Green Architects' Lounge

Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 3: Five Questions

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Christopher Briley

I sent an email to Jeff Gagnon and Jim Godbout, and asked them five basic questions about ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. Temperatures underground are relatively constant. Using a ground-source heat pump, heat from fluid circulated through an underground loop is transferred to and/or from the home through a heat exchanger. The energy performance of ground-source heat pumps is usually better than that of air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps also perform better over a wider range of above-ground temperatures. installations. In this part of the Green Architects' Lounge podcast, Phil and I take some time to review and compare their answers. We also take a moment to touch on the subject of ozone-depleting refrigerants.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 2: Rules of Thumb

Posted on November 16, 2010 by Christopher Briley

In Part One of this episode from the Green Architects' Lounge, we only scratched the surface. Now it's time to really dig in and decide if a ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. Temperatures underground are relatively constant. Using a ground-source heat pump, heat from fluid circulated through an underground loop is transferred to and/or from the home through a heat exchanger. The energy performance of ground-source heat pumps is usually better than that of air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps also perform better over a wider range of above-ground temperatures. system is right for you, and if so, to start planning for it.

In Part Two of the podcast, we discuss:

  • A tale of two houses: Chris shares a story of two houses—one a success, and one that had to abandon using a ground-source heat pump
  • Rule of thumb for flow: 3 gal. per minute per ton of heating/cooling
  • Passive House: After Hours

    Posted on November 5, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    I left Maine with a plan. I had already corresponded with Dr. Wolfgang Feist (founder of the Passivhaus Instiut) and Katrin Klingenberg (head of PHIUS, Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Institute U.S.) and asked if I might be able to interview them for Green Building Advisor and the Green Architects' Lounge. Both had indicated a willingness to do so, but the schedule for the event at the Boston Architectural College on October 23 was pretty full and they really didn't know if there would be time.

    Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 1: The Basics

    Posted on October 26, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    If you've done any amount of research on ground source heat pumps, chances are that you've heard from people who say that you'd be insane to consider them as a viable system for your house—AND you've heard from others who say you'd be insane NOT to use them.

    Where insanity and green architecture meet, you shall find Phil and me mixing a Dark and Stormy and turning on the mike to act as your good-natured guides. For this episode, we will attempt to demystify this polarizing heating and cooling system.

    In Part One of the podcast, we cover the basics and discuss:

    Biomass Boilers, Part 3: Summing It All Up

    Posted on September 24, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    For Part Three of this Green Architects' Lounge episode, we are joined once again by our good friend Pat Coon, from Revision Heat, to discuss the topic of biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. boilers. We complete the trilogy with a succinct discussion on cost and tax incentives (unfortunately, $1,500 is all you'll get from the U.S.). This is after Phil shares his "Hot Zigg!" (our expression for a good idea). Phil just wants a consistent wood pellet rating system. Is that too much to ask?

    Biomass Boilers, Part 2: Taking Wood Hauling Out of the Users' Hands

    Posted on September 13, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    For Part Two of this Green Architects' Lounge episode, we are joined once again by our good friend Pat Coon, from Revision Heat, to discuss the topic of biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. boilers. In the second installment of this epic trilogy, Phil, Pat, and I wrap up our discussion of log gasification boilers and introduce our listeners to the concept of wood pellet boilers. If you missed Part One, you might want to give that a listen first, especially since it gives you the recipe for the perfect red Manhattan (which goes very well with this smoky topic).

    Biomass Boilers: A Greener Alternative to Heat the Home?

    Posted on August 16, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    For this Green Architects' Lounge podcast, we are joined once again by our good friend Pat Coon, from Revision Heat, to discuss the topic of biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. boilers—both gasification log boilers and wood pellet boilers. As we did with the Deep Energy Retrofit episode, we've divided the original recording into three blog-size pieces that are better suited for this format.

    Deep Energy Retrofit: Apply the Energy Efficiency Pyramid

    Posted on August 6, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    This is the last installment in the Green Architects' Lounge trilogy on deep energy retrofits.

    In this episode, Phil and I discuss the importance of sizing your new HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. system to the heat load of your newly renovated house. (This is where that energy auditEnergy audit that also includes inspections and tests to assess moisture flow, combustion safety, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and durability. information, which we mentioned in previous episodes, is going to come in handy.)

    Deep Energy Retrofit: Focus on the Envelope

    Posted on July 20, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    This is part two of the Green Architects' Lounge three-part series on deep energy retrofits.

    In this episode, Phil and I discuss what we believe is the most crucial part of a DER: the exterior building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials..

    There is no single solution. Here, we must be nimble and thoughtful, and deal with the structure that we're given and apply the skills we've learned (and by we, I mean all of you listeners as well).

    What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?

    Posted on June 26, 2010 by Christopher Briley

    I recently heard that a good blog is like a red party dress: long enough to cover the important parts, but short enough to maintain one's attention.

    By that measure, the Green Architects' Lounge podcast episodes are like royal wedding gowns with long trains that flow down the aisle. This is great if you like wedding gowns, but ...

    Because we feel that many short dresses are better than a single long one, we've decided to divide our episodes into smaller, more manageable parts, and release them with greater frequency.

    (Time to switch metaphors...)

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