Bringing Inexpensive Solar Heating To Homes In The Valley

Sign guiding people to the solar workshop on Saturday, April 11. VDP Image

Bringing Inexpensive Solar Heating To Homes In The Valley:

Workshop Educates Local Residents On How To Build And Install Systems On Their Own Homes

ESPAÑOLA —  On Saturday, April 11, Bob and Julie Dunsmore held an installation workshop of a solar heating system on a mobile home in the Española area. Over 40 people attended to both learn and help build this simple and elegant solar heating system for the home of Frutoso and Bernice Martinez.

For the last 30 years Bob and Julie Dunsmore have been studying and developing energy and cost efficient heating and cooling methods for people’s homes. They have lived in many places and traveled the world studying different techniques including Asia, Africa, South America and various locations in the United States.

After experimenting with many models they developed a simple yet effective solar heating system which they are now using to retrofit homes in northern New Mexico. The system is designed to be done with minimal expense and as a do-it-yourself project. It works by building and installing a solar collector which heats air which is then blown into an array of hot air lines that run underneath the floorboards of the mobile home, thereby heating the floor and the home. This is a technique that is used in many other parts of the world and the Dunsmores have built over 20 similar systems throughout the San Luis Valley of Colorado and now New Mexico. They have also constructed many homes with similar heating systems in India and Africa.

Julie Dunsmore describes the system as “a low cost, low tech, do-it-yourself solar heating system which almost anyone can use in a mobile homes or any other type of a home.” Total cost for materials to complete this installation is around $600 and with volunteer labor the project was completed in 1 day.

The Owl Peak Foundation, a local nonprofit organization serving the La Madera area provided a grant to the project thereby eliminating materials costs to the homeowner for this particular installation. Lance Woeltjen with the Owl Peak Foundation said that the group has a mission to help uplift the people of the region through education opportunities in farming in this climate zone and living in a sustainable manner.

The Dunsmores are now making the knowledge of this solar system available free of charge to all who are interested and are offering to speak with anyone who is interested about methods. They are also providing an information packet on the process which is available by clicking HERE.

 Laura Romero of Chimayo attended the event and indicated she would like to hold a similar workshop in her community and install a similar system on her home. Several other attendees the workshop April 11 signed up to request similar installations at their homes.

See below for more images and descriptions of the event.








Completed solar collector pictured here is from a previous project. Image courtesy of Bob and Julie Dunsmore.

The collector from the workshop project was completed but was to be mounted on the roof.
Frutoso Martinez invites all interested parties to visit and inspect the completed system.