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Solar Heat Systems For The Off Grid Modern Home

Before you get to see the solar system plan for our off grid zero energy modern prefab house kit, I have something even more useful for you:
A Zucchini Soup Recipe!

I made up this soup last night when Daniel Mahdavian, founder of Refuel Consultants, called yesterday afternoon to say not only was he in town to judge some wine competition, but he was coming over right now with the ex-head of Dave Matthew's winery, who now has his own wine, Bradford Reed Wines.

We had just returned back from not one, not two, but THREE DAYS OF A FAMILY REUNION.
Three days on the bay romping with relatives... We returned sunburnt, salty and sweaty and with loads of dirty laundry and sand spilling throughout the house... no groceries... no anything...

Holy lamole!
We have guests on the way?!? And it's dinnertime?!? And the house is wrecked?!?

I frantically started cleaning...

I hid the boxed wine and PBR, started slicing and dicing up the zucchini, and made this soup to feed the crowd.  I bet it's going to be delicious for lunch today, chilled!

Copeland's Zucchini Lavender Soup Recipe
Because, honeychiles, it is zucchini season.
  • Coat a deep pan with olive oil and sauté well a bunch of sliced zucchini and onions (about 3:1 zucchini to onion)
  • Stir in chicken broth and hope you didn't make the broth with a bunch of ginger this time (this time I lucked out, it was flavorful regular chicken broth with no funky seasonings)
  • Add glugs o' lemon juice. Glugs I say! Don't be shy!
  • Puree the soup and finish by stirring in lotsa buttermilk and several dashes of minced, fresh lavender!
Ok, now that I've saved your life with a soup solution to the seasonal garden dilemma of Attack Of The Summer Zucchinis, here is how we plan on connecting our solar heating systems in our zero energy passive solar prefab green home.
It may be zucchini season today, but winter will arrive soon enough in the off grid house kit.
Specs for the Virginia house kit solar heat system General Description: 

  • Separate tanks for DHW and heat. 
  • Each tank has an external heat exchanger connected to the single solar loop to the solar heat collector. There is an identical circulation pump at each heat exchanger and on the solar loop.
  • Each tank has a differential temperature controller that activates if the tank's temperature is significantly lower than the temperature in the solar collector, sending power to the tank's circulation pump as well as to the solar circulation pump.
  • The liquid volume in the 6 PEX radiant loops in the slab is about 60 gallons. Water from the heat storage is circulated under control of a thermostat. During sunny periods the slab is heated during the day. Upon saturation the tank continues to be heated until it is saturated as well. The thermostat is set to increase the desired temperature in the early morning, pre-heating the slab and thus cooling down the tank so that it can absorb new heat. The tankless heater is triggered if the temperature of the water passing through from the heat storage tank is below the set threshold (very low, essentially for frost prevention).
Now back to zucchini soup. 
What would I pair this with to really refresh myself and cool down?
Well, I certainly wasn't going to pour these Wine Dudes my week-old-opened boxed wine I was surreptitiously sippin' on...

Luckily I had a Cayuga White from Spring Creek Wine Cellar chillin' in the back of the fridge.  

Spring Creek Wine Cellar is right down the road from our land / prefab house kit: Leaving the prefab, after you pass our good friends and sustainable farmers of pastured pork, lamb and poultry, the Aults Family Farm, on the way back to Pamplin City, you will see the turn to Baker Mountain road which leads to this gorgeous winery.

...If you come to one of our annual Zero Energy Off Grid Prefab Open Houses, make sure you stop by and visit all these nice folks!

You just might discover a favorite food or wine from your new favorite world-renowned city, Pamplin City, population 199.

We sure do love it here...

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At 9/28/10, 8:46 AM , Anonymous polysun said...


Solar Water Heaters helps in multiple ways and continue to serve their purpose for well over 30 years after they are installed. On the maintenance front as well, Solar Water Heating Systems run at top efficiency and face minimal breakdowns with the least amount of routine maintenance.


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