• January

      13

      2013
    • 988
    • 0

    Making Healthier, Greener Foam Insulation

    I’ve come down fairly hard on certain types of foam insulation over the years. The downsides include theblowing agents used in extruded polystyrene (XPS) and most closed-cell spray polyurethane foam and the flame retardants that are added to all foam-plastic insulation to impart some level of fire resistance.

    Now there’s an effort afoot to change building codes in a way that would allow manufacturers to remove the hazardous flame retardants. This is the subject of a just-published……..

    • December

      27

      2012
    • 867
    • 0

    New consumer guide illuminates home energy savings

    “Save Money, Save the Earth.” That motto has appeared on the cover of every edition of the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings since the first book was published in 1991. It’s a big promise, and one that appears on the 10th and newest edition of the book from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and New Society Publishers (NSP).
    But is it true? According to Jennifer Thorne Amann, ACEEE buildings program director and lead author of the Consumer Guide: “Every kilowatt-hour you avoid using saves over a pound of …..

    • November

      18

      2012
    • 880
    • 0

    Tips for Buying an Energy Efficient House

    Buying an energy efficient home can be a great investment that will save you money on energy costs in the long term in addition to increasing the resale value of your home, when you’re ready to move on. With increasing consumer awareness of environmental issues, it’s growing much easier to find energy efficient homes, but it helps to be armored with some tips before you set out on your home buying journey. Savvy buyers can find the perfect house for their needs and negotiate……

    • September

      18

      2012
    • 1647
    • 0

    Floating passive house close to mass production

    The Dutch subsidiary of IBC Solar AG, one of the world’s leading system integrators for photovoltaics, has helped bring AUT-ARK home, a floating passive home, a step closer to mass production. A prototype of AUT-ARK is currently anchored in Maastricht (Netherlands) and draws a huge number of interested visitors during its opening hours due to its unconventional construction design.

    IBC Solar B.V. provided its support for the planning, technical design and installation of the photovoltaic system for this unique, future-oriented project, which is powered by a total of 24 photovoltaic modules with a total output of 6,360 Wp (watt peak), an inverter and a solar energy storage unit.

    The home was designed by Pieter Kromwijk (Architectuur Coenegracht & Kromwijk, Maastricht) focusing on minimum energy demand, and is currently anchored in Maastricht. The prototype took nine months to build, and IBC Solar explains that “owing to the considerable interest shown, the floating passive home will soon be going into mass production. Then each home will only take 4 months to build”.

    “The AUT-ARK Home is a perfect example of how the homes of the future will look,” claims Peter Meijers, Managing Director of IBC Solar B.V. in the Netherlands enthusiastically. Once it has been anchored at its mooring, the passive house does not need to be connected to a waterside power supply – electricity and water are produced and treated by the home itself.

    “This is of particular interest in those areas where there is an abundance of rivers and lakes and only limited housing space. This problem could be solved with the passive house, which offers a new, self-sufficient living space,” explains Meijers. Thanks to its innovative construction and self-sufficiency concept, the floating passive home is ten times more energy-friendly than a conventional home of a comparable size.

    Peter Meijers was immediately convinced of the idea of the self-sufficient home and offered his advice in designing the power supply from the very beginning. The planning stage of the project was quite complicated. For example, the construction plans for the passive home were altered several times. IBC Solar B.V. adapted the energy concept for each draft accordingly. IBC Solar B.V. t

    • August

      22

      2012
    • 773
    • 0

    Zero Net-Energy Ready Homes to be Certified by Energy Department Partnership

    For people who think Passive House is a Fad.

    On Monday, August 20, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a newpartnership between the DOE Challenge Homeprogram and the Passive House Institute US to cooperate on the promotion of various levels of high-performance buildings on the path to zero net-energy.

    This news is a huge development for the passive house community and for PHIUS. The endorsement of PHIUS+ passive house certification through the DOE instantly makes passive house the most energy efficient option for builders, designers and developers who want to achieve a zero energy building. This recognition will go a long way toward making passive house mainstream.

    This took a lot of time and effort, and we owe thanks to Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect at the DOE, whose knowledge, vision and determination were critical to the effort. (Sam was the keynote at last year’s North American Passive House Conference.)

    So, how does this partnership change current PHIUS+ passive house certification and what do consultants need to know?

    In a nutshell: not much. A passive house already fulfills most of the Challenge Home requirements – certification essentially remains the same process with a few minor additions! Those additions are very good improvements, making the home even better. Indoor air quality requirements ask for low VOC materials and the water efficiency requirements establish a reasonable savings baseline, all good things.

    The Challenge Home requires rigorous third-party, on-site verification, which already is part of PHIUS+. PHIUS+ certified RESNET Raters already use an advanced passive house checklist created specifically for passive houses. (This testing protocol is actually more rigorous than the one the Challenge Home is using.)

    What Challenge Home brings to the table that PHIUS+ did not before is a more formalized exterior water management and flashing checklist. Having seen quite a few bad water management details during certification so far, we are happy to add a more formalized process to assure the long term durability of the house. QAQC is crucial to assure quality in execution, actual performance and peace of mind for the client we found.

    • April

      15

      2012
    • 899
    • 0

    Habitat builds passive house in Berea

    Habitat builds passive house in Berea Lexington Herald Leader A family in Berea is getting an energy-efficient home from Habitat for Humanity. The Richmond Register (http://bit.ly/HkaBZC) reports it is Habitat for Humanity’s first ” passive ” home in the state, which means it exceeds federal Energy Star ratings and … Berea family getting Habitat’s first; Passive home in Kentucky.

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