Comfort is key in a passive house

0620 home green  Rendering of the home Chris Weissflog, who operates the renewable energy firm Ecogen Energy, is building for his family. Among other green features, its solar panels will meet most of the 3,000-square-foot home’s heating and cooling needs as well as powering a greenhouse with an extended growing season. With story by Patrick Langston.

0620 home green Rendering of the home Chris Weissflog, who operates the renewable energy firm Ecogen Energy, is building for his family. Among other green features, its solar panels will meet most of the 3,000-square-foot home’s heating and cooling needs as well as powering a greenhouse with an extended growing season. With story by Patrick Langston.

>” […] The falling price of technology may still help us out of the quandary. The CHBA is currently developing a net zero and net zero-ready labelling program for home builders and renovators. A net zero home typically uses photovoltaic panels to produce as much energy as it consumes, generally selling excess electricity to the grid. A net zero-ready home is set up for, but does not include, the photovoltaic system.

The CHBA’s Foster says that a net zero home including photovoltaic panels now costs $50,000 to $70,000 more than a conventional home. That’s 50 per cent of the cost of just five years ago, and the price of PV panels continues to drop.

With rising energy prices, the CHBA says the extra monthly mortgage costs associated with a net zero home are now comparable to the savings in energy costs, making it net zero in more ways than one. […]”<

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Embodied Energy – A Measure of Sustainability in Buildings & Construction

Embodied energy in building materials has been studied for the past several decades by researchers interested in the relationship between building materials, construction processes, and their environmental impacts.

Source: www.canadianarchitect.com

>” […]

What is embodied energy?
There are two forms of embodied energy in buildings:

· Initial embodied energy; and
· Recurring embodied energy

1.  The initial embodied energy in buildings represents the non-renewable energy consumed in the acquisition of raw materials, their processing, manufacturing, transportation to site, and construction. This initial embodied energy has two components:

  • Direct energy the energy used to transport building products to the site, and then to construct the building; and
  • Indirect energy the energy used to acquire, process, and manufacture the building materials, including any transportation related to these activities.

2.  The recurring embodied energy in buildings represents the non-renewable energy consumed to maintain, repair, restore, refurbish or replace materials, components or systems during the life of the building.

As buildings become more energy-efficient, the ratio of embodied energy to lifetime consumption increases. Clearly, for buildings claiming to be “zero-energy” or “autonomous”, the energy used in construction and final disposal takes on a new significance. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

High-R20 Concrete Foundation Construction Diagram – Building Science

This construction strategy has an installed insulation R-value of R-20.

Source: www.buildingscience.com        >” […]

 

  • Dampproofing
  • 2″ XPS rigid insulation
  • Concrete foundation wall
  • 2″ XPS rigid insulation
  • 2″ XPS rigid sub-slab insulation
  • Gypsum board with vapor retarder paint
  • 2″ XPS rigid insulation under slab

Thermal Control:  This construction strategy has an installed insulation R-value of R-20 and has a predicted annual heating energy loss of 16.7 MBtus.

Moisture Control:  Two inches of XPS on the interior, connected to the thermal break at the slab edge, controls the interior vapor drive and capillary wicking to the interior so there are no moisture related issues from inward vapor diffusion or capillary wicking.

Constructability and Cost:  The interior of the insulated concrete form will require drywall or other thermal barrier to achieve the fire rating required by code. The gypsum board is very easy to attach to the plastic clips designed into the ICF. The drywall should not be painted, if it is not necessary, to allow maximum drying of the concrete. It may be easier and more practical to install a thin framed wall (e.g. 2×3 wood or steel framing) on the interior of the ICF to allow any necessary services to be run in the wall, and potentially more insulation.

Other Considerations:  Because the concrete is installed between two vapor retarding layers, it will take several years for the concrete to dry to equilibrium. Since additional interior vapor control should be avoided, no more than latex paint should be used on the interior surface of the drywall. […]”<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Net Zero Energy Buildings at Zero Cost

The Netherlands has found a way to refurbish existing buildings to net zero energy, within a week, with a 30-year builders’ guarantee and no subsidies.

