insulation


I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.

 

Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide

http://www.constructiondive.com/news/more-buyers-want-green-homes-real-estate-agents-say/439944/

 /
Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
 /
More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
 /
There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
 /
What are Buyers Looking For?
 /
When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
 /
More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
 /
The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
 /
Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
 /
Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.

:}

Go to the web links and read. More next week.

:}

To Not talk about how disastrous Trump’s Presidency will be for the environment and the energy industry I decided to return to my roots in the residential market. Todays article is a bit old but its message is timeless. We have been concentrating on single devices like furnaces, refrigerators, windows seen as a whole instead of a holistic approach to a house.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-real-problem-with-energy-efficiency

We’re Doing Residential Energy Efficiency All Wrong

Utilities are now spending nearly $7 billion a year on energy-efficiency programs. It seems we have little to show for it aside from expensive consultants who will model any results you would like.

These programs tend to focus their marketing on the energy savings or money savings from the projects. Consumers don’t care. If they did, we would see geometric growth instead of a resounding “meh.”

Others focus on better financing products, slicker sales pitches, faster energy audits, higher rebates or any of a myriad of other things.

In the residential sector, none of these are the problem. The lack of sales is the problem.

Projects are not being sold and implemented in substantial numbers. We need to slow it down, build relationships with consumers and educate them, learn and think systemically about the problems they have, and arrive at solutions that fit homeowner budgets.

:}

Go there and read alot. It is a long article. More next week.

:}

I saw this article on Digg.com a couple of weeks ago and tried to post it. When I went back to Digg to get the article and I could not find it, so I put up an older example. But then I put into Google “recent energy efficiency in the residential market” and there it was. So here it is.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/alternative-power-sources/water-house-slashes-energy-needs-150209.htm

 

‘Water-house’ Slashes Energy Needs

  //

 

As UN climate negotiators gather in Geneva this week, one Japan-inspired Hungarian inventor believes he has found a revolutionary and inexpensive way to construct buildings that could slash humanity’s energy needs.

And the magic ingredient for Matyas Gutai’s invention is simple: water. It was launched after a long process of testing and patenting and a decade of research and development at a Japanese university.

“Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water,” the 34-year-old told AFP.

//////

Public Art Generates Renewable Energy, Beautifully

Play Video
While fossil fuel energy represents the most common class of power generation, solar power just made a big leap forward, hitting 46 percent efficiency.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

:}

Go there and read. More next week.

:}

I saw a story on Digg about a designer (architect?) that got an award for building a house with water walls. But I could not find it again. This piece popped up and uses an older technology but you can get the idea from it.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/build-a-water-wall-home-zmaz83ndzale.aspx

Build a Water-Wall Home

Construct your very own water-wall home and learn about calculating water storage requirements, wall construction and solar basics.

By David Bainbridge
November/December 1983

The Morgan home in Davis, California has 14,000 pounds of thermal mass stored in its water walls, yet the containers blend in so well with the house design that they’re barely visible.

In many ways, passive solar homes are superior to those with active (mechanically assisted) heating and cooling systems. After all, passive solar systems don’t rely on auxiliary energy sources to perform (so they’ll work even when the power is off)… are generally simple and low in cost, combine energy collection and storage functions, have a long life, need little maintenance, and can often be built and installed by the home handy person, without special training or equipment.

But precisely because such “non-moving” systems have no pumps or controls to circulate warm or cool air, they typically rely on one key element: the thermal mass that stores and gives off absorbed heat or cold. A number of different items can be used to provide this energy-holding capacity, but just about the most effective and economical “To a water wall (a term that is a shorthand way of saying “contained water for thermal mass in passive solar homes”).

:}

Go there and read. More next week.

:}

Other things have not changed. I mean we are still burning coal to fuel electric generators, 30 years after we should have stopped. We still flirt with the idea of Nuclear Powered power plants. But here is part of the Georgia Code, a State not known for anything progressive.

http://www.southface.org/learning-center/library/res-code-faq#24

22.    What is the difference between a mass wall and a basement wall, and what are the insulation requirements for both?

A mass wall is a heavy wall that is more than half above grade wall and is constructed of a fairly massive material (e.g., concrete, block, insulated concrete forms, masonry cavity, non-veneered brick , adobe, compressed block, rammed earth, and solid logs). A basement wall is a wall that is more than half below grade and encloses conditioned space. Insulation requirements for basement walls and mass walls depend on the location of the insulation and the type of insulation (whether it is continuous or insulation installed in a cavity). Requirements also vary by climate zone. Below is a table detailing the insulation requirements in the energy code.

Wall Type Insulation Location and Type Climate Zone 4 Climate Zone 3 Climate Zone 2
Basement Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-5 R-0
Basement Wall Interior – Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Interior-Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Exterior or Integral- Continuous R-5 R-5 R-4
Mass Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-8 R-6

:}

If you are a glutton for punishment, go there and read. More next week.

