Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nob Hill Haus receives two Awards!

We could not believe it ourselves, but the Nob Hill Haus has recently received not one but two of the most prestigious awards a home can hope for: Two Gold Nugget Merit Awards: One was earned in the custom home under 3,000sf category, where the clean modern yet functional design was honored. The second one was in the sustainable category for projects certified under Build it Green's "Green Point Rated" program. The Golden Nugget Awards are held every year and entries from all around the world are competing against each other. We are very proud to be among the winners!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The power of the Sun- taken a step further

With the summer heating up a lot in recent days (we are hitting the 100s now regularly), the solar water heater is reaching the tank's hot water capacity long before the day is over. The collector fluid (glycol) reaches temperatures around 270 degrees while we have a water temperature of about 130 degrees inside the tank. As a matter of fact, the pump is shutting off at 1.30 and the glycol drains back into the expansion tank to prevent the system from overheating. See the graphic above with the solar WH performance chart. The energy of the sun that is hitting the collector after that is not being used at all. In order to make use of that energy, a steam generator would have to be connected to the tank and the hot water could then contribute to generate electricity. This is definitely something to think about for future solar systems.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wildlife Watching

Living in a tree house with a view gives us plenty of opportunity to watch the wildlife around the house. There are the omnipresent squirrels (see photo) munching on tree fruits and nuts and other delicacies (and burying them later in the ground where they're routinely forgotten. We also have the usual skunks, raccoons and a couple of red tailed hawks with young chicks learning to fly (and making a lot of noise in the process) and the occasional coyote prowling through the yard in search of a meal. And sometimes, they're successful: Not too long ago, we could observe a pack of three coyotes running around our and the neighbors' gardens and munching on something not recognizable. We later found out that one of the semi-wild cats had gone missing and also found a bunch of fur in the garden. To eat and be eaten....Bon appetite!