NEXUS: Buttoning Up Your Home for the Winter
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NEXUS: Buttoning Up Your Home for the Winter

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Covered topics include:

- Building envelope basics
- Best bang for your buck
-Weatherstripping and insulating
- Additional energy & resource conservation measures
- Saving green while keeping it green
- Getting it done
- Welcome to NEXUS: How to make maximum use of the Resource Center

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NEXUS: Buttoning Up Your Home for the Winter NEXUS: Buttoning Up Your Home for the Winter Presentation Transcript

  • The Green Roundtable and Buttoning up for the winter- Basics of home energy conservation
  • Green Roundtable Consulting, education, training and strategic planning to create healthy environments by integrating principles of sustainability into mainstream planning, design and construction.
  • Objectives Discuss: - Easy ways to reduce energy consumption in the home (low-hanging fruit) - Additional cost-effective measures (higher cost but potentially big returns) - Energy efficient lighting, appliances & equipment - Improving performance of building envelope (insulating & air sealing) - Basic economics- incentives, payback time, etc.
  • Home energy use Space heating represents about 50% of the average home’s energy use >90 percent of the embodied life-cycle energy in the typical home is attributable to operating energy (heating, cooling, lighting, appliances, etc.) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • General approaches - Make simple lifestyle adjustments - Improve maintenance routines - Make simple upgrades to fixtures in the home - Upgrade appliances and equipment - Make improvements to the building envelope
  • Building envelope, definition All of the elements of a building that separate and isolate the unconditioned, sometimes hostile outdoor environment from the conditioned indoor environment. This may include walls and wall finishes, roofs and roof finishes, doors, windows, skylights and basement floors and walls. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • But first… • Remove window A/C units in winter • Close storm windows if you have them! • Lock sashes; adjust closers on storm doors so that the doors latch properly • Install hooks on older (wooden) storm doors to make sure weatherstripping makes tight seal • Repair broken windowpanes; re-putty windows if necessary • The old familiar mantra: “Do you live in a barn?!…” – Educate your children! The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
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  • If you can‟t replace broken window panes right away, seal cracks with a clear/ translucent caulking material or cellophane tape! The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Low-hanging fruit- easy pickin‟s • Lower thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees- 1 degree lower for 8 hour period saves about 1% on heating energy use (simple math: 2 deg for 24 hrs = 6%) • Add humidity to the air; it makes a given temperature feel warmer • Lower your water heater to 120 deg. F, especially if you have a newer dishwasher The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Low-hanging fruit- easy pickin‟s • Close off a section of the house for the season if practical (e.g. multi-zone heating); don‟t lower thermostat below 55 deg. • Close window shades if you have them…all the way to window sills (interrupts convection loops) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Low-hanging fruit- easy pickin‟s • Drain a few quarts of water from your water heater (at least 4 times per year). This improves efficiency and extends tank life. • Bleed radiators if valve is open & no heat The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • More low-hanging fruit… • If it‟s too inconvenient to turn off your computer between daytime use, at least turn it off overnight • Regularly defrost refrigerators/ freezers • Clean the coils on your refrigerator; clean door gasket and mating surfaces • Clean heat pump and air conditioner coils • Use ceiling fans w/ cathedral or high ceilings to eliminate temperature stratification (both heating and cooling season) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • More low-hanging fruit… • Let bath water dissipate heat to room temperature before letting water down drain- collect some of this water for plants/ landscape/ toilet flushing. • Do same for dish water- This also adds much- needed humidity to winter air • Wash your clothes in cold water; do full loads; otherwise, don‟t use a higher water level or longer cycle than necessary • Use a „solar clothes dryer‟ The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Low cost, big return • Insulate your hot water pipes (pipes closest to water heater first) • Add an insulation blanket to your hot water heater • Install a low-flow shower head • Install faucet aerators • Fix leaky faucets, especially hot water • Install a programmable thermostat • Change your furnace filter (forced hot air systems) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Don‟t insulate top of gas-fired water heaters; leave access panels & valves at base clear as well The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Don‟t waste too much time trimming pipe insulation to fit tightly around elbows & valves; wrap a few times with wide (1 ½ - 2”) foam self-adhesive weatherstripping tape & secure w/ electrical tape if necessary The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • An example of a foam weatherstripping tape option for sealing pipe insulation at elbows & valves The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Low cost, big return- continued • Replace worn weatherstripping • Use expanding foam insulation to plug obvious holes in building envelope • Add gaskets to electrical receptacle covers • Control groupings of consumer electronics, like entertainment centers from central power strip • Install dimmer switches & occupancy sensors • Buy Energy Star anything! (if it affects energy use) • Use an auto shut-off electric kettle The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Low cost, big return- continued • Use CFLs! -Don‟t mix w/ incandescent in enclosed fixtures -Long payback time in little-used fixtures -Use higher than incand. wattage-equivalent (you‟re still saving over incandescent) -Don‟t use in dimmed fixtures unless rated “dimmable” • See www.estarlights.com, www.efi.org • Mercury in bulbs far less than mercury in stack gas from power plant capacity needed to satisfy increased demand from incandescent bulbs • Must treat blown-out bulbs as hazardous waste The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Improving the Building Envelope The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Key Principle- Saving home energy As a general rule, for the average home/ homeowner, the greatest energy savings will be achieved through managing the demand side of the equation, rather than the supply side. In other words, you’ll get better bang for your buck through energy conservation measures, like insulating & minimizing air infiltration, than incorporating expensive renewable energy systems such as wind and solar. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Building envelope, functions • Protect structural elements and interior of structure from weather, esp. moisture • Help to maintain proper thermal regime within structure • Help to maintain proper humidity regime within structure • Prevent infiltration of outside air and contaminants • Acoustically isolate interior of structure from outside noise • In essence, act as „membrane‟ for the structure The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Building envelope components • Exterior finish- wood siding, vinyl siding, brick, etc. • Weather membrane/ air barrier/ drainage plane- building paper, Tyvek, Typar, etc. • Exterior sheathing- usually plywood • Wall/ ceiling cavities (inc. structural members & insulation) • Vapor retarders/ barriers • Or monolithic masonry floors/ walls, with or without insulation, exterior damp-proofing, etc. • Interior wall finish The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Preventing heat loss • Insulate • Air seal (prevent infiltration) • Use landscape features- vegetative shields, etc. • Address lifestyle issues • Best bang for buck through air sealing! Begin here! The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Air leakage pathways The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Minimizing air infiltration (sealing building envelope) • Seal obvious openings- pipe penetrations, attic scuttles, electrical receptacles, recessed lights, etc. • Openings to attic spaces are some of worst offenders • Any place where two building planes meet is good candidate for air sealing • For additions/ new construction, use exterior air barrier to minimize infiltration The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Housewrap to minimize air infiltration & protect from moisture The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Air leakage proportion through various pathways The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Attic hatches/ scuttles are a major leakage pathway The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • A commercial solution for attic openings See also www.efi.org The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • A home-brew solution The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Rim joist between floors: A significant air-leakage & heat loss pathway. Expanding foam insulation a good solution here The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Seal joint between baseboards and floors/ walls. Add molding if necessary to conceal caulking. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Seal joints between intersecting planes w/ expanding foam The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Electrical receptacles can be a significant air leakage pathway. Seal cover plates w/ foam gaskets. Seal joint between electrical box & wall with caulking, spackle or drywall compound. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Some commercial alternatives to gaskets/ sealing mentioned previously. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Don‟t run insulation up to and over canister (recessed) light fixtures unless they are “IC” (Insulation Contact)- rated; Otherwise maintain minimum 3” clearance at all sides The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Fireplaces are usually NOT an effective heating appliance! They lead to excessive heat loss via drafts up chimney, especially when you have a roaring fire! Use glass doors & outside combustion air source if practical. Close damper when not in use! The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
