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These articles describe how to substantially reduce building energy usage and costs: building heating and cooling costs, electric bills, and heating fuel bills.
Links at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article identify major energy-conservation or energy savings topics that we discuss. AIR CONDITIONING HEAT PUMP SAVINGS - list of steps that can reduce the operating cost of air conditioning and heat pump systems. AIR LEAK DETECTION TOOLS - how to find and fix air and heat leaks on buildings, an expert guide to weatherization.
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR - what indoor air contaminants are more likely in tight homes?
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS - where to get energy efficiency ratings for air conditioners, clothes dryers, clothes washers, fans, refrigerators, stoves, water heaters, well pumps, etc. ENERGY AUDIT - How to Use a Free One - free home energy audits - are they accurate, useful? ENERGY SAVINGS MAXIMIZE RETURNS ON - which energy improvements get the most return on investment - how do we calculate that? INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE - Guide to all types of insulating materials used in or on buildings. INSULATION LOCATION - WHERE TO PUT IT - where should we place insulation, vapor barriers, house wrap, and ventilation for comfortable, energy-efficient building design? LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION - definitions, standards, and issues with LEED certification such as IAQ concerns. LOG HOMES: Energy Efficiency of Log Homes - is a log home as energy-efficient as other construction methods? MOISTURE CONTROL in buildings - how to control excess humidity in tight or other buildings, avoid mold, condensation, rot. ODORS, Smells, Gases in buildings-Diagnosis & Cure - are odors a problem in energy-efficient homes? RADIANT BARRIERS - do they work, where to put them, how much energy do they save for cooling vs. REMOTE ELECTRIC POWER, PHOTOVOLTAIC how to obtain electrical power at a remote site using photovoltaic solar panels or wind generators. SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS - do we need to vent walls insulated with foil faced sheathing?
The green power solar electrical panel array shown above is distributed by Desmex Solar and is installed in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. BLOCKBED RADIANT FLOORS - SOLAR DESIGN - how we design a concrete block floor for thermal mass &radiant heat distribution, flow rates, air movement, block sizes, etc.
SLAB INSULATION, PASSIVE SOLAR - what insulation thickness is needed under a passive-solar heated slab floor?
SOLAR COLLECTOR AIR or GAS COLLECTION - does air collecting in solar panels mean corrosion? SOLAR COLLECTOR FILMS - do light-transmitting, heat reflecting films offer efficiency gains for solar collectors? Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume I, the Passive Solar Handbook Introduction to Passive Solar Concepts, in a version used by the U.S. Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume II, the Passive Solar Handbook Comprehensive Planning Guide, in a version used by the U.S.
Passive Solar Handbook Volume III, the Passive Solar Handbook Programming Guide, in a version used by the U.S. The Passive Solar Design and Construction Handbook, Steven Winter Associates (Author), Michael J. Qualified service providers specializing in topics discussed at this website may (at our discretion) be listed at this website at no fee. In the United States, electricity is generated primarily from the combustion of a limited supply of fossil fuels, or with large hydroelectric dams, or with nuclear power plants.
Wind turbines capture wind to turn rotors, which turns a generator and creates electricity. Small-scale hydroelectric power plants flow water over turbines, which turn a generator and create electricity. Ground-source heat pumps transfer heat to the ground in summer and extract heat from the ground in winter. Green power is electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, biomass, and landfill gas. The Energy StarProgram defines a variety of home mortgage options that can give home owners or home buyers assistance for energy-efficient buildings.
Check with your local building department, state, town, or county financial assistance offices, and office for the elderly or aging in your community. An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a homea€™s energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. To get an EEM a borrower typically has to have a home energy rater conduct a home energy rating before financing is approved. EEMs are typically used to purchase a new home that is already energy efficient such as an ENERGY STAR qualified home. The term EEM is commonly used to refer to all types of energy mortgages including Energy Improvement Mortgages (EIMs), which are used to purchase existing homes that will have energy efficiency improvements made to them. EIMs allow the borrower to use the money saved in utility bills to finance energy improvements.

EEMs (and EIMs) are sponsored by federally insured mortgage programs (FHA and VA) and the conventional secondary mortgage market (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).
Conventional EEMs can be offered by lenders who sell their loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHA EEMs allow lenders to add 100 percent of the additional cost of cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to an already approved mortgage loan (as long as the additional costs do not exceed $4000 or 5 percent of the value of the home, up to a maximum of $8000, whichever is greater). The Veterana€™s Administration (VA) EEM is available to qualified military personnel, reservists and veterans for energy improvements when purchasing an existing home.