:}

Yes I know there are many things that are wrong about Las Vegas. People shouldn’t even be there in the first place. The rape of the river that no longer reaches the sea. The rape of the pristine desert and the death of many Native Americans. I lived there for a year and there is also the cheesy nature of the culture. But when they do something right, you got to give them credit.

http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/id/1811/viewFull/

 

Nevada Energy Star Partners Demonstrate Peak Performance (Web Only)

September 01, 2012

Las Vegas may appear balmy and inviting with its sparkling pools and swaying palm trees, but those who live in Neon City know the truth: It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes that were built during an amazing 50 years of rapid growth in the Southwest do not incorporate modern advances in energy performance to accommodate the wild swings of desert climate. As temperatures climb to 110°F in the summer, many homes leak large amounts of cooled air through gaps in ducts, roofs, windows, and doors. And when the frigid north wind drops the temperature below freezing in the winter, heated air escapes, leaving living rooms and bedrooms uncomfortably cold and drafty. While Las Vegans know their climate, they may not realize that they are paying to heat and cool the great outdoors.

The dramatic temperature shifts in the high-desert climate make Las Vegas an ideal place for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more comfortable and to save substantially on their energy bills. Funded in part by DOE’s Building America program, the Building America Retrofit Alliance is working with the Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners–Green Alliance (NESP–Green Alliance), and with Better Building Performance, a Las Vegas company, to upgrade two typical homes top to bottom. Their goal has been to show homeowners and remodelers how easy and effective energy performance upgrades can be.

:}

Go there and read. More Tomorrow.

:}

This is an old piece but it is still as true today as it was then. Air conditioning and by that I mean cooling air when it is hot is very expensive both financially and with regards to energy consumption.

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/buildings-without-air-conditioners-the-latest-in-energy-efficiency-5413/

Buildings Without Air Conditioners: The Latest in Energy Efficiency

Air conditioners consume an inordinate amount of power in the U.S. and they aren’t very efficiently used. To save energy, some say leave them out.

Michael Kanellos: December 22, 2008

Sometimes the most efficient air conditioning system is not having one at all.

To curb energy consumption, architects with projects in temperate cities – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco – have started to design buildings without mechanical air conditioners. These buildings will have heaters in all likelihood, but not air conditioning (see Can Greentech Make Housing Cheaper and Green Buildings No Subsidies Needed).

“There are only five days a year you need cooling in Seattle,” said Amanda Sturgeon, an architect and senior associate at the firm Perkins + Will, who recently designed a building without a mechanical conditioner.

In some cases, architects are putting in air-side economizers, i.e., computer-controlled windows that open to let in cooling breezes (see The Solar Window). The General Services Administration building in San Francisco uses openable windows on 12 of its 18 floors that let in cool breezes at night that, ideally, keep the offices cool in the daytime.  There is no mechanical cooling in the open office areas.

This shift comes courtesy of two trends. One, building developers and contractors have latched onto green buildings as an economic opportunity. Designing a building to LEED Silver or Gold standards – the environmental building standards promulgated by the U.S. Green Building Council – only adds around 2 percent to the overall cost or less, according to various contractors, architects and researchers. Designing to the LEED Platinum standard can add only 6 percent if carefully planned. The trick, say Sturgeon and others, is to exploit as many passive, design-centric techniques for scoring LEED points before moving on to the potentially more expensive, equipment-centric ones like biomass boilers or new types of lighting systems.

:}

Go here and read. More tomorrow.

:}

Back in the 1990s I was working with a group that was trying to “buy back” the  utility that services New Orleans because it was so badly run. Now look at them.

http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2012/03/entergy_new_orleans_to_highlig.html

Entergy New Orleans to highlight energy-efficiency techniques at Home and Garden Show

Published: Friday, March 02, 2012, 9:51 AM     Updated: Friday, March 02, 2012, 9:54 AM

Richard Thompson, The Times-Picayune By Richard Thompson, The Times-Picayune

Entergy New Orleans representatives will be on hand to demonstrate new interactive online tools for maximizing savings from improving a home’s energy-efficiency and to provide info about Energy Smart incentives and rebates this weekend at the 57th annual New Orleans Home and Garden Show.

The show, billed as the largest consumer home show in the region, highlights recent advances in energy-efficient technologies and products for home remodeling, green building, decorating and landscaping. It starts today and runs through Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

At the Entergy New Orleans booth (# 600-601), utility officials will discuss tips and incentives aimed at giving customers the opportunity to save money on power bills.

There will also be a game show in which contestants can answer questions about energy efficiency to win gift cards for new Energy Star appliances, courtesy of Entergy New Orleans. For the second straight year, the game show is slated to be hosted by HGTV’s Jim Parks.

