Archive for the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

Compare Energy Prices – Shop Wisely

December 12, 2015

It’s hard to imagine life without electricity. In a world that
relies on electrical appliances and equipment to function properly every
day, it’s impossible to do anything right without this important source
of energy. How can a person see clearly at night without light-bulbs?
How can a person star his day right without coffee makers? How can one
make breakfast in the morning fast without toasters and electrical
stoves? Every household appliance relies on electricity to work. In
relation to this, the more appliances you have, the more payment you’ll
receive every month. The global recession is making everything more
expensive even the electricity prices. If you want to keep on using
electricity freely without paying much for it, then be sure to find ways
to lessen your payments. Compare energy prices of the different firms
that exist in your area.

When looking for a good company, it is imperative to
find the best one. There are multiple companies that exist in one city
so you won’t find it hard to locate each one. Locating a company is made
easier because of the internet and other sources like newspapers,
yellow pages, and even friends and relatives. If you are a smart
shopper, then you’ll make use of the mediums mentioned above.

It’s not a bad idea to opt for help from people you know when searching
for a good service supplier. You are both using the same services so
it’s probable that you are experiencing the same dilemmas. Everyone has a
problem and in a world that relies on electricity, financial problems
are always existent.

People who have the same problems need to stick together and help each
other for as long as they can. They need to find ways to help one
another. In relation to this, if you have friends in the area, then
asking directions for companies that might aid you with you with your
issues can be a great help. You will be pointed to the right direction
as that is what friends do-they help each other. Don’t look at this
strategy as something troublesome, instead look at this as a way to
tighten bonds as well as help ease the problem you are suffering due to
high-priced payments.

Your decision to seek help from
individuals who are going through the same dilemmas can greatly lessen
your monthly obligations. You and your family will be free to use
electricity for as long as you want without paying much for it. Be sure
to shop for the best firm by making electricity compare with the help of
your friends.

Best College Station Custom Home Builders

November 30, 2015

a new home can be a big step for everyone. A new house is something
that is a milestone in one’s life. Besides keeping up with the house
plans, the location, the material, etc., there are other things, besides
the construction of the house that a new homeowner has to remember,
consider and implement. A home should reflect the personality of the
people that are going to be living in it.

whole point of having all of these choices is to let the homeowner
have, in a sense, the home of their dreams. Without having these
essential choices, or only have a few home designs to work with, can
make your newly built house turn into something that you aren’t in love
with. When choosing where your residence will be built you have another
important decision on your hands. The location of your new house is
essential to off-setting its appearance and being conducive to your

How to prevent the shield from damage? Who is
trustworthy and perfect builder? Builder’s risk insurance, these are
some of the general thinking for every owner before building home.
“Southwest Homes” gives clear understanding for all your queries. People
say the most difficult thing in a person’s life is building a house,
yes that is 100% true but with appropriate planning you can make the
process as smooth as possible.

“Southwest Homes” are experienced
in all types of homes .Let us have review for some of the types of homes
constructed by us. Shell Homes which include the outside completely
finished with exterior paint and the plumbing ‘roughed in’ through the
slab. Stage Built Homes will be built to any stage of completion from a
shell to a completed home. Energy efficient finished homes are fully
completed on the inside, including floor covering, interior paint, and
ready to move in.

Station Custom Home Builders, College Station New House Designs,
College Station House Plans for Homes, College Station Plans for new
houses, College Station Craftsman Style Homes, Bryan Custom Home
Builders, Bryan New House Designs, Bryan House Plans for Homes, Bryan
Plans for new houses, Bryan Craftsman Style Homes are some of the
services provided by “Southwest Homes” in College Station and Bryan.

Homes” not only designs and build your new home to your specifications,
but also helps you obtain financing that is best suited to your budget.
We can modify any plan to suit your individual lifestyle, or we can
design a totally new plan just for you. “Southwest Homes” has been voted
as the Best Home Builder in the Brazos Valley. “Southwest Homes” doing
things right helps to have Builder’s Risk Insurance and General
Liability Insurance. For designs and home plans contact our website where you can have clear picture.