An ENERGY STAR mortgage pilot program is underway to demonstrate that financing can be a useful tool for enhancing the success of investing in energy-efficient homes by lowering borrowing costs, as well as demonstrating the importance of utilizing a network of qualified energy auditors and contractors to ensure that cost-effective energy efficiency improvements are realized.
By incorporating the costs of energy efficiency improvements into the loan itself, an ENERGY STAR mortgage allows borrowers to pay for those investments over the life of their loan and deduct the interest from their federal and state income taxes. We are pouring in two weeks and would greatly appreciate a response to this question: ARE WE ABOUT TO MAKE A BIG MISTAKE? Jim and Larry, your project is far enough south that the benefit from cooling, using the earth as a heat sink or a source of cooling in hot weather may outweigh the cost of heating in cool weather. I have been very critical of uninsulated slabs in cold climates where the heating load is significant (see RADIANT HEAT FLOOR MISTAKES) . Rather, heat radiating from hot or warm objects in the room will find some absorption by the cooler floor surface.
A large warm floor surface has an easy time radiating heat upwards into a cooler room area and onto objects in that room, as warmer air at the floor surface and around objects rises.
You'll want to estimate cooling and heating costs including anticipated energy cost rises in the future as well as energy cost comparisons between electric and fossil fuels, depending on how you are going to heat vs cool the home. A: Summer cooling making use of the heat-absorbing properties of an uninsulated floor slab in good thermal contact with the cooler earth below, paying higher heating costs during the heating season due to heat losses through the floor. High-mass houses have been studied extensively by the log home industry and concrete industry through sophisticated computer modeling and field testing. When the outdoor temperatures are above the human comfort level, both day and night, such as in Florida in summer, thermal mass has much less value. Thermal mass has less benefit for heating, and probably no benefit in cold climates when the winter temperature stays below the comfort level all day and night -- as in the northern U.S. One can observe that at locations where average day and night temperatures swing just about the same around a comfortable indoor temperature range, thermal mass alone can provide significant comfort in buildings and much less outside energy may be needed to heat or cool the home. At Technical Reviewers & REFERENCES we include references to other sources on this topic. In a thoughtful article about mass-enhanded R-value, BuildCentral reports that while thermal mass can outperform low-mass building walls (or in your case floors) of the same R-value, deciding if a particular building will benefit from this design requires some careful thought.
And at FLOOR CHOICES OVER CONCRETE SLABS we illustrate a floor slab (with incomplete under-slab insulation) that provides thermal mass helping to stabilize temperatures in a cabin in torthern Minnesota. As for modeling thermal mass effects and earth-sheltering, ita€™s usually done on mainframes using DOE BLAST, so ita€™s not for the faint hearted or anyone else who doesna€™t have a PhD in physics. Active Solar Rock-bed Heat Storage Design Details: Active Solar Energy Systems, and also Active Solar Blockbed Floor Design for examples of using thermal mass to control both heating and cooling cost, and in the case of the second article, including active cooling by routing building air through passages in the thermal-mass of a cool floor.
Both of those approaches presume that the thermal mass is nevertheless insulated from the earth, so that it can benefit both heating and cooling seasons. In sum, my OPINION is that you are considering a design that has appeal for simplicity and lower installation cost. I did a follow-up where-are-they-now study once at Solar Age, looking at well-known solar and alternative houses including a couple of earth-sheltered houses built by Malcolm Wells, one of the widely published proponents of living underground.
Continue reading at AFUE DEFINITION, RATINGS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Whenever you’re finding somniloquy- the future will be filled with environment-friendly pirates pics, reviews or features we have them here for using. If you’re searching for Energy Saving Air Conditioner System- 50~90 Percent Less Energy information we get them here for using. Coolest latest gadgets – Energy Saving Pharox LED Lamps – Spend 6 Watts To Generate 60 Watts!! This solar energy system provides all of the electrical energy required by a small restaurant, including powering lighting and nine refrigerators and coolers in the building. Department of Energy, describes using a home's windows, walls, and floors to collect and store solar energy for winter heating and also rejecting solar heat in warm weather. DOE includes suggestions on using a high efficiency (gas-fired swimming pool heater or heat pump swimming pool heater) or solar swimming pool heater, using swimming pool covers, managing swimming pool water temperatures, and installing a more energy efficient swimming pool pump, or using it less. It also can be derived from biomassa€”or plant mattera€”which is grown, harvested, and transferred into energy by one of a number of processes. Readers should notice that these programs are aimed at purchasers of homes that are surveyed and rated as energy efficient before the purchase - not to finance energy improvement retrofits.
