Decrease energy use of the system over all. In a building this means add insulation
to the walls and high U-value windows as well as increasing air tightness.
Triangle of Energy Savings: Steps to apply energy savings and alternative energy systems
How do we decrease the energy
necessary to heat and cool a building?
1 - Make the building as Air Tight as possible
2 - Increase insulation of the external walls, floor and ceiling/roof
3 - Replace old windows with new high R-value windows which
Through the use of a blower door test we can confirm how often the air in a
building is replaced by outside air which seeps in through gaps in the walls
Remember any air that comes in cold from the outside needs to be heated
by your heating plant. Reducing this seepage will decrease the amount of
heat you need to add to your house.
Eco Houses of Vermont, LLC
All types of insulation are ways to trap air. Air is a great insulator. To reduce
the heating and cooling demand a building drastically we add a drastic
amount of insulation to the home.
Watch out though! Some insulation products use ingredients which are huge
green house gasses. Use of the wrong products could negate any gains in
Windows are one place where huge losses are usually found. It is therefore
one place where huge gains in efficiency can be found.
Most American window manufacturers are now making windows which
have high efficiency glazing, but their frames are solid wood or hollow
vinyl. Both of these frames are bridges through which heat can be lost to
the cold outside world. They act like the cooling fins on a computer cpu.
Insulated window frames and triple glazing are the future. With this
combination the windows are a well insulated as the walls!
4 - Thermal bridge free construction!
Careful planning and detailing of the building envelope (outside of the
building which is in contact with the cold weather) needs to be taken to
make certain that there are no Thermal Bridges.
A Thermal Bridge is any part of the construction of the outside of the house
which can act as a contuctor to the cold. Common Thermal Bridges are
balconies where the supporting joists are extentions of the joists inside the
house. Attached decks, un-insulated eave constructions and slab on grade
without insulation under it are also examples of thermal bridges.
It is easier to get to thermal bridge free construction with new buildings in
comparision to renovations. Yet with careful detailing and work even a
renovation can reduce energy consumption for heating an cooling by 80%!
have insulated frames as well as high R-value glazing.
Copyright 2013 Eco Houses of Vermont, LLC
Chris West is a Certified Passive House Consultant
Affiliated with the PHIUS and PHI 2013