cowanhouse: HOME ENERGY AUDITS since 2001 – schedule yours today

West Tennessee Solar Tour Announcement – Saturday October 5, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Please join us for the fifth year of our free Zero Energy Homes open house tours in Atwood, TN, sponsored by cowanhouse and hosted by James and Jeff Cowan. As part of the American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) National Solar Tours program, this event offers a huge educational opportunity for anyone interested in high performance homes or sustainable living. Guided tours and detail specification sheets will be provided to attendees. And, if the sun is shining, we should also have solar baked cookies!

Jack W. Cowan, ph 901-829-5062, email- jackwcowan@aol.com

Website – www.cowanhouse.com

Detail event information below.

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TOUR 2 ZERO ENERGY HOMES FREE!

As part of the American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) 2013 National Solar Tour, we are proud to announce the open houses of 2 Zero Energy Homes(ZEH). Take advantage of this opportunity to tour two different construction approaches to achieve sustainable housing.

Dates & Times: Saturday October 5, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Tour 1 – Sponsored by cowanhouse and hosted by James and Reeda Cowan: 1500 Honeysuckle Road, Atwood, TN 38220

http://www.ases.org/solar-tour/tours/atwood-zero-energy-home-solar-tour-1/

Description: Unique opportunity to tour  FRZEH (Fat’s and Reeda’s Zero Energy Home) is a utility grid-tied, 6.2kWh PV home participating in TVA’s Green Power Providers program. FRZEH was built with: a super performance building shell, geothermal heat pump (GHP), desuperheater, passive solar design, HEPA filtration with energy recovery ventilation (ERV), heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system located inside conditioned envelope.

Tour 2 – Sponsored by cowanhouse and hosted by Jeff and Karen Cowan: 1220 Honeysuckle Road, Atwood, TN 38220

http://www.ases.org/solar-tour/tours/atwood-zero-energy-home-solar-tour-2/

Description: Completed in spring of 2012, the  home of Jeff and Karen Cowan has been named ‘Fort Zero’ because of its stalwart Insulated Concrete Forms(ICF) construction and safe room, participates in TVA’s Green Power Providers program, has 8.6 kWh of photovoltaic(PV)solar panels, a Solar Thermal Water Heating System, geothermal heat pump (GHP) with desuperheater, passive solar design, central vacuum system, HEPA filtration with energy recovery ventilation (ERV), heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system located inside foam encapsulated conditioned attic.

Directions: click on: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1500%20honeysuckle%20road,%20atwood,%20tn%2038220

Or, driving instructions: In Atwood, TN, turn North on Stewart Street off highway U.S. 70/79. Turn left on Honeysuckle Road. The FREZH (Fats and Reeda’s Zero Energy Home) house is the fourth on right. Fort Zero is the second house on right.

For more information, contact: Jack W. Cowan, 901-829-5062 , jackwcowan@aol.com.

About the National Solar Tour:

The ASES National Solar Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. This event offers you the opportunity to tour homes and buildings to see how you can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to reduce monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change. More than 165,000 participants will visit some 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities across North America.

Now in its 18th year, this event is coordinated nationally by the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society in collaboration with dozens of outstanding partner organizations. It takes place annually during the first Saturday in October in conjunction with National Energy Awareness Month. We invite you to join us.

Find other tours: http://www.ases.org/solar-tour/find-a-tour/

Live Green Tennessee is airing a 3 part series on the 2 Net Zero Energy Homes designed and built by cowanhouse.  Click the following links to view all 3 episodes on YouTube.  The segment descriptions are taken from the Live Green site.

Episode 1

Published on Sep 2, 2013, from Live Green Tennessee – Season 6, Episode 6

On this three part segment of Live Green Tennessee, we will be exploring the completely Net Zero efficient homes of the Cowan family. The Cowan’s show us all the options that are available for making a home more energy efficient which is very powerful knowledge to help your family save money in today’s economy. The first house shown was built on a budget of $120,00.00. This family stuck to their budget and still lives comfortably, all while saving money and energy.

Episode 2

Published on Sep 9, 2013, from Live Green Tennessee: Season 6, Episode 7

On this second installment of Solar Homes in West Tennessee, Jeff Cowan will take us through his home, which like the first house is also a Net Zero Home. His home was not set to a budget during the building stages, but shows us all the many ways available to break down parts of our own homes and learn the most effective possibilities available in order to become more energy efficient and save you money, while also doing your part to save the environment. WLJT’s Laura Standifer returns with part 2 of this story.

