The February 2009 Energy Update

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  • Steve, I can't remember if geo-heating/cooling has been mentioned before in your energy update posts. Is that something you've thought about? It generally pays for itself in a few years.

    http://www.geo-heating.com/

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=geo_heat.pr_geo_heat_pumps

    Can provide heat, cooling, and hot water. And it's more reliable than solar/wind.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • Actually I had considered that before, though since we just put in a furnace, I'm not sure we want to tear that out here in the house. It's something I've considered for an outbuilding, and if I put up a shop, I think I'd be looking to do a geo-thermal system with wind/solar for the power to run it 🙂

  • Retro-fitting insulation is an established practice in some parts of the world.

    In Switzerland, the government periodically raises the insulation requirements for offices and apartmement blocks. Compliance with the new standard is optional for existing buildings, but after the date given in the legislation you are not allowed to use any form of central heating unless you do comply.

    If you spend much time in Switzerland, you will realise that a number of buildings are having additional insulation added. The standard practice when I lived there was to attach a layer of insulating blocks (often up to 0.5m thick) to the outside of the building, cover this with a render and then paint it. Often the windows get upgraded at the same time.

    Upgrading insulation in this way is relatively cheap and definitely effective.

    Original author: https://github.com/SQL-FineBuild/Common/wiki/ 1-click install and best practice configuration of SQL Server 2019, 2017 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 and 2005.

    When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor they call me a communist - Archbishop Hélder Câmara

  • I'm just looking at getting my roof redone. As we have attic rooms I want to put some insulation under the tiles (we need all the space we can get so I need something thin that'll go between the tiles and the roof).

    Anyone had any experience of this kind of stuff? I know various different things have different problems, for instance foil loses effectiveness after a few years as the shiny surface flakes off, and foam loses effectiveness when it gets saturated....

    Any ideas?

  • You can get some multi-layer insulation that may do what you need. It is similar in concept to what NASA use to insulate spaceships. There are a lot of people in the industry who say it is wonderful, and some who say it is next to useless. I sugest you find some forums concentrating on home insulation to learn more.

    Original author: https://github.com/SQL-FineBuild/Common/wiki/ 1-click install and best practice configuration of SQL Server 2019, 2017 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 and 2005.

    When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor they call me a communist - Archbishop Hélder Câmara

  • For those that have the trees, I can't recommend an outdoor woodburning furnace enough. We've been toasty through one of the coldest winters I've ever experienced. Of course, when we built the house we used six inch walls instead of the standard four, low-e double paned windows, lots of windows on the south facing side of the house for passive solar heating, and it all adds up.

  • Steve,

    Did you ever investigate insulating paint? Not sure if it really works or not, but it's said to add some level of insulation.

    http://www.hytechsales.com/ceramics/

    Mark

  • Here is a great article about how to insulate a basement.

    www.buildingscience.com/documents/reports/rr-0202-basement-insulation-systems

    A lot of energy is lost by a unfinished basement.

    Here in Quebec we had a frozen january. 1 week it was -30 F without counting the wind. With wind it was like -50 F.

    Im redoing right now my basement, i put 2 inches foam (R-10) and a batt insulation (R-14) for a total of R-24.

  • Just curious about your comment about electric heat.

    I don't understand if I generate my own electricity why shouldn't I heat with it?

  • 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

  • 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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  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

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