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Solar greenhouse can save fuel, taxes

We believe our house is ideally situated for utilizing a solar greenhouse but want to go about it in the correct way. could you please advise us? Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Alexander East Longmeadow, Mass.

A solar greenhouse is a great idea for cutting the winter heating bill if you're able to use one on your property. They are not limited to any one style, size, or use, according to the Northeast Solar Energy Center in Boston. further , they are all designed with the sun and other natural elements in mind.

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You can, in fact, design your own solar greenhouse, buy the materials, and build it yourself. There is plenty of information on the subject these days.

Why don't you drop a line to the Northeast Solar Energy Center, 570 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Mass. 02110, and ask for a free copy of the "Solar Greenhouse Bibliography and List of Plans." It's jampacked with information books and plans for the interested homeowners.

For example, "The Solar Greenhouse Book," edited by J.C. McCullagh, is offered by Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pa. 18049 for $8.95. "The Food and Heat Producing Solar Greenhouse," written by R. Fisher and B. Yanda, is available from John Muir publications, PO Box 613, Santa Fe, N.M. 87501 for $6.50.

Your local public library should have a file of articles and reports on the subject. Ask the librarian.

The September 1978 issue of Popular Science magazine had an article entitled "Solar Greenhouses: Energy Misers Trap Solar Heat" by R. Stepler.

So far as plans are concerned, you can get a copy of "An Attached Solar Greenhouse," by William F. Yanda and Susan B. Yanda, by writing to The Lightening Tree, PO Box 1837, Santa Fe, N.M. 87501. The cost is $1.75. It includes step-by-step instructions for the design, construction, and operation of a solar greenhouse, according to the informational sheet in front of me.

Frank Schiavo of San Jose, Calif., built a 40-foot-long, 8-foot-wide solar greenhouse -- or sun room, as he calls it -- for a total cost of $3,861.66. More than half the cost will go back to him because of federal and state tax credits.

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Don't forget that the Internal Revenue Service provides a substantial tax benefit until the mid-1980s to people who install energy-conserving systems in their homes and otherwise try to reduce their use of energy.

It's a growing field and it could help to cut your fuel bill next winter.

If you have a question on how to save energy -- in your home, your car, on the water -- send it to ENERGY, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street , Boston, MA 02115.

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