Episode 3

Published on Sep 16, 2013, from Live Green Tennessee: Season 6, Episode 8

In this third segment of the Cowan’s Net Zero Homes, Live Green Tennessee will finish taking you on a tour with the Cowans & their completely energy efficient homes. Jeff and Jack Cowan will show you more ways to save energy and save money through the use of an extremely energy efficient water heater, a storm shelter that doubles as a closet and how they keep their homes cool by limiting their use of their cooling system through the use of thick concrete walls.

Live Green Tennessee is a PBS program funded through a public awareness initiative from WCTE-TV,  Upper Cumberland Public Television, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Jack attended the First Forum held at Bethel University by TREEDC (Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council) on May 17, 2013.

TREEDC Mayors McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland, Carroll County Mayor Kenny McBride and Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelley recently organized a forum held at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee. A total of 51 interested attendees heard presentations from the Tennessee Technology of McKenzie, Tennessee Gas Association, Mid-South Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles (CGNV), Maynard Select, ARiES Energy and PHG Energy. During the morning session of the forum, Bethel University President Dr. Robert Prosser stated that Bethel University has experienced the highest percentage of growth in student enrollment for any private university in Tennessee.

Cowanhouse friend Bruce Moore, of the Tennessee Technology of McKenzie, gave an overview of the school’s solar training and other renewable energy initiatives. Pat Riley with TREEDC Gold Member Tennessee Gas Association gave an informative presentation about the environmental and economic benefits of natural gas for fleets.

Other speakers discussed the progress and benefits of on-going projects such as:

  • Dwain Beydler with Mid South CNGV stated that small business fleets can save at least $2.00 a gallon of fuel by converting to Compressed Natural Gas.
  • The Covington Wastewater project, sponsored by PHG Energy, will divert over 300 tons/month from landfill and save over 452 tons of CO2 Emissions per year.
  • Harvey Abouelata of ARiES Energy gave an update regarding the cellulose to hydrogen processor to supply energy to Wampler’s Sausage in Lenoir City.
  • Brad Baker with Dyersburg City Schools advised the audience that he tracks energy consumption he can quickly identify and correct areas needing immediate attention.

The Mission of the Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (TREEDC) is to provide leadership in renewable energy and economic development by connecting technology and energy with sustainable rural economic development through a regional network of local communities that actively provide assistance, share ideas, resources and information to promote the development of renewable energy and economic development programs.

TREEDC on Facebook and TREEDC newsletters

WestStar invited Jack to make a presentation re Net Zero Energy Homes and home energy efficiency.  The WestStar mission is to identify, encourage and equip community-minded people who want to become more involved, want to help West Tennessee become a better place, and are willing to accept assertive and dynamic leadership roles.

Participants learn new leadership skills and develop strategies for assisting communities in solving problems and maximizing potential. Participants also become part of a growing network of other leaders who, through mutual support and assistance, shape the future of West Tennessee.
WestStar will be the premier leadership program in the U.S. that establishes an elite group of people bonded by their commitment to realizing the educational, economic and social development of West Tennessee .

WestStar is an exciting program of study designed exclusively for class members.  One of the major benefits of the program is the interaction with other class members and the people who are shaping the future of West Tennessee. Therefore, the program requires full participation by those selected for the program.

Applicants should carefully review the program dates and assure their availability for all sessions. Board of Trustee policy specifies that any absence from a session or any part of a session be reviewed by the Trustees to determine if continued successful participation is still feasible.

WestStar benefits the people of West Tennessee first and foremost as a result of the knowledge, commitment, excitement, and enthusiasm graduates have for helping the region achieve its potential. Individuals also benefit from:
1.The new skills and knowledge they have gained from the seminars;
2.The contact and friendships made with fellow chere to learn moelass members and recognized state leaders;
3.The confidence acquired in their ability to make a difference in their communities and the region; and
4.Public recognition from membership in a unique commitment to serving their communities and the state.

Vent Cap System

March 26, 2013

Cowanhouse recently invested in the Vent Cap Systems to provide more efficient duct leakage testing for our customers. Up to this point, Jack climbed a ladder and applied duct mastic to the ceiling registers and repeated the process after the test to remove the mastic. Check out the pictures to see Jack illustrate the difference between the Vent Caps as opposed to the ladder and tape.

Vent Cap Systems’ Vent Caps allow you to safely, and REMOTELY, seal HVAC systems for duct leakage testing.

Using the telescoping pole, our premium “Squares” can easily be set at a distance and attach with a new patents-pending, ratcheting “T” that quickly seals HVAC vents with no tape mess, waste, or hassle.  They are faster, can be picked up without bending over, and easily seal even the highest ceiling registers without the use of a ladder.

