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Convert Your Home to Solar Energy Paperback – December 7, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Everett M. Barber, Jr. is the founder of Sunsearch, Inc., a business he ran for over 30 years until he recently retired to speak and write about energy matters. During that time, he and his company designed and installed thousands of solar systems in the southern New England area. In addition, Everett was an adjunct professor of Environmental Technologies at Yale University, where he taught courses in thermal analysis of buildings; system design for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning; plumbing systems; electrical systems; and fire-safe building design. Everett is a member of the American Solar Energy Society, International Solar Energy Society, and ASHRAE. At the latter, he served on the committee that developed the internationally accepted standard for testing of solar thermal collectors.Joseph R. Provey wrote his first articles about solar energy, wind power, wood heat, and saving energy during the last energy crisis, in the late 1970s--and he's still on the beat. More recently, he has written on energy-related topics for "Popular Mechanics," " Fine Homebuilding," " Handy" magazine, and in his latest book, "The Little Green Book: 365 Ways to Love the Planet" (Creative Homeowner). Joe has also served as chief editor to several national home improvement magazines, including "The Family Handyman," " Home Mechanix," and "Practical Homeowner."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600852521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600852527
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #703,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kate G on May 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
It is difficult to find a book that balances ease of understanding with substance, engineering with good advice, and breadth to depth. This book does all of this. I am both an engineer and have installed solar thermal and PV and consulted in the field. This book still had things to offer me that I had had difficulty understanding in the past. It provided background to topics that I had previously taken for granted. It is also amazingly realistic, taking the view that conservation should always be the first choice before moving on to more active solutions. As the book is organized by payback period (before incentives), the home-owner is able to consider solutions that are often not even discussed before moving on to solar electric.
You can read the book solely to find information about the system you wish to install, but I would highly recommend reading this from cover to cover. You will go into your solar project informed and educated, but not overwhelmed by overly technical information or language that will sway you to make unsustainable "sustainable" choices.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Helmut G. on December 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
The pile of books on solar energy is high indeed. This book is usefully placed at the top of the pile. It is a perfect "first read" and overview of the topic of solar home conversion. It explains without technical jargon or overselling the options that a homeowner has in considering a solar installation to reduce heating costs in an existing or a new home. The authors have produced a book that makes the promise of solar energy bright and clear.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Athena and Jason on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I saw an advertisement for this book in Solar Today, I immediately bought 4 copies. You see, I own a solar energy systems sales, engineering, design, and installation business and am always looking for good materials to use to train new staff. Convert Your Home to Solar Energy is the best one of the half-dozen or so introductory books I've read. (There are still several books I intend to read, such as "Power from the Sun" by Dan Chiras, which looks to be the perfect follow-up to "Convert Your Home...".) This book is now our standard training guide for our Introduction to Solar Energy course, given to all new staff members, regardless of their experience or background. This works because the book is extremely friendly to newcomers and has plenty of breadth and specific detail so that a veteran solar energy professional can add significantly to their breadth of knowledge.

I especially love this book because it has all of the basic answers to questions that anyone new to the field inevitably has. Questions such as "How do you size a solar collector for pool heating" come up regularly and now we have a go-to reference for all of the common types of solar energy systems. This is super handy.

This review isn't about me, but I think it would be helpful to know my background so you understand the viewpoint I applied while reading the book. I'm a mechanical and electrical engineer (degree in mechanical) and a certified energy professional holding a NABCEP certification. I've been selling, designing, and installing solar systems full time for over 3 years and founded a solar business with 6 employees with four more being hired as of this writing.

Now back to the book...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Solar Critical on July 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as an industry insider interested in trying to put myself back in the shoes of the consumer. This book does an excellent job of covering concepts and considerations for anyone considering a residential solar system. I have read other solar books which have a "preachy" tone or which do too much editorializing. This book is far more concise, and the authors have also managed to avoid biased promotion of specific products and the sort of "greenwashing" which plagues the industry. Convert Your Home to Solar Energy has good, informative figures and excellent photos, but also has informed content to back them up.

I have had the chance to work briefly with Everett and I can tell you that he is one of the best in the industry. Put another way; when he talks, solar professionals listen. I can't think of a person better situated to steer the consumer public than him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Gordes on August 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Let me start off by saying, with no offense to Taunton Press who publishes some very nice material, but I really feel the book may be too narrowly focused at the residential market. The in-depth treatment of the many topics addressed could also provide an incredible resource to many, if not most, architects as well as anyone else who wishes to enter the solar energy field. One reason I say this is the order of topics in this book is excellent with the frequent reminder that energy efficiency needs to come first. Only then does Mr. Barber launch into more general discussion of solar energy concepts. In short, it has all the material I made sure to include when I was teaching courses and with only minor tweaks it would have made an excellent textbook had it been available to me 25 years ago.

No book can provide enough detail to allow a consumer to know each and every nook and cranny of a technology. For that reason the author was cognizant enough to provide sections on basic energy concepts such as heat flows and principles of solar energy including motions of the sun. These are essential for any thorough understanding of solar energy design since by applying these basics readers can then discern by themselves the hype from reality of any promotional claims. Particularly helpful are the many sidebars or single pages that deal with a specific topic in more detail. Some of these are labeled as "Tech Corner" and while they may go deeper than the casual reader might like, they provide the choice of more detail for those who wish to become professionals in the field. The many charts and tables were also extremely useful and I would have liked to see even more of them.
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