Energy Saving Tips 2010

November 15, 2015

A large part of our household income is spent on the energy
that we use in our homes. This is a breakdown showing where our energy
spending occurs:

are some energy saving tips that could save you a fortune over the
course of a year and help you to keep your energy spending under

Try these tips and I am sure that you will save a great deal on your energy costs starting today.

The Effects of Energy Efficiency Home Improvement

October 19, 2015

If you own a home that you sometimes find draughty and expensive
to heat – then you could benefit from carrying out energy efficient home
improvements. An energy efficient home is not only more environmentally
responsible, it is also much more economical in the long run. When you
take steps to stop air leaks and improve the insulation in your attic,
basement and walls, these steps can mean your house stays warmer and you
are more comfortable through the winter months when those cold winds
seem to seep in from the outside.

Be assured, steps taken to
improve energy efficiency is likely to be far more beneficial than you
realize particularly in an older home. Indeed, effects are likely to be
as far reaching as helping to create a viable home performance industry
while improving our environment.

What is energy efficient home improvement?

efficient home improvement is about creating a home that is comfortable
and uses less energy to heat and cool, because it is well sealed
against air leaks and well insulated against heat transfer. When a home
is poorly insulated, the use of a heating system can be undermined by
loss of heat through lack of insulation in the walls and attic, poorly
fitted windows and doors that let in draughts and so on. By taking
measures to correct these problems, you’ll be able to improve the energy
efficiency of your home – and that can mean significant savings on
energy bills. The following are some of the ways in which you can
improve the energy efficiency of your home:

Diagnostic Tools
The best way to address problems in older homes or homes that have few
energy efficiency measures taken during construction is through running
some diagnostic tests to find the home’s ‘weak points’ when it comes to
energy efficiency. These tests can assess how tightly the home is sealed
and pinpoint the locations where hot air is escaping from the home.
These tests examined areas such as ductwork systems, attics/roofs,
basements, exterior wall cavities, utilities entry points and so on.
Ultimately, the tests will determine how efficient or inefficient for
that matter your home is; whether you have drafts that is allowed to
come in unhindered, whether or not you have insulation in your attic or
walls and whether you have insulating windows and well sealed doors etc.

Window insulations –
When you have windows that are not insulated, you can experience loss
of heat in two ways. First, if your windows are older (such as on a
traditional, character home) then you may get heat loss via gaps or
spaces around the window. Second, the home may have single glazed
windows which lose heat via heat transfer. The Repairing or replacing of
older windows with energy efficient ones can help to prevent further
loss of heat; which in turn can improve the comfort of your home. To
address the second issue, you may opt to have the windows double or
triple glazed (using heat reflecting glass), or have polythene
insulation installed to help minimise heat transfer and keep the maximum
amount of heat inside your home. Other applications such as heavy
drapes across the windows during the winter can also further reduce heat
loss to the outside.

Door insulations – If you
have glass doors, then many of the same principles apply to insulating
these as you would your windows. Additionally, draft proofing or weather
stripping is one of the simple things you may want to consider when air
sealing your homes; Preventing draughts from entering rooms also means
preventing heat from escaping. These applications are quick and simple
to install and they can make a big difference to your home. It is also
possible to carry out improvements to your home by having insulated
outer doors installed by a professional. Some of these doors are solid,
sturdy doors that will help to reduce heat loss because they contain
insulation within their core.