Source: www.energypost.eu

>”Inside the house, the pounding rain stills to distant murmur. That’s thanks to the triple glazing, points out Ron van Erck, enthusiastic member of Platform31, an innovation programme funded by the Dutch government that brings together different actors for out-of-the-box thinking to crack intractable problems. One of its big successes to date is Energiesprong, an initiative that turns the building market on its head to deliver social housing with zero net energy consumption, i.e. no energy bill, at zero cost to the tenant and with no subsidies to the builder.

Starting off in 2010 with three staff, a €50 million budget and five years to come up with something to make buildings more sustainable, Energiesprong today boasts 45 staff and a deal with 27 housing associations and four big construction companies to refurbish 111,000 houses in the Netherlands. Total investment? €6 billion. The initial focus is social housing, but it’s already looking at the private market, care centres and commercial office buildings too.

How does the plan work? The basic trick is that tenants instead of paying their energy bills, pay a similar amount to the housing corporations that own the houses. With this money, the corporations pay building companies to retrofit the houses, which after renovation have net zero energy costs. The building companies have for this project developed ‘industrialised’ renovation procedures that are highly cost-effective. One important difference with existing renovation projects is that all elements that are needed for a successful move to zero-energy housing are brought together  in one plan.

Energy Post’s Sonja van Renssen met with manager Jasper van den Munckhof, to understand exactly what Energiesprong does, how it does it and why it will succeed – in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Q: What was your starting point?

A: We started off with what we spend. The household energy bill in the Netherlands is about €13 billion. This money is available. If you spent it on a mortgage or payback on a loan of about 30 years [instead of energy], you have €225 billion to invest in the Dutch housing stock. This is substantial money: €30-40,000 per house to make it energy neutral.

“Retrofit wasn’t interesting – unless you were rich – but using the energy bill to fund it, no one had thought of that! A building and its energy system were developed as parallel, complementary but not integrated, entities.”

-Jan Kamphuis, BJW Wonen, a one-stop-shop for retrofits inspired by Energiesprong

The trick is, how to get this money flowing. We tried to imagine what owners would need to start investing. They buy kitchens and they don’t see this as an investment but good for their family. You need to get this focus on people and how they buy stuff, how they accept things. If you lose that focus and think it’s about financial arrangements, you won’t find a solution.

Q: So what will make people spend money on retrofits?

A: It needs to be very well done, like if they buy a car, they buy a decent one. It has to be fast – the problem with retrofitting (vs. buying new stuff) is that it’s usually a lot of trouble, dust and hassle. So we said one, the retrofits have to be done within a week. Two, it has to be affordable: ideally the cost to the tenant before and after should be equal. That means the energy bill converted to the mortgage or extra rent has to cover the full cost of the retrofit. Three, it has to be attractive. It needs to be something you see. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Efficient HVAC Systems

Gallery

This gallery contains 15 photos.

Originally posted on Energy Systems & Sustainable Living:
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC) controls the indoor climate by adding or extracting heat and adding or removing mass (e.g. water vapour and dust). To combat summer heat and winter…

Multifamily Building Energy Efficiency: SLEEC Financing

This winter, ACEEE, in partnership with Energi Insurance Services, will host a second gathering of select members of the Small Lenders Energy Efficiency Community (SLEEC) in Washington, D.C. The initial SLEEC convening in October 2013 brought together small- to medium-size lenders to discuss strategies for expanding activity in the market for energy efficiency financing. Building off the success of that first meeting, the second SLEEC gathering will focus exclusively on financing in the multifamily sector […]

Source: aceee.org

>” […] The goal of the upcoming SLEEC meeting is to discuss how recent developments inform the lender perspective on the size, attractiveness, and viability of the finance market for multifamily efficiency. We chose to address multifamily this year because potential savings are phenomenal at an estimated $3.4 billion per annum, and multifamily has traditionally been characterized by the label “hard to reach” due to significant barriers to entry. Single-family residential, large commercial, and MUSH (municipal, universities, schools, and hospitals) markets pose fewer barriers and have therefore been easier to approach, while multifamily is a more complex market posing greater obstacles.

