ENERGY EFFICIENT DESIGN

Robert Larsen is passionate about energy efficient building design, and is an avid student of the latest principles and design techniques involved.

ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND GLOBAL WARMING:

In 2017, buildings used 37 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Meanwhile, Global Warming is becoming an increasing danger to our lives. One wonders what life on Earth will be like for future generations?

Meanwhile, we know how to design buildings to be much more energy efficient. In fact, it has been said that a typical U.S. residence, if designed to meet high performance energy conserving standards, could theoretically be heated with a hair dryer!

BASIC STEPS TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY:

1. Orient the building with the majority of the windows facing south, while minimizing windows on the other three sides. Shade the south facing windows from summer sun while allowing winter sun to penetrate the building in winter for solar warming.

2. Add extra insulation: The more the better.  This is the best return on investment one can make when building a new home.

3. Make the building air-tight: Floors, walls, ceilings, and windows need to be sealed against air infiltration.  This can account to nearly 50% of the energy saving achieved.

4. Use energy efficient doors and windows: Triple glazing and tight sealing. NOTE: Windows can still be opened on pleasant days for fresh air and to hear the birds and crickets.

5. Provide good ventilation: It is important to bring in some outside air and vent humid indoor air to the outside. This is necessary with an air-tight house in order to prevent too much humidity to build up inside which could lead to the formation of mold. Only a small amount of ventilation is required, and Heat Recovery Ventilators or Energy Recovery Ventilators are used to capture heat from exhausted air to pre-warm incoming fresh air.

BENEFITS OF ENERGY EFFICIENT DESIGN:

1. Energy efficient houses are more comfortable because they are draft free and have very uniform indoor temperatures.

2. One doesn't feel cold when sitting near exterior walls as is typically the case with conventionally constructed homes.

3. The house maintains its temperature throughout power failures.

4. The air smells fresher.

5. The initial cost of heating and air-conditioning equipment is much lower than for a conventional house.

6. Utility bills much much lower, FOREVER!

WHAT ABOUT THE COST?

The initial cost to build a highly efficient house is about 10% higher than for typical residential construction, but at the same time one must factor in the large savings achieved by not having to install typical heating and cooling systems.