lifespan. Like a hybrid car, the Fulmer home may need new batteries in five to eight years. But other expensive items — including replacing the home itself eventually — come far down the road for a concrete earth-sheltered home.
And then there’s the check from the local power company.