In addition, Entergy lineman will demonstrate on Saturday and Sunday the danger of getting too close to live electrical lines, and explain and demonstrate safety equipment used when working on power lines.

:}

Go there and read. More tomorrow.

:}

When I first saw the headline of this next site, I thought: can this be? I had heard of actual corn cob houses in rural America. They are basically slatted walls filled in with corn cobs and then finished inside and out. They are sort of a variation of hay bale houses. But this is way different.

http://www.livingoffgrid.org/building-a-cob-house/

Building a Cob House

By Off Grid Ebert

In a time in which we are increasingly hearing scary statistics about the fate of our planet, the way forward in the field of sustainable, green building may just be to go backward.  This is certainly the case for people demonstrating a growing interest in building earthen homes and structures using an ancient method known as cobwork or cobbing.  Cobbing, believed to have originated in the Maghreb as early as the 11th century, spread into wide usage across many parts of the rest of Europe as the main building style for homes.  The name of this style of building comes from the word cob, which is the name of the building material itself, formed of a mixture of earth (such as clay, sand, and other soil), straw, and water.  Despite what the materials may imply, this substance, when dried, is fireproof.  It is also inexpensive, and naturally cool in the summer heat and relatively easy to heat in the winter.

Many homes built of this material centuries ago still stand and remain in use.  Pictured here to the left is a cob house in England, believed to have been built in the late 1700s. (Photo by Tim Green, http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/4927564858/) These homes typically have thatched roofs, while small but efficient fireplaces with chimneys provide warmth when the weather is cold.

The appearance and texture of cob varies from region to region, depending on the available natural resources and their characteristics.  As such, cob is one of the most versatile building materials on earth.  It can be molded and shaped into whatever form is framed by the builder.

:}

Go there and read. More tomorrow.

:}

Yes, you can get a backhoe and dig a trench around your house for relatively cheap but, it really is a waste of time. Parging the walls first pretty much means coating the walls to make sure moisture does not get behind the insulation that you are going to put up. I suggest using a modern basement epoxy of some sort and I recommend rigid insulation after you have done that. Rigid is easier to work with and you can make the whole project into an adhesive affair where you adhere the furring strips to the epoxied walls and then you adhere the foam board (or whatever) to the furring strips. Boom, you are done unless you need to paint them for someone else in the house that hates the color of the “naked” board. You know who I mean. Like the article says as far as the vapor barrier placement you have to call your local building code people cause I got no idea,

 

http://www.green-energy-efficient-homes.com/energy-efficient-basement.html

Exterior wall insulation inside the walls

Insulating outside your exterior walls is often too expensive or impractical in existing homes. You can insulate the inside of your basement walls but you may exacerbate the problems associated with moisture if you don’t do the job correctly.

Parging: If moisture is seeping into your walls, parge the masonry walls to seal any cracks and strengthen any weak or porous masonry. This will help prevent water from seeping in from outside.

Vapor barrier: Vapor barrier should be outside the insulation if you are in a hot climate and only cool your home; it should be on the inside if you are in a cold climate and are mainly heating your home. Consult your local city building permits department to find out what are the suggested or mandated insulation and vapor barrier configurations for energy efficient basements in your area.

Framing: If possible, leave a gap between your framing and the exterior walls, to prevent moisture from the masonry from causing wood rot in your framing. Use small spacers behind 2×3 studs, rather than 2×4 studs against the outside wall, and you’ll still have room to install the standard insulation for 2×4, 16-inch-stud construction.

Insulation: If there is any likelihood of moisture getting into your basement, use a rigid foam insulation rather than batt or other fiber-based insulation. Moisture seeping through exterior walls will dampen the insulation and reduce its R value significantly within a few years, so you’ll start with an energy efficient basement and in a few years be losing as much heat to outside as before the renovation. Moisture will not have much effect on the R value of foam insulation. Buy the highest R value insulation you can – you can get an R value of 6 per inch in some insulating foam sheets. If you want both insulation and waterproofing, you could consider having Icynene insulation applied to exterior walls after framing but before drywall is installed.

Other places you should insulate

A couple of other important things to consider about basement insulation:

  • In an older house, where a shower stall is already installed against an outside wall, check the insulation level behind the shower. A prior owner or contractor may have installed the shower without adequate insulation. If you are remodelling or can access the wall space behind it, inject foam insulation or otherwise upgrade the insulation. You’ll have more comfortable showers and you’ll cut down on overall heat loss.
  • Insulate the perimeter of your basement ceiling (an area called the ‘rim joists’), from the outside walls to about 16″ to 24″ from the outside walls, to prevent moisture from creeping in between the upstairs

:}

In this case, go there and read a bunch. More tomorrow.

:}

Next Page »