All through the 1980s and 1990s, a small band of North American believers worked to maintain and expand our understanding of residential energy efficiency. These were the pioneers of the home performance field: blower-door experts, weatherization contractors, and “house as a system” trainers. At conferences like Affordable Comfort, they gathered to share their knowledge and lick their wounds.
These pioneers understood what was wrong with American houses: They leaked air; they were inadequately insulated; they had bad windows; and their duct systems were a disaster.
California electrical workers have renovated a 46,000-sq.-ft. commercial building in San Leandro into a net-zero energy training center. According to The Electrical Worker online, it is one of the first net-zero projects in the country that transformed an existing commercial building.
New York City is home to plenty of high-density, high-tech residential buildings, including 8 Spruce Street, the spectacular stainless-steel-clad apartment tower in lower Manhattan that was designed by Frank Gehry. The city also is a wonderland of aged apartment buildings. Although these buildings lend the neighborhoods a certain Old New York dignity, they also operate with Old New York inefficiency.
Paul and Desirée have three young daughters, two dogs, a flock of chickens and a 1935 house in Minneapolis that needs a ton of work.
Although the house was extensively updated in the 1990s, the 1400-sq.-ft. structure still has a host of problems: an under-insulated attic, single-pane windows, thin exterior walls, an awkward layout, aging interior finishes, and an air handler located in the unconditioned attic.
One of the principal goals identified by the White House in its Recovery Through Retrofit initiative, announced in 2009, was to generate homeowner interest in energy efficiency improvements and, in the process, develop a self-sustaining retrofit industry.
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.
Posted on January 29,2015 by Betsy Pettit in basement
Editor's introduction: With energy prices rising again, many homeowners are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. But most people are unsure of where to begin, and even seasoned builders don’t always know which priorities should rise to the top of the list. Betsy Pettit, an architect at [Building Science Corporation](http://www.buildingscience.com), recommends starting where you can get the most bang for the buck.
To achieve the carbon reductions needed to prevent a global ecological catastrophe, almost every house in North America will need a deep-energy retrofit. If the projecting elements on a home’s exterior — especially the eave and rake overhangs — can be stripped away, the best retrofit option is to wrap the exterior of the house with an airtight membrane and a deep layer of insulation, followed by new siding, roofing, and windows.
Lab Will Develop Best Practices For Energy-Efficiency Retrofits
SEATTLE, Wash. — The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) has announced the launch of a public-private partnership to facilitate energy-efficiency retrofit work in historic buildings. The new program, called Preservation Green Lab, will be funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the city of Seattle.
Both Homeowners and Commercial Property Owners Are Eligible
SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The Sonoma County government has launched a program to offer loans to homeowners and commercial property owners for energy-retrofit work and the installation of renewable-energy equipment.