They have a non-marring plastic hook specially designed to fit between the louvers of a register.  Inserted, the hook is turned 90 degrees and is set.  Simply pull the cord through the mounted, spring-loaded fastener and the box’s soft foam gasket seals safely around the entire vent, not just the face of it.  This provides a superior seal – safely – against heavily textured ceilings and even popcorn.  To remove, simply apply pressure to the button releasing the cord.  Slide the box down the cord, and remove the hook.  No muss, no fuss.  No more clumsy, wasteful tape.  Save time, money, and frustration.

RESNET Conference 2013

March 1, 2013
cowanhouse owner Jack Cowan attended the RESNET Conference 2013 held February 27 – March 1 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida.  The 2013 theme is Building Knowledge, Building Teamwork. The RESNET Building Performance Conference is the premier national forum on home energy ratings, commercial building energy modeling, and improving the energy efficiency of existing homes.

The 2013 RESNET Building Performance has expanded its scope by offering:

  • A special EnergySmart Builders Track
  • A Contractors Track
  • An Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Homes Track
  • A U.S. Department of Energy Track

Jack attended the following conference presentations:

Wednesday February 27th – Session 1
Valuing, Financing and Marketing Green Homes
Presenter: Teresa Lopez, LEED Associate and Licensed Mortgage Banker, Green Energy Money

Wednesday February 27th – Session 2
Creating Reports Your Clients Will Love
Presenter: Corbett Lunsford, Green Dream Group

Wednesday February 27th – Session 3
AC Systems Best Practices: How to Evaluate and Optimize Peak Performance
Presenter: Bill Spohn, TruTech Tools

Thursday February 28th – Session 4
Airflow Measurement Techniques
Presenter: Bill Spohn, TruTech Tools

Thursday February 28th – Session 5
Build a Better House at Lower cost by Controlling Infiltration
Presenter: Dr. James Wells PhD, Tremco Inc

Thursday February 28th – Session 6
A Primer on Designing and Installing Heating & AC Systems in ENERGY STAR Certified Homes
Presenters: Dean Gamble, EPA and Ashley Fowler ICF International

Thursday February 28th – Session 7
HERS Ratings & Deep Retrofit Homes
Presenters: Iain Walker and Brennan Less, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Friday March 1st – Session 8
Finally, the Truth about Condensation
Presenter: Daniel Tempas, The Dow Chemical Company

Friday March 1st – Session 9
Building Air-Tightness Testing – Beyond the Basics
Presenter: Gary Nelson, The Energy Conservatory

Jack is in process of retrofitting his home into a Zero Energy Home. A large part of his plan includes solar power and he recently installed a 8.4kw solar system.

Jack installed a ground mount system since the existing roof line of his current home was not designed to incorporate solar modules. His system has 33 Solar World, 255 watt, solar modules purchased from Solar and Renewable Systems in Jackson, TN. The array is South facing at a angle of 29 degrees.

This is NOT a stand-alone system, it is grid-tied participating in the TVA Green Power Program thru Memphis Light Gas & Water. Net metering is used for billing, there is 1 meter for the utility and 1 meter for the photovoltaics. Jack’s residence is billed on the difference of the power used compared to the power contributed back to the grid. TVA currently purchases the solar power produced at a $ .12 premium over and above the local utility retail rate, which equals about $ .21 per kWh. TVA is offering a $ .09 premium to new program entrants.

Jack expresses appreciation for the help he received from his Son – Wayne Cowan, Cousins – Ray and Sam Ballard, Nephew – Jeff Cowan and friend – Richard Buckley.

2012 National Solar Tour

Join us for the 2012 National Solar Tour — Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tennessee has 9 venues on the National Solar Tour and these 2 Zero Energy Homes in Atwood are the only representatives for West Tennessee.

http://ases.org/solar-tour/tours/atwood-solar-tour-ii/

Sponsored by cowanhouse, Jeff and Karen Cowan invite you to attend a free tour of their Zero Energy Home.  Learn how they eliminated utility bills and generate income by producing energy via 8.25kWh of solar panels and participation in TVA’s Generation Partners Program. Nicknamed ‘Fort Zero’ because of its stalwart Insulated Concrete Form(ICF) construction and safe room, the home has a superior building shell, geothermal heat pump, HEPA filtration, Solar water heater, open cell foam in the attic and HVAC inside the conditioned envelope.