Also check with building renovation programs intended to help people who own their home but are of very limited financial means, such as the Christmas in April program. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.

EIMs allow borrowers to include the cost of energy-efficiency improvements to an existing home in the mortgage without increasing the down payment. Both EEMs and EIMs typically require a home energy rating to provide the lender with the estimated monthly energy savings and the value of the energy efficiency measures a€” known as the Energy Savings Value. Conventional EEMs increase the purchasing power of buying an energy efficient home by allowing the lender to increase the borrowera€™s income by a dollar amount equal to the estimated energy savings. No additional down payment is required, and the FHA loan limits wona€™t interfere with the process of obtaining the EEM.
Additional information about writing energy-efficient mortgages can be found on their Web sites. One of the key benefits of an ENERGY STAR mortgage is that a borrower can finance and make energy-saving improvements to their homes without paying more for financing than they would for a typical mortgage.
But I did not intend to suggest that in a climate where cooling costs are high that the data works out to the same conclusion nor that all buildings should have the same design regardless of climate.
That is, a warm floor surface may heat surrounding objects by radiant heat - a method that many homeowners say is quite comfortable. So the room is radiating heat back to the floor, though I suspect with less efficiency in cooling mode than in heating mode. Summer cooling making use of the heat-absorbing properties of an insulated floor slab and thermal mass below the slab, still insulating the slab from the earth below, making use of the same slab as a heat sink and reservoir during the heating season. They were intent on proving that the a€?mass effecta€? of high-mass buildings helped save energy independent of the R-value of the components.
It will cause a lag in the indoor peak temperature, relative to outdoors, but that may and may not be beneficial. These were largely discredited by Solar Age and others as ineffective, expensive, and prone to all manner of problems with mold, poor airflow, etc.
But before deciding you might want to look at both active and passive solar designs that make use of thermal mass, often an insulated thermal mass, to reduce both summer cooling and winter heating costs. To make a long story short, I contacted the owners who had recently removed all the earth from their roof due to mysterious pinhole leaks in the rubber roof, which maybe wasna€™t designed to have tons on earth overhead.
The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. If you require further details regarding the transaction data, please contact the supplier directly. It’s made of environmentally friendly materials, such as polycarbonate recyclable materials, energy-saving light bulbs, etc. We mainly collect the high-top quality Energy Saving Air Conditioner System- 50~90 Percent Less Energy pictures, information or reviews for Sclick’s viewers to use.
Renewable energy dramatically lowers pollution emissions, reduces environmental health risks, and slows the depletion of finite natural resources. However, there may be federal or local programs that do provide financial assistance for building weatherization and insulation retrofits.
The Fannie Mae loan also adjusts the value of the home to reflect the value of the energy efficiency measures.
Participating lenders also offer borrowers an additional financial benefit above and beyond the value of the home energy savings, such as discounted mortgage rates, reduced loan fees, or assistance with closing costs.
Their goal was to prove that log homes or, in the case of the concrete industry, concrete homes were inherently energy-efficient. One effect of a high-mass home, is that it is difficult to quickly heat up the house a€“ which is why setback thermostats are not recommended in homes with radiant slabs. Although it's not quite in perfect balance, a home in San Miguel de Allende (described at x) has been considered by its occupants (DF & family) to be comfortable enough as to not require central heating nor air conditioning. Thus, high-mass walls are most beneficial in moderate climates that have high diurnal (daily) temperature swings around the desired indoor setpoint.
Their efforts were somewhat successful in that ASHRAE, the organization that sets standards for the thermal performance of buildings now recognizes that thermal mass plays a modest role in a buildinga€™s performance (see ASHRAE A Standard 90.1).
The high mass walls will keep the indoor temperature closer to the average of these two temperatures and thus more comfortable a€“ reducing or eliminating the need for mechanical cooling, especially in arid areas where dehumidification is not needed. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Passive solar gain warms the structure during the day, providing heat that is returned in cooler evenings; during warmer parts of the day the still-cool mass of the structure helps keep indoor temperatures comfortable. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order.

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