The first and most commonly cited obstacle is known as the split-incentive problem: Landlords and building owners don’t always have an incentive to pursue energy efficiency improvements since their tenants would be the ones benefitting from reductions in energy bills. The next most bemoaned roadblocks are a lack of information and lack of available capital. Landlords and owners are experts at running their buildings, but may be in the dark on energy efficiency. Utilities and many loan agencies, while knowledgeable about energy efficiency, lack experience interacting with tenants. The resulting information gap inhibits energy efficiency projects from getting off the ground. This problem is exacerbated by a lack of capital, especially in the affordable housing market, where many buildings owners hold 30-year mortgages on their property with only one refinancing opportunity after 15 years. Unless building owners and potential lenders can capitalize on this small window, many projects would not have another opportunity to finance efficiency improvements for another 15 years.

Despite these barriers, there are a number of successful initiatives that are poised for impact. Perhaps the most successful is Energy Savers, a Chicago-based partnership between Elevate Energy and the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) that has retrofitted 17,500 apartments since 2008.  […] Innovative programs such as these are paving the way for energy efficiency in the multifamily housing market.

A perceived lack of capital may be attributable to issues surrounding the valuation of energy efficiency from a building owner’s perspective that manifests as low demand. […] “<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Net-Zero Energy for Buildings – ASHRAE Engineering Design and Construction

Integration: Net-zero energy design

ASHRAE has a goal: net-zero energy for all new buildings by 2030. What do engineers need to know to achieve this goal on their projects?

Source: www.csemag.com

>”As net-zero energy and low-energy design projects become more prevalent, engineers must be prepared to collaborate with all members of a project team including architects, energy specialists, lighting designers, builders, and owners in order to accomplish net-zero energy goals with little to no cost premium. Is this possible today or will it take another 10 or more years to get there?

There are many examples of completed projects demonstrating that not only is this possible, but it has been done in all regions of the country using readily available building products and common construction methods. So what’s the secret? It’s all about the design.

Net-zero energy defined

The term “net-zero energy” is abundantly used, but a single universally accepted definition does not exist. In general terms, a net-zero energy building (NZEB) has greatly reduced energy needs achieved through design and energy efficiency, with the balance of energy supplied by renewable energy. In an effort to clarify the issue, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a paper in June 2006 titled “Zero Energy Buildings: A Critical Look at the Definition,” in which it defined the following four types of NZEBs:

Net Zero Site Energy: A site NZEB produces at least as much renewable energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the site.Net Zero Source Energy: A source NZEB produces (or purchases) at least as much renewable energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the source. Source energy refers to the primary energy used to extract, process, generate, and deliver the energy to the site. To calculate a building’s total source energy, imported and exported energy is multiplied by the appropriate site-to-source conversion multipliers based on the utility’s source energy type.Net Zero Energy Costs: In a cost NZEB, the amount of money the utility pays the building owner for the renewable energy the building exports to the grid is at least equal to the amount the owner pays the utility for the energy services and energy used over the year.Net Zero Energy Emissions: A net-zero emissions building produces (or purchases) enough emissions-free renewable energy to offset emissions from all energy used in the building annually. Carbon, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides are common emissions that zero-energy buildings offset. To calculate a building’s total emissions, imported and exported energy is multiplied by the appropriate emission multipliers based on the utility’s emissions and on-site generation emissions (if there are any).

A subsequent paper was published by NREL in June 2010 titled “Net-Zero Energy Buildings: A Classification System Based on Renewable Energy Supply Options,” where four classifications of NZEBs were defined:

NZEB:A: Building generates and uses energy through a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy (RE) collected within the building footprint.NZEB:B: Building generates and uses energy through a combination of energy efficiency, RE generated within the footprint, and RE generated within the site.NZEB:C: Building generates and uses energy through a combination of energy efficiency, RE generated within the footprint, RE generated within the site, and off-site renewable resources that are brought on site to produce energy.NZEB:D: Building uses the energy strategies described for NZEB:A, NZEB:B, and/or NZEB:C buildings, and also purchases certified off-site RE such as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from certified sources. […]

Integrated building design

Integrated building design is a process that promotes holistic collaboration of a project team during all phases of the project delivery and discourages the traditional sequential philosophy. According to ASHRAE, the purpose of the integrated design process is to use a collaborative team effort to prepare design and construction documents that result in an optimized project system solution that is responsive to the objectives defined for the project. […]

Commissioning is an important part of every project, and for NZEB projects the commissioning authority should be a member of the design team and involved throughout the design process. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Canadian green building market shows strong growth into future reported by CaGBC

The Canadian green building market has grown in the last few years and is expected to continue its strong growth in years to come, according to a recent report released by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Source: dcnonl.com

>”The report projects the figure to grow in upcoming years and a shift to happen as firms ramp up their green projects to more than 60 per cent. The main factors triggering the green trend include companies wanting to do ‘the right thing’ when it comes to social and environmental responsibility.

