Doug Kalmer's technical background and hands on building experiences have helped him progress with solar thermal for over three decades. He earned an Associates Degree in Automotive Technology from the State University of NY at Morrisville, and has taken supplemental courses in house building, residential wiring, and refrigeration and air-conditioning, working first as a heavy equipment mechanic, then as a refrigeration technician for Kingston Hospital in NY. Purchasing a poorly insulated, 2,000 square foot, 100 year old house in New York in the 1970's motivated him to use solar thermal for space heating after he did a through remodeling. He built a window mounted solar space heater and added an attached sunspace. These worked well enough to make him want to explore further solar possibilities.
In 1982 he bought 51 acres in Tennessee, and started to build his dream home, featuring passive solar space and water heating, earth sheltering, and other alternative building methods. After building two batch solar water heaters, he designed and built a closed loop, PV pumped solar water heater for his domestic use. He went on to build a gravity powered solar water heater for his shop, as well as a solar space heater.
He then started using components from older, non-working systems to make more modern systems for others. He now assists others with solar water heater design and installs, sets up a solar information table at local events, as well as gives a free PowerPoint presentation to environmental groups on solar thermal and solar electricity. Doug installed a 4.6 KW grid tied solar array in January 2012. He is active online and in his shop in pushing the design envelope on solar water heating. His home has been on several solar home tours, National and local.