Saturday, September 8, 2007

It's all about Insulation

John and I are involved in an experimental "pay it forward" project in Northern Minnesota, we are building a 2,100 sq ft. Lake home that we hope to get LEED Platinum certification. It will be Passivhaus certified which is the European style of determining the energy efficiency of a facility. Passivhaus approaches sustainability by setting targets of energy usage for a building and then attempting to meet those in the design. To be certified a facility has to have a 5 kBTU/ft2/a energy consumption while a normal house is in the 91 kBTU/ft2/a range and an energy efficient house
is in the 33 kBTU/ft2/a range. As I mention, it is all about insulation! Ihave been using many SEH staff for the integrated design process so we can add this to our sustainability portfolio. At any rate I wanted to share with you some pictures and a few of the features that are making this a Platinum possibility. We are filling the foot print under the main part of the house with1/2 taconite and 1/2 sand ( 210 cubic yards) and then laying pex tubing every foot vertically to store the heat we will be collecting in the daylight time of the year. Calculations indicate we will not need any additional heat or energy source for the place if the storage concept does what we are hoping it will do. We hope to be the first truly Zero energy use home in our climate zone. Other features will be a green roof, 1000sq ft of PV panels, (photo voltaic solar panels to generate electricity), and German made Mueller windows and insulation that is going into the Thermal Storage Area,

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