“Doing the right thing was very important to a lot of the respondents, which surprised me…obviously the Canadian industry has a lot social consciousness” added Mueller.

Companies are also experiencing significant cost savings through various efficiencies.

Eighty two per cent of building owners and developers report decreases in energy consumption compared to similar buildings and 68 per cent of owners/developers report decreases in water consumption.

In Canada, businesses reduced their operating costs by 17 per cent through green buildings in 2014, ahead of the global average of 15 per cent in 2012.

[…]

 

The top sectors currently with green projects expected to be certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) are, new institutional construction, new commercial construction, new low-rise residential, new mid and high-rise residential, and existing buildings/retrofit.

“In the public sector, the institutional sector, there’s a very strong commitment to build buildings to the LEED standard,” Mueller added. “Our focus is very much on building the LEED standard.”

Green Building is also beginning to build a strong business case for itself, according to the report.

Thirty seven per cent of owners project a spike in occupancy rates, 32 per cent expect improved tenant retention, 26 per cent expect improved lease rates and 13 per cent forecast a higher return on investment.

The median payback period for investment on a new green building is eight years, according to the report.

According to Mueller, owners and developers who are repeat green builders usually maintain a positive experience, but it’s the first timers that need to be shown the right steps in pursuing green building.

“If you’re an owner doing it for the first time, you have to be diligent, you have to be prudent to select the right consultants,” he said. “You have to do your due diligence and we certainly will be at the council to help first-time users to apply the LEED program and to make sure they have a positive experience.”<

Affordable Housing Designed for Net Zero

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Lexington Farms, a single family affordable housing development in Illinois, looks to be LEED Platinum and net zero via clean energy on each house.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:
“The model under which these modular homes are made available to residents is rather unique. They were built for those making less than $41,000 a year, and were reportedly provided to these people in a rent to own situation at a set monthly lease cost of $590. Each 1,425 square foot, three bedroom dwelling is green down to its core via an array of eco technologies. Owners apparently had to be provided with a special manual to educate them about the various green technologies they are living with. So what exactly is under the hood of each green home in Lexington Farms? According toUrban Green Energy, the impressive list includes one of the firm’s 1,000 watt eddyGT vertical axis wind turbines; 7,200 watt photovoltaic solar roof panels; Energy Starappliances; U35-rated, argon gas filled windows; R-21 wall and R-49 attic insulation; low-flow water fixtures and WaterSense toilets; sustainable landscaping with efficient irrigation systems; recycled construction materials; low VOC paints and energy efficient, fluorescent light fixtures. At the time of construction is was said the IHDA invested more than $2.5 million into the project, providing federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to finance it. The federal tax credits, noted the IHDA, “were a result of a special allocation for counties hit by severe flooding [and] generated an additional $6.7 million in private equity for the development.” Overall, these green homes aimed for net zero energy usage via the renewable energy features. An additional $260,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity further supported the development.”

See on earthtechling.com

Asbestos – Best Practice Approach To Roof Refurbishment

Excellent article on legacy asbestos insulated roofing systems and remediation methods.

Architecture, Design & Innovation

For any demolition, refurbishment or repair project, the presence of asbestos in the building can have far reaching cost and health & safety implications. And it’s not an uncommon problem. Asbestos was widely used as a roofing material right the way through to the 1970s thanks to its durability and fire resistance benefits at low cost.

The use of asbestos as a building material is a legacy of the built environment that today’s roofing contractors are often tasked with tackling, as those roofs originally specified in the 1950s, 60s and 70s fail and need to be replaced.  Sometimes, there may be no other option than to remove the asbestos roof and incur the project delays and added costs that specialist remediation involves. However, while the Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 ensures that building owners are accountable for preventing any risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from their building, contractors do…

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