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  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • A sampling of window sealing/ insulating options • Important note: Always provide at least one unsealed window per bedroom & living level to allow fast escape in fire/ emergency • Rope caulking to eliminate air leaks (provides no insulating value) – can be re-used if carefully removed • Shrink film w/ double-stick tape - one season use • Plastic (or shrink) film w/ bead or spline track (“Tiger track”); track can be painted to match woodwork – whole system reusable from season to season if non-shrink plastic sheeting used • Rigid plastic (like Plexiglas™ sheet acrylic) with weatherstripping & clips or magnetic tape – whole system can be re-used from year to year – one of most aesthetically pleasing options; magnetic tape option allows easy escape The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Air sealing, online product sources • www.efi.org • www.conservationtechnology.com The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Plexiglas retrofitted to exterior of upper sash; lower sash gets retrofitted on inside to assure proper operation of window The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Interior storm window retrofit; made from ceiling light diffuser panel; provides additional privacy as well The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Creative solutions: Bubble-pack between sash & storm window to provide insulating value (& additional privacy) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Windows • Performance measured in “U-value”; inverse of R- value; measure of material‟s ability to conduct heat; the lower the U-value, the better • Look for U-value of .35 or less • Double-glazed, argon filled preferred; Diminishing returns with triple glazing • ‘Low-e’ coating reflects heat back into structure • Always look for Energy Star & NFRC labels • Typical heat loss through windows about 20% The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • NFRC Label The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
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  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Seal gap between rough opening and window sill/ jambs when installing new windows The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Insulating guidelines • Go for low-hanging fruit- e.g. add more attic insulation first if it is accessible and is not well insulated • Button up your house to minimize cooling (A/C) loads as well as heating loads • Try to eliminate bridging heat loss through wall framing, etc, as it greatly reduces overall insulation effectiveness, e.g., cross-band attic insulation • Don‟t forget the basement! It‟s often overlooked; heat loss to ~50 deg. F ground surrounding uninsulated foundation is assured according to the laws of physics! • Look for additional opportunities to insulate (other than typical wall/ ceiling cavity insulation) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Additional Insulating Opportunities • Be creative! • Examples: - Behind built-in bookcases - Behind cabinets - Closet walls & ceilings • Capitalize on opportunities to insulate, such as when you have exposed exterior wall cavities during remodeling projects The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Bubble pack- style radiant insulation stapled to back of attic door The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Ventilation • It‟s generally difficult to make an old house too tight (inadequate outdoor make-up air) • Even in a tight house, a bathroom fan is often enough to provide adequate ventilation; cycle on periodically w/ timer switch (and/or humidistat; see efi.org) • Control internal sources of excessive moisture • Provide dedicated (outside) combustion air sources for large combustion appliances like furnaces & fireplaces • Proper attic ventilation may extend life of roof and help to eliminate ice dams • Extremely tight houses may need heat-recovery or multi-port supply (or exhaust) ventilation systems The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Ductwork • Move duct runs into conditioned spaces (thermal envelope) if possible • Seal ducts; use duct mastic for this if possible, otherwise make sure duct tape is UL listed • Insulate (& seal) ducts in unconditioned spaces; for cooling (A/C) ductwork, make sure insulation has external vapor barrier to minimize condensation on duct surfaces • Keep inside of ductwork clean • When insulating ducts in unconditioned basement, you may make basement too cold; may want to insulate basement walls instead The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Appliances • Buy Energy Star! • Upgrade refrigerator if more than 10 years old • Buy horizontal-axis washing machines -They save water and energy (and soap!) • Buy dishwashers w/ booster heater • Don‟t buy oversized air-conditioners The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • More energy conservation strategies • Put radiant reflecting panels behind radiators • Keep baseboard convectors clean • Close all curtains and shades at night during winter (can help to break convection loops even if loose- fitting); install closed-top window cornices if you are using curtains or drapes • Keep gas appliances tuned, including stoves; look for blue flame; see mfgr for adjusting burners • Employ manufacturer-recommended maintenance routines for heating & cooling equipment. This may include adjusting burners, lubricating motors and changing filters. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • More energy conservation strategies • Use microwave oven for cooking; in addition to consuming less power for cooking, they may help to reduce summer cooling loads • Shade air conditioner and heat pump condensers w/ vegetation or artificial shading (be careful w/ deciduous vegetation) • Remember that A/C units also dehumidify, so you may feel comfortable at a higher temperature The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • More energy conservation strategies • Use deciduous vegetation on south, SW and west sides of structure for summer shading; use vines on trellises too • Install awnings, overhangs and other shading structures, such as pergolas • Use retrofit heat-reflecting window films on west- facing windows (look for NFRC label); for new windows, choose units w/ low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for