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Home/Garden Progress 9: May 2012 to March 2016

May 2012- working on the garden

We got some super help from Karen Wolfgang, Independence Gardens.  Thank you Karen!

So far....
fruit trees- 2 espaliered asian pears, 2 apples, 2 paw paws, 1 plum
2 starter veggie beds

Fence post caps go red...

May 8, 2012- PGE says we can turn solar panels on!

Here's sample solar panel output (dawn to dusk) from a sunny day (May 10, 2012)....

May 14, 2012
Exterior paint and trim work done. 
Jeff Cole (Silver Peasant Productions) interviews Rob and Bart about their next Passive House project.

July 18, 2012
Garden progress...

Asian pears...

December 26, 2012
Yes, Ella and Randy just celebrated living a full year at TrekHaus West!  Living net zero is no longer a fantasy.  We generated more energy than we used in 2012!  Here are the numbers...

TrekHaus West Energy Use/Generation Summary
Year 1
(12/26/11 to 12/26/12)
Total Energy Use 1st Year:  3322 kWh
Average Energy Use Per Day:  9.1 kWh/day
Total Energy Generation 1st Year:  3748 kWh
(PV turned on 5/8/12, so just 7.5 months of solar power)
Expected annual energy generation:  about 4600 kWh from 4.70 kW system
Estimated annual energy production/excess:  1260 kWh
(enough to power EV about 3800 miles)
Additional solar capacity exists if needed in future.
(room to add 5 more rooftop PV panels)
Number of occupants:  2
Thermostat:  68° F day, 66° F overnight

March 20,2013
PGE's net metering annual billing cycle just closed.  TrekHaus West donated excess credit of 1520 kWh to PGE's low income assistance program.  1520 kWh is enough electricity to power a Nissan Leaf about 4500 miles!

April 9, 2013
Spring garden preparation. 
Strawberry beds (left) and juniper raised beds with veggie starts.


April 28, 2013
Hon tsai tai with sweet edible yellow flowers.

Flowering pawpaw...

May 3, 2013
Above photo taken by neighbor Mike Molinaro (Mission Furniture Unplugged).

Thanks to Mike, a beautiful hand-crafted early Molinaro piece graces our entry area...

May 8, 2013
West unit solar panels have been up and running for 1 full year today!
May 2012 to May 2013 energy generation and use numbers:
Total energy generation:  5012 kWh (exceeded expectations by more than 400 kWh)
Total energy used:  3223 kWh  (average 8.8 kWh/day)
Annual excess generation:  1789 kWh (enough electricity to power a Nissan Leaf more than 6100 miles).
This is 56% more electricity than we needed to achieve net zero.

May 14, 2013
Veggie garden...

May 31, 2013
Dining tonight on our PDX lanai...
Garden fresh "green" smoothies.  Curried vegetable medley including fresh garden kale.  Garden chard and mustard greens with homemade vegan caesar dressing.
Mexican tile dining table.

June 15, 2013
Fresh from today's garden...

July 29, 2013
Kabocha squash

Mini bell peppers

Columnar apples- Northpole & Scarlet Sentinel varieties


Asian pears- Shinseiki & Shinko varieties

September 17, 2013
Soon to harvest Asian pears and orange kabocha squash (look like small pumpkins)...

Basil and bell pepper bed

December 6, 2013
Rare snow day in Portland.  Winter garden covered with straw and cover crops (mix of crimson clover, cereal rye, ryegrass, Austrian winter peas, and vetch).

December 26, 2013
Just celebrated Christmas and our 2nd year anniversary living in TrekHaus West!  It's not a fluke.  We are still net positive after 2 years.  Here's our 2013 energy checkup...

TrekHaus West Year 2 (12/26/2012 to 12/26/2013)
Total Energy Use 2nd Year:  3361 kWh
Average Energy Use Per Day:  9.2 kWh/day
Total Energy Generation 2nd Year:  4960 kWh
Average Energy Generation Per Day:  13.6 kWh/day
2013 Excess Generation: 1599 kWh

Our average daily household energy use has been quite consistent over 2 years, averaging about 9 kWh/day both in 2012 and 2013.

Happy 2014 everyone!

January 18, 2014
New tree planted this morning by Friends of Trees bicycling crew. 
In memory of TrekHaus mom, Cynthia Wong (1919 to 2014). 
Thank you Friends of Trees!

Today was also the largest bicycle tree planting ever held in Portland.  KGW  Channel 8 stopped by briefly to check out the event.  See KGW local news, Trees and bicycles come together for Portland planting

March 22, 2014
PGE's net metering annual billing cycle just closed for 2013/2014.  TrekHaus West donated excess credit of 1582 kWh to PGE's low income assistance program for 2013/2014.  This is a little more than the 1520 kWh donated for 2012/2013.

April 11, 2014
Spring is here...
Tulips with flowering pawpaws in left foreground.

May 2014

TrekHaus West's 4.70 kW PV system has been up and running for over 2 years now.
Here's a look at the numbers..

AVERAGE SOLAR ENERGY GENERATION:  14 kWh/day (May 8, 2012 to May 8, 2014)
Year 1:  annual average of 13.7 kWh/day
Year 2:  annual average of 14.1 kWh/day
(Note:  Our 4.70 kW system was expected to generate average of 12.5 kWh/day)

AVERAGE ENERGY CONSUMPTION: 9 kW/day (May 8, 2012 to May 8, 2014)    
Year 1:  annual average of 8.8 kWh/day
Year 2:  annual average of 9.5 kWh/day (colder winter)

Overall, NET POSITIVE by average of 5 kWh/day.  This is enough electricity to run a Nissan Leaf about 5500 miles per year or 15 miles per day.

May 31, 2014
Pawpaw fruit just starting to grow...

Veggie and strawberry beds flourishing...

July 11, 2014
Cooking with the sun is fun!

August 25, 2014
Pawpaws getting bigger...

October 17, 2014
Saffron crocus have started blooming.
The three red stigmas in the center of each flower can be plucked and dried as saffron spice.

March 24, 2015
PGE's net metering annual billing cycle just closed for 2014/2015.  TrekHaus West donated excess credit of 1921 kWh to PGE's low income assistance program for 2014/2015.  This is more than the 1520 kWh donated for 2012/2013 and 1582 kWh donated for 2013/2014.  Net positive for over 3 years now!

May 2015

Believe it or not, over 3 years net-positive now!
Our 3 year average (May 8, 2012 to May 8, 2015):
Average energy consumption: 9.3 kWh/day
Average solar energy generation: 14.4 kWh/day (4.70 kW system)
That makes us net-positive with a greater than 50% margin (i.e. 55%).
(3BR/2BA house, 2 adult occupants; thermostat set at 68F first 2 years and 69F third year)

Credit goes to Rob and Bart (PDX Living) who built such a great house!
Also, SolarCity whose panels have performed 15% better than expected!
Happy Spring!

March 24, 2016
PGE's net metering annual billing cycle just closed for 2015/2016.  TrekHaus West donated excess credit of 1808 kWh to PGE's low income assistance program for 2015/2016.