The Ryland Group, Inc., which has been building moderatively-priced houses in varied locations in this area for 10 years, has moved into solar research in residential construction.
The Columbia-based firm recently has completed five model solar research houses that will use sun power for a major percentage of their heating and hot water energy requirements. Initially, only prototype houses will be built and shown to the public. Visitors will be asked for a written reaction.
As part of this consumer marketing test, Ryland has constructed solar research houses that will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (except for Thursdays) starting next Saturday. Sundays, the houses will be open from noon to 6 p.m.
In the Washington-Baltimore area, the solar models are located in Stonegate Farms, west of Frederick, Md., on Route 40; at the Berkshire on Riva Road near Annapolis: at Franklin Valley, on Reistertown Road near Baltimore and at Box Hill in Bel Air, Md. Another solar model is at Marlton, N.J. A sixth solar house model will be opened in November at the Ryland model area at Kings Contrivance in Columbia.
The solar heating systems, which add an additional $13,000 to $15,000 to the normal price of the houses, are installed in traditionally styled three-bedroom, two-story houses.
Frank Martin, a Ryland marketing exeucutive, said that the firm does not plan to offer solar heating as a standard or optional feature in the near future but rather seeks to get public reaction to such an offering and to gain some actual experience in both installation and operation. Based on project electricity rate increases, he added, the system could possibly pay for itself in 15 to 18 years.
Elements of the solar heating system in the Ryland solar house at Stonegate Farms, where a preview was held recently, include 20 collectors (panels which absorb solar energy), two 1,000-gallon water storage tanks, a 120-gallon hot water tank, a heat pump, circulating pumps, cooling tower and a forced air handler. The system is contolled by a differential thermostat, which temperature in the storage tanks. The solar collectors are mounted on the secion of the roof facing south.
Donald Taylor, area architect for Ryland, said that studies of the Frederick area climate indicate that the solar system will provide approximately 67 per cent of the energy required for heating with using the auxiliary system. The solar collectors also will provide heat for the 120-gallon domestic hot water tank.
Taylor also said that cooling the Ryland solar house in the summer will utilize the outside cooling tower (for evaporative cooling) and the heat pump operationg as a conventional air conditioner. The solar collectors serve only to provide energy for the domestic hot water tank in summer.