The solar hot water heater requires very little maintenance and doesn't have to be drained in the winter. The downside of this particular system is that there is no storage capacity so if the water is not immediately used within the household, the heated water sits in the system and any additional incoming solar energy is not harvested.
The radiant floor heating system takes from 1 to 3 hours to heat the house if the heat has been turned off, depending on the outside temperature. Programmable thermostats advantageously allow building occupants to anticipate heating needs. To save energy, the Scott’s program their thermostat to maintain a lower temperature at night and turn back on about an hour before they need to get up. The benefits over a forced air system are that it is quiet, comfortable, more energy efficient, and stirs up no dust and dirt.
Alan and Ana chose resource efficient appliances when replacing their old washing machine and dishwasher. They also purchase 150% of their energy from renewable energy sources by participating in the PGE Green Source Program. The Scott’s purchase an "extra" 100 kWh block to offset the non-renewable natural gas that they use and the small premium that they pay supports zero emission renewable energy projects such as wind and solar.