Directions: In Atwood, TN, from U.S. Highway 70/79 turn North on Stewart Street. Turn left on Honeysuckle Road and the (Fort Zero) home of Jeff and Karen Cowan is the second house on the right.

http://ases.org/solar-tour/tours/atwood-solar-tour-i/

Sponsored by cowanhouse and hosted by James and Reeda Cowan: 1500 Honeysuckle Road, Atwood, TN 38220

Unique opportunity to tour a completed, 4 yr old ZEH. FRZEH (Fat's and Reeda’s Zero Energy Home) is a utility grid-tied, 6.3kWh PV home participating in TVA’s Generation Partners Program. FRZEH was built with: a super performance building shell, geothermal heat pump (GHP), desuperheater, passive solar design, HEPA filtration with energy recovery ventilation (ERV), heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system located inside conditioned envelope.

About the National Solar Tour: 

The ASES National Solar Tour is the world's largest grassroots solar event. This event offers you the opportunity to tour homes and buildings to see how you can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to reduce monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change. More than 160,000 participants will visit some buildings in 3,200 communities across the U.S.

Now in its 16th year, this event is coordinated nationally by the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society in collaboration with dozens of outstanding partner organizations. It takes place annually during the first Saturday in October in conjunction with National Energy Awareness Month. We invite you to join us.

Recently two students at the Tennessee Technology Center (TTC) at McKenzie, TN won first place honors at the National Skills USA competition. Brian Cruse of McKenzie, TN and Steve Crawford of Paris, TN placed first in the Sustainable Energy Solutions event. Their Micro-Hydro display won rave reviews from the judges and fellow competitors for their creativity and craftsmanship.

Cowanhouse is delighted to share in the happiness of these accomplishments since Jack Cowan has served for several years as a member on their Advisory Committee for the Electronics and Green Technology Program taught by Bruce Moore (standing center in the picture).

The Electronics and Green Technology program is designed to give students knowledge and skills involved in assembling, installing, and repairing electronic products, components, and equipment.  The student will be provided with basic theories, principles, and experiments, as well as hands-on experiences with electronics.  The combination of electrical, electronic, and mechanical devices to form new automated systems in manufacturing, product testing, electronic instrumentation and computer-controlled processes has blended the electronic and electrical technician field.  A new type of technician versed in and/or sell a variety of devices and electronic instruments.

Graduates of this program will acquire competencies in the areas of DC circuitry, AC circuitry, RF communications, industrial, instrumentation, digital electronics, microprocessor, interconnection technology (soldering), computer service, service technology, and telecommunications.  Students will also learn trade-specific mathematics, safety, and basic repair techniques.

Bruce Moore can be contacted at bruce.moore@ttcmckenzie.edu and you can learn more about the Tennessee Technology Center @ McKenzie, TN at http://www.ttcmckenzie.edu.

TTC McKenzie Mission Statement
The Tennessee Technology Center at McKenzie continues to serve as the premier provider for workforce development throughout the Northwest Tennessee.  The center fulfills the mission by:
• Providing competency-based training through traditional and distance learning instructional delivery systems of the highest quality that will qualify individuals for employment and/or advancement in jobs. 
• Providing high quality training and retraining of employed workers.
• Providing high quality training that is economical and accessible to all residents of Tennessee, thereby contributing to the economic and community development of the communities we serve.

TREEDC Workshop 2012

June 27, 2012

The 3rd annual Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council (TREEDC) Workshop took place on April 12, 2012 at the Jackson State Community college. Jack Cowan participated in the occasion to hear updates on several topics ranging from a District 8 sustainable energy update presented by Scott Golden, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Stephen Fincher, to the Tennessee Valley Authority Green Power Switch program presented by TVA representative Donna Suter. The event was sponsored by Jackson, TN councilman Earnest Brooks, II, Tennessee Gas Association, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, Jackson State Community College and Jackson Energy Authority.

TREEDC is a non-profit grassroots organization that began in 2008 as a partnership between the University of Tennessee's Institute for Public Service, University of Tennessee President Emeritus Joe Johnson, four mayors and McBee/Bailey & Associates, a Knoxville based construction and engineering firm. It has since grown in membership to 51 cities, 19 counties and includes partner organizations Oak Ridge National Labs, Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development.

The Council’s mission is to: Provide leadership in renewable energy and economic development by connecting technology and energy with sustainable rural economic development through a regional network of local communities that actively provide assistance, share ideas, resources and information and promote the development of renewable energy and economic development program.

TREEDC provides help to individual communities – ranging from the investigation of the potential for waste water sludge gasification to the development of a long-term impact plan for a community distressed by a fly ash spill. TREEDC serves as an educator and ambassador for green energy throughout the state. Membership includes access to TREEDC’s green business networks, green job listings, newsletters, notification of grant opportunities, sponsorship and presentation opportunities at forums. TREEDC also offers legislative policy development. Learn more about TREEDC at their website http://www.treedc.us.