air conditioning

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Keeping Cool in Detroit

Will a single minisplit head be enough to cool the entire second floor of a 1962 colonial?

Posted on Jun 26 2017 by Scott Gibson

Like many houses built in the 1960s, Nathan Efrusy's 2,000-square-foot colonial in Detroit has baseboard heat but no central air. A single wall-mounted air conditioner keeps the first floor of the house comfortable, but Efrusy would like to extend AC to the second floor — the question is now to do that effectively.

In a Q&A post, Efrusy says he's been given several options for cooling on the second floor, but he's leaning towards a ductless minisplit.

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Image Credits:

  1. Images #1 and #2: Nathan Efrusy
  2. Image #3: Hampton Bay
  3. Images #4 and #5: Peter Yost

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What the Pact on HFCs Will Mean for Builders

The phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons will usher in new versions of foam insulation and updated air conditioners and heat pumps — but not in the immediate future

Posted on Oct 25 2016 by Scott Gibson

The agreement earlier this month among 170 countries to phase in strict limits on the use of a common type of refrigerant will mean changes to many products used by residential builders, including foam insulation and heating and cooling equipment, but consumers probably won't be seeing wholesale changes for a number of years.

The accord reached in Kigali, Rwanda, commits the countries to a gradual phase-down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of chemical used as refrigerants and as blowing agents in foam insulation, beginning in 2019.

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Image Credits:

  1. Open Grid Scheduler / Flickr

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Demand for Cooling Is Spiraling Upward

By the middle of the century, cooling will require more energy than heating and potentially make global warming worse

Posted on Oct 29 2015 by Scott Gibson

The planet's growing appetite for air conditioning and refrigeration is creating a surge in energy consumption that by mid-century will overtake the amount of power used for heating while making global warming worse, a published report says.

In a series of news stories, The Guardian reports that the demand for cooling is going up steeply as a result of rising global temperatures and an expanding middle class that can afford to stay comfortable.

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Image Credits:

  1. Aurelien Guichart via Flickr

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Cold and Old Standards — And Opportunities for Greater Building Efficiency

Nudging design and construction toward 21st century building standards could have dramatic results and contribute to the president's challenge to limit carbon emissions

Posted on Aug 27 2015 by Ruth Greenspan and Tripp Shealy

Last Monday, scientists in the journal Nature Climate Change answered a nagging concern of practically everyone we know: why are offices and buildings so ridiculously over-air conditioned? The article reports the design of office buildings incorporates a decades-old formula, a significant part of which is based on the metabolic rates of the average man.

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Image Credits:

  1. Jill via Flickr

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The Best Way to Keep Your Attic Cooler is to Change Your Roof Color

Reflective roofing, unlike powered attic ventilators, addresses the problem where it begins

Posted on Aug 26 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

The most contentious issue I’ve written about since I started blogging isn’t bad Manual Js. Nor is it endorsing government intervention by raising efficiency standards or improving energy codes. Incredibly, it’s not even whether or not naked people need building science. Nope.

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Image Credits:

  1. Cameron Taylor
  2. FSEC

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Is Spraying Mist on Your Air Conditioner the Answer to High Bills?

Or are devices like the Kickstarter-funded Mistbox just another diversion?

Posted on Jul 1 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

This time of year, air conditioners are running like mad to keep people cool in their homes. Here in Atlanta, we've had a couple of weeks of hot, muggy weather, with a little break on Sunday. Now we're heading back to the mid-90s with high dew points again.

As a result, some people are starting to dread those air conditioning bills arriving and wondering what they can do to save energy. Is the Kickstarter-funded Mistbox the answer?

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Image Credits:

  1. Mistbox

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Nest Thermostat Data Revealed for First Time

At the recent ACI conference, Michael Blasnik showed big data on home performance collected from hundreds of thousands of homes

Posted on May 13 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

The Nest thermostat has been around since October 2011, quietly collecting data on how your home — and the homes of hundreds of thousands of your neighbors — operates. It gathers information about indoor temperature, relative humidity, air conditioner runtime, auxiliary heat operation for heat pumps, and much more. Unlike the Ecobee thermostat, however, Nest doesn't let its owners see all those data (which is a problem only for energy geeks really). Enter Michael Blasnik.

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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Heating and Cooling in North Dakota

How dangerous is a radiant-floor heating system that mixes domestic hot water with water used for space heating?

Posted on May 11 2015 by Scott Gibson

Adam Emter is building a new house in North Dakota, a Climate Zone 7 location with some 9,500 heating degree days a year, and temperatures that fluctuate from 30 below zero in the winter to a humid 90 degrees during the summer.

"My family and I plan on living here for many decades," Emter writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, "so I'm very focused on building an efficient and comfortable house. I am also trying to keep a reasonable budget and simple design."

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Image Credits:

  1. Michael Chandler

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Coping With a Wrong-Sized AC System

A Florida homeowner looks for a solution to a new air-conditioning system that leaves his house with high humidity

Posted on Sep 8 2014 by Scott Gibson

Florida is not the kind of place where you'd want to be without air conditioning for very long, so when Chris Marriner's old system died last spring, he didn't waste much time in replacing it. But what should have been a ticket to indoor comfort hasn't exactly worked out that way.

Marriner's HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. technician decided to replace the 4-ton system with one of the same capacity, even though Marriner knew that because of improvements to the 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. the new system probably would be oversized for the 2200-square-foot home. The tech told Marriner the system could be "tuned."

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Image Credits:

  1. Chris Marriner

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Why Is My House So Hot?

A GBA reader believes that after he added more attic insulation, his air conditioning equipment runs longer than it used to

Posted on Aug 11 2014 by Scott Gibson

When Jeff Watson realized that the insulation on his attic floor was rated at R-11, he did what any energy professional would have suggested: he added more insulation. He air sealed the attic floor, added ventilation baffles where necessary, and blew in a thick layer of R-60 insulation. But he isn't entirely satisfied at the results.

"As expected, the temperature in the house doesn't fluctuate as much," Watson writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor. "However, I feel as if I'm using AC more.

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Image Credits:

  1. Dennis Schroeder/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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