west-facing walls The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • More energy conservation strategies • Install white window shades to help keep house cool in summer • Make sure attic space is well vented • Use whole-house fans to exhaust warm air from house in summer; run mainly at night to flush w/ cool air; close windows during very hot days • Install radiant barriers on underside of roof rafters; can help to warm in winter and cool in summer; don‟t interrupt ventilation pathways • Use double-wall cellular reflecting window shades w/ edge guides or “Energy Track” or window quilts The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Next steps- Home energy saving • Use utility bills to establish energy use baseline • Get energy audit/ assessment (MassSave.com; Energystar.gov; Conservation Services Group: csgrp.com) • If your house is very leaky to begin with, don‟t start with an energy audit- do air sealing and insulating first • Verify improvements w/ blower door testing, thermograph, etc. • Verify improvements through future utility bills- establish new baseline • Make additional improvements as budget permits The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Blower door test to measure air leakage The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Thermograph to check heat loss through walls (insulation effectiveness) The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Funding conservation & renewable energy projects The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Rebates and incentives • Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 • Energy efficient mortgages • MA state sales tax exemption • MA state renewable energy tax credit • Mass Technology Collaborative‟s Commonwealth Solar Initiative • Utility incentives • See DSIRE database (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency): http://www.dsireusa.org/ The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 Examples: • Energy Star windows/ skylights: 10% of cost up to $200 for all windows • Exterior/ Storm doors: 10% of cost up to $500 • Insulation: 10% up to $500 • Geothermal heat pump: $300 • http://www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm • Credits good only for upgrades performed in 2006/ 2007 The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Energy Efficient Mortgages • Allows you to increase your debt-to-income ratio • Remodelers/ Refinancers: -Owner gets all the EEM benefits without moving. -Make improvements which will actually save money. -Increase the potential resale value . • Home Energy Rating System (HERS) report must indicate that home will save money as a result of the improvements- http://www.energy.ca.gov/HERS/; http://www.energyratings.org/ • For more info: http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/housing/energy_mort /energy-mortgage.htm The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • MA Renewables Tax Credit • Personal tax credit • Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind • 15% of cost up to $1000 • Excess credit may be carried forward three years • http://www.state.ma.us/ doer/programs/renew/renew.htm#taxcred The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • MA State Sales Tax Exemption • Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps • 100% of sales tax exempt; no maximum • http://www.state.ma.us/ doer/programs/renew/renew.htm#taxcred The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • MTC Small Renewables Initiative • PV, wind, microhydro • Rebates up to $50,000 • See http://www.masstech.org The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • MTC Commonwealth Solar • $68 M Funding •http://www.masstech.org/renewableenergy/commonw ealth_solar/index.html The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Typical utility rebates •High-efficiency space heating equipment •High-efficiency indirect water heating equipment •ENERGY STAR® qualified windows •ENERGY STAR® qualified thermostats •ENERGY STAR® qualified central air conditioning •ENERGY STAR® air source heat pump systems The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Energy Star savings calculators http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dishwash.pr_dishwashe rs http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=clotheswash.pr_clothes _ washers http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=boilers.pr_boilers The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Rating Systems/ Resources • Energy Star Homes- www.energystar.gov • HERS (http://www.energy.ca.gov/HERS) • International Energy Conservation Code (IEEC)- http://www.iccsafe.org/ • LEED - www.usgbc.org The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Use NEXUS as your green resource! • Upcoming workshops • Reference library • Samples library • Cyber Lounge • Online resources at nexusboston.com (in the pipeline) • Local green building community The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • Local Resources The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)
  • THANK YOU www.greenroundtable.org info@greenroundtable.org 617-374-3740 The Green Roundtable, Inc. (GRT) is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to mainstream green building and sustainable design and become obsolete. We work toward this goal by promoting and supporting healthy and environmentally integrated building projects through strategic outreach, education, policy advocacy and technical assistance. Located in downtown Boston, NEXUS welcomes all to come ask questions, research topics, and attend tours and www.nexusboston.com events on green building and 38 Chauncy Street, Boston sustainable design innovation. The Green Roundtable (copyright © Green Roundtable 2007)