deep energy retrofit

Weatherization’s Home-Stretch Recovery

Posted on April 19,2015 by Fretboard in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The Weatherization Assistance Program – which emerged as a major administrative challenge and political target after its budget vastly expanded under the federal stimulus bill – turns out to be meeting expectations.

PODCAST: How to Insulate an Unvented Roof

Posted on April 19,2015 by Daniel Morrison in foam insulation

Attics are a great place to reclaim living space without the expense of an addition. If you have the headroom, you can gain at least one extra room by finishing your attic. But with energy codes requiring more and more insulation, it can be difficult to pack all of that R-value into the skinny little rafters that are common in older houses.

BEopt Software Has Been Released to the Public

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-756436 in BeOPT

UPDATED February 1, 2012 In 2004, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed BEopt, a software program that finds the least-cost solution to designing a zero-energy house. Now that the software developers — a team that includes Craig Christensen and Scott Horowitz — have spent seven years improving the program, it has finally been released to the public. The development of BEopt was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

From Designed to Built: Delivering Your Green Home

Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in deep energy retrofit

It's one thing to design a house, and it's another thing entirely to turn that design into a physical reality. In this episode, we kick back with an autumn cocktail (the Northern Spy) and talk about the process of bringing on a builder and the challenges of keeping relationships, quality, cost, and expectations managed along the way. Hey, do you want to talk about wall sections? Too bad. Jesse joins us for our “What's Bothering Jesse?” segment, and he lets us know that he's a little tired of all the attention that walls command from the green community. So, we'll talk about that instead.

How to Install Rigid Foam Sheathing

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-756436 in EPS

UPDATED on March 18, 2015 What’s the best way to install foam insulation on the outside of a wall? Although GBA has published many articles and videos on the topic, we continue to receive frequent questions from readers asking how to install rigid foam sheathing on exterior walls — so it’s time to provide a primer on the topic.

Is the Green Movement Just Spinning Its Wheels?

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in climate change

For GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, it all started with a column in The New York Times provocatively titled “Going Green But Getting Nowhere.” The author, Gernot Wagner, contends that individuals can make no meaningful impact on reducing carbon emissions and staving off global climate change. Even if each of the 1 billion Catholics on Earth decreased their emissions to zero overnight, Wagner writes, “the planet would surely notice but pollution would still be rising.”

Net-Zero Homes, Part 3

Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in architect

In Part 3 of this episode, the net zero conversation winds down as Phil and I talk about the “cost trade-off” game in which the homeowners will likely engage. We also have a bit of a disagreement as to how much the clients need to know about the energy-saving details being incorporated into their homes. (Good stuff.)

Waiting for EPA Action on Spray Foam Insulation

Posted on April 19,2015 by Fretboard in diisocyanate

Spray polyurethane foam is magic to some advocates of energy efficient housing — but black magic to others, who say its toxic potential outweighs its considerable merits as an airtight insulator.

How to Insulate a Wall from the Outside

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in exterior foam

Gregg is renovating his 50-year-old house in Wisconsin and trying to devise the best way of insulating exterior walls from the outside. The house was built conventionally, with 2x4 walls, fiberglass batt insulation, fiberboard sheathing, and hardboard siding. He plans to tear off both siding and sheathing and remove the batt insulation, then apply 3 in. of spray polyurethane foam insulation into the stud bays. The existing kraft paper vapor barrier on the interior side of the wall will stay in place.

Visiting Passivhaus Job Sites in Washington State

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-756436 in airtight

On March 16, 2011, I flew to Seattle for a three-day visit to Washington state. Although the main purpose of my visit was to attend the spring conference of Passive House Northwest, I devoted a day and a half to visiting Passivhaus buildings and construction sites in Seattle and Olympia. With the help of my gracious hosts, Dan Whitmore and Albert Rooks, I was able to see four Passivhaus sites and a large workshop where Passivhaus wall panels were being assembled indoors.

Passivhaus, Part 1: Concepts and Basics

Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in Chris Briley

There's a perceptible buzz in the air about the Passivhaus standard within the green building community. In fact, it's becoming downright inescapable in these hallowed halls, forums, blogs, and seminars. So naturally it's time for the less-than-hallowed reaches of the blogosphere, such as the Green Architects' Lounge, to jump in and join the conversation.

How to Calculate the Value of Energy Improvements

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in energy calculations

Adding more insulation, replacing an inefficient furnace, or performing air-sealing measures are oft-recommended strategies for lowering energy consumption and saving money. Aaron Vander Meulen puts his finger on a key issue, however, when he wonders whether there is a way of determining exactly how much money improvements such as these will save.

Disappointing Energy Savings for Energy Star Homes

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-756436 in energy savings

If you’re interested in residential energy efficiency, you’re probably familiar with the marketing pitch of the EPA’s Energy Star Homes program. Among the program’s claims:

Direct-Gain Passive Solar Heating

Posted on April 19,2015 by AlexWilson in deep energy retrofit

Over the past two weeks I've written about two relatively obscure passive solar heating strategies: isolated gain using sunspaces; and indirect gain using a Trombe walls. This week I'll cover a far more common and cost-effective approach: direct-gain.

Home Energy Monitoring, Part 2: Types of Monitoring Systems

Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in deep energy retrofit

In Part 2 of this episode, Phil and I continue our conversation with Peter Troast of Energy Circle and delve into the different kinds of home energy monitoring systems available to the homeowner. From the Kill A Watt outlet monitor that you can rent from your public library, to the full circuit-by-circuit monitor you can access from your iPhone, we try to cover it all.

Types of monitors discussed in this part of the podcast:

  • The single outlet monitor, like the Kill A Watt
  • Home Energy Monitoring, Part 1: Knowledge Is Power

    Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in architect

    For this episode, Phil and I are joined by Peter Troast of Energy Circle to discuss home energy monitoring. Most people, I think, live their lives without much thought given to the power they are consuming when they turn on a device. They're more focused on the task at hand.

    Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 3: Five Questions

    Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in deep energy retrofit

    I sent an email to Jeff Gagnon and Jim Godbout, and asked them five basic questions about ground-source heat pump 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 April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in Chris 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 pump 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
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