The Envelope

Chatham Habitat Home Goes Solar

Chatham Habitat for Humanity has been participating in the SystemVision program since its launch in 2001They recently completed a home where they were fortunate enough to partner with the North Carolina non-profit, Grid Free! NC, who donated a 2.5kW rooftop solar array.  The inverter for the system was donated by another North Carolina non-profit, United Solar Initiative.  A solar log monitor was also donated by Solar Data Systems.  The array could produce an average of 318 kilowatt hours of energy per month, or about $35 worth of electricity.  In spring and fall months, the home could approach net zero electric consumption.

Photovoltaic controls.

The homeowner purchasing this home is very excited about the PV system and about moving from the place they have been renting to an energy efficient Habitat home.  “I’m very excited about the solar panels, and to see how they work,” she said.  “Our electricity bills have been over $200/month in the summer at times, so I’m really looking forward to lower bills!”

The size of this lot afforded Chatham Habitat the ability to site this house optimally for both active and passive-solar gain.  Larger windows were installed on the south side and calculations done to determine optimal window height and eve overhang so these windows will be fully shaded during the three hottest months of the year and receive full sun during the three coldest months.

Calculations were also done to achieve Joseph Lstiburek’s recommended 60%/40% eve to ridge vent openings in order to slightly pressurize the attic space, reducing the draw of conditioned air from the house.

Other energy efficiency features incorporated into this home include advanced air sealing measures and Optimum Value Engineering framing methods like 24” OC stud spacing, 2-stud corners, raised heel roof trusses, and ladder blocking at wall intersections.

The blower door result for this home was 439 CFM50.  Without the PV system, the HERS score was 65.  With the PV system, the HERS score dropped to 44.

Chatham Habitat is very grateful for the solar system donation and looks forward to more solar opportunities in the future to further improve the energy efficiency of their homes which benefits both the Partner Families and the environment!

Rooftop photovoltaic panels.


Category: News, Partner Spotlight   

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Sam Myers Joins the Team

Sam Myers

Sam Myers is a familiar face for many SystemVision partners after serving a term as a SystemVision AmeriCorps member this past year. This August, he was hired as a full-time permanent building science specialist at Advanced Energy. His focus is on SystemVision which encompasses energy efficiency plan reviews, trainings and field inspections for new, existing and supportive housing projects.

Sam holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a master’s degree from East Carolina University.  He is passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability. Sam looks forward to meeting more SystemVision partners in the coming year.

SystemVision will not rely upon the AmeriCorps program for staffing in the near future. This new change will allow our staff to better focus on providing excellent and consistent support to our many SystemVision builders and raters across the state.


Category: News, Staff   

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Contractor Corner: New Program Standards

New SystemVision Program Standards go into effect for any house with its first inspection after November 1, 2015. These new standards provide better alignment between ENERGY STAR and Duke Energy Progress’ Residential New Construction Program (RNC). Duke Energy Progress’ Residential New Construction Program provides generous cash incentives up to $4000 to builders and developers who build new energy efficient homes and multi-family residences in their service territory.

To ease the transition to more stringent standards, we have recently completed a round of regional field trainings across North Carolina. If you would like to attend or host a future training or would like training materials, please contact Maria Mauceri.

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Meet the AmeriCorps Members

A critical component to the success of SystemVision is our AmeriCorps staff members.

AmeriCorps engages over 80,000 men and women each year in intensive service to meet community needs in education, poverty, health, disaster relief, and other critical issues. AmeriCorps’ members serve with more than 2,000 non-profits, public agencies, and community organizations across the United States. We are lucky to have two AmeriCorps members support the SystemVision program as Home Energy Raters for a one-year term since 2005. Ben Gellman and Sam Myers started September 2014 and will conclude their term of service with Advanced Energy in July 2015. They look forward to meeting you all over the course of this year at trainings, conferences and job sites!

Ben Gellman

Ben Gellman joined Advanced Energy after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health Sciences. While at UNC, Ben served on the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee, a student group that develops and funds energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on the university’s campus. This experience, combined with an appreciation of Habitat for Humanity’s mission of developing affordable housing, inspired him to become an AmeriCorps member with Advanced Energy’s SystemVision program. He hopes to use his experience with Advanced Energy as a springboard to pursue a career in the field of sustainable building.

Sam Myers

Sam Myers received a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Parks and Recreation Management and recently earned a master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism from East Carolina University (ECU).  He also has experience in the vacation real estate industry on the Outer Banks.  His interest in sustainable energy began when he worked on an Environmental Protection Agency funded project during his time at ECU that focused on making coastal vacation rental homes more energy efficient.  Myers teamed with ECU’s Department of Engineering and a vacation rental firm on Hatteras Island to audit 30 properties.  The data collected helped provide useful findings that helped homeowners reduce energy consumption.  He is excited to be working at Advanced Energy with the SystemVision program as it will further his knowledge of energy efficiency in buildings and provide the necessary skills to begin a career in building science.

Learn more about the impact of AmeriCorps in our nation.



Category: AmeriCorps, Staff   Tags : , ,

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Partner Spotlight: You!

Thanks to all of our partners. SystemVision has guaranteed 4134 homes!!

It’s been thirteen years and nearly one hundred developers across North Carolina have tirelessly worked to build homes that are affordable to purchase and affordable to maintain! 4134 families have benefited from your hard work! Spread the word so we can do more great work in our state!


Category: News, Superlatives   Tags : ,

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