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The February 2009 Energy Update


The February 2009 Energy Update

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Jaime Purcell
Jaime Purcell
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The military, for years, has built structures with blocks of foam. They are glued together and covered with some kind of material. I am not military but I have seen them at Fort Polk.

Many years ago I read an article about a company named Amhome (I have no association with the company). If you are looking to build an energy efficient home this method of construction might be of interest. The foam blocks are glued/joined to build the "form" where cement is poured. I searched for the company and ran accross this article: http://www.homeenergy.org/archive/hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/98/980712.html
Luke L
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Wow, R24 to insulate a basement might be a bit extreme, but I suppose that far north it may be a necessity. I just completed a walk in fridge for my home for beer storage. In doing research for it I learned that commercial fridges are built to r30 and freezers typically to r35. Because of this they tend to be fairly efficient unless you have people in and out of them all day. In finishing the rest of the basement I'm using r19 as I figure I still want some natural cooling for the summer time so that I don't need to use AC on that level. The big thing with my fridge was that once I competed it I wrapped the entire thing with Reflectix, basically aluminum foil on both sides of bubble wrap. It's supposed to create a seal and take care of the studs leaking heat and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than $1 per foot, and it covers the entire wall. The only issue I had with it was putting drywall on top and getting it screwed down tightly.

I'm able to keep it at a cool 40 degF with my cooling unit kicking on for about 5-10 minutes every couple of hours. It's cheaper to cool my 6'x9' walkin than my much smaller kegerator.

-Luke.

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Interesting links, and the basement insulation link is good reading. Seems to recommend exterior insulation, which is a problem for me now. But it's something that homebuilders should be considering, or required to use.

We have low humidity in Denver, so I'll keep this one around and try some of the recommendations as we look to finish ours.

For electric heat, a gas furnace is 80-95% efficient in terms of energy. We have an 85% efficient furnace we put in last winter. If we were to use electricity, given the production, transmissions, step-down, etc., I see estimates that we're 30-40% efficient in terms of converting energy. That doesn't make sense, especially as the transmission of gas has a low energy usage (large investment in piping, but that's mostly sunk, low ongoing).

However, in a superinsulated house, it seems that the waste heat from your TV, fridge,etc. can heat the house into the 60s. A relatively small furnace could get you to 70-72F if that's what you wanted.

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Steve Jones
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I'm able to keep it at a cool 40 degF with my cooling unit kicking on for about 5-10 minutes every couple of hours. It's cheaper to cool my 6'x9' walkin than my much smaller kegerator.


Pictures? Pictures?

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DavidL
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Hate to be a spoiler, but the obvious solution to lowering energy costs is to reduce the footprint -- that is, heat and cool a smaller area. U.S. houses are obscenely and unnecessarily large. period.



Luke L
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Didn't really take any of the process, but I basically just framed it out with 2x6 studs, found the smallest decent exterior prehung door (cause really that's where you're losing the most cold air when you go in and out) and used r21 bats with 2in styrofoam on the inside. That plus the reflectix probably has the room to a total r value of r32-33? My cooling unit is just an AC unit hotwired to bypass the internal thermostat plugged into an external therm so that I can take it down below 60 degF without the AC unit shutting down.

Not much to see there now as it's basically just a lot of beer cases and some kegs stacked on shelves and each other. But if you want I can prolly snap some pics tonight and send 'em to you.

-Luke.

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Steve Jones
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Pictures of the beer would be fine. I'm sure lots of jealous DBAs would be interested Smile

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mhaskins
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One of my favourite Canadians is David Suzuki and he did a portion on one of his TV shows on passively heated homes in Germany. I guess this is a big thing there and it is very popular. No furnace. No boiler. What heats your home? You and your appliances (fridge, etc.) and an aptly-placed heat exchanger. Very, very cool.

http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2008/12/30/save-almost-all-the-energy-with-passive-heated-homes/

Mia

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Jaime Purcell
Jaime Purcell
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Hmmm.

I converted my garage into another room, with a laundry area. The other day, while the exhaust was not venting to the outside, one of my children was drying his clothes and the [small] luandry room was very warm.

Somehow I will rig the clothes dryer's exhaust to also heat the house in the winter.
Luke L
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Jaime Purcell (2/26/2009)
Hmmm.

I converted my garage into another room, with a laundry area. The other day, while the exhaust was not venting to the outside, one of my children was drying his clothes and the [small] luandry room was very warm.

Somehow I will rig the clothes dryer's exhaust to also heat the house in the winter.


I know people who do this, you just need to be aware of 2 things, a) the exhaust from your clothes dryer is VERY moist and if you don't do something with the moisture it will cause mold b) you still need to catch the little bits of lint that make it past your lint screen in your dryer. usually an old pair of nylons will work for this purpose. My dad has some sort of vent redirection apparatus that can point the exhaust outside in summer and back inside in the winter. He still hasn't found a decent solution to the moisture issue yet though other than a big thing of DampRid or other such thing.

-Luke.

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