Air sealing – This
process refers to the sealing of the less obvious draft spots in the
home. If you have a draft under a door, you may be able to stop it with a
weather strip, but a significant amount of heat loss can take place via
gaps and holes in basements, crawl spaces and attics or lofts. In order
to eliminate heat loss in these locations, it is worthwhile to hire a
contractor to assess your home for leakage, carry out sealing around
areas where leaks are identified is very essential to improving the
home’s energy performance. A professional can seal your home quite
tightly to improve energy efficiency and prevent loss of heat from these

Duct sealing – If you have reverse
cycle air conditioning ducted system in your home, there is a
possibility that you will experience issues of heat loss via poorly
sealed openings, gaps around the seals of the ducts and so on. If you
have an older home that is prone to be draughty, then chances are you
are letting a lot of money slip through your fingers, heating a home
that is releasing a large proportion of that heat outside conditioned
space. The long-term cost of this could be significant when compared to
the ease of sealing leaky ducts. A professional home performance
improvement contractor can help you assess the loss via the ducts and
other areas and can help you to correct these problems without
inhibiting the function of the system.

Roof/Attic – Insulation
in the attic is one of the most effective insulation procedure; helping
to keep the warmth in during the cold months and the heat out in the
hot months. If you insulate your attic you would be creating one of the
most important cost savers for an energy efficient home,for heat loss
through the attic can account for up to 20% of the loss of heat from the
home. Insulation products for the roof can include traditional fiber
glass or you may opt for a more environmentally friendly option such as
cellulose which is pulverized recycled newspaper treated with fire and
mold spores retardants. This works more efficiently than the regular
fiberglass insulation when dense pack, in addition its production is
less damaging to the environment as it is biodegradable.

Wall insulation – Wall cavities in
your house can act in a similar way to double glazing, dense packed
these cavities with blown-in cellulose insulation and boost the energy
efficiency of your home. Some new homes may have been built with energy
saving measure already in place, however older (existing) homes all
across the country may have to have this done to achieve desired energy

Why energy efficiency matters?

energy efficiency improvement matters and should be aggressively
pursued because of its obvious job creating potentials, its long-term
viability as an emerging building performance industry and its
increasing importance in the drive to reduce green house gases. The
current job market is clearly in need of a ‘shot in the arm.’ There is
little doubt that energy-efficient building improvement has the
explosive job creating potential that is needed now to help right this
economy. Indeed, low-income communities all across this country are full
of unemployed people who could easily be trained is the relatively low
skilled weatherizing techniques.The construction industry, for example,
which has loss over 20 percent of its workforce since 2008 would find
the strong commitment to energy retrofit a welcome development. In
addition, inner-city neighborhoods where older in-efficient buildings
are often the dominant building stock provide a perfect ‘ecosystem’ of
desirable buildings and worker pool. Cities such as Boston in the
Northeast United States has gotten the message and has embark on the
quest to find how to best capitalize on this opportunity.

long-term viability of energy efficiency as a building performance
service is attractively promising because of two main reasons. One, to
achieve any plausible reform in our national energy policy, this has to
be a fundamental piece of the equation. It is becoming clearer that the
government recognizes this and is inching its way forward. Cities across
the country are brainstorming for creative programs to solve this
building energy in-efficiency problem. The city of Boston has a proposal
on the table to infrared scan all the buildings in the city to test for
heat loss. Two, The national building stock, residential and
commercial, is woefully energy in-efficient and must be improve or we
will continue to throw money out the window and pollute the environment,
clearly, unsustainable options.

Beyond the considerable potential
for immediate job creation and the creation of a new industry with all
the social benefits attached, reducing climate pollution is an important
bi-product of energy efficiency improvement. According to the Pew
Center on Global Climate Change, buildings account for about 43% of the
total carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., compared to transportation
32% and industrial 25%. The interesting fact is that activities to
improve building energy efficiency are among the most cost effective
among alternatives to lower green house gases. The truth is, a homeowner
choosing to improve his/her home energy efficiency is in fact
contributing to solving the fundamental environmental, social and
economic issues of our time.

Why should homeowners care about energy efficiency?

a homeowner, carrying out improvements to ensure energy efficiency can
quickly start to return the money you’ve out-laid. When you air
seal,insulate and improve the envelope of your home correctly to prevent
the loss of heat, it is effectively cutting out wastage. You wouldn’t
go to a store for basics like bread and milk then throw 20% of it out.
The fact is you’re ‘throwing out’ a huge amount of your heat Without
weatherization and other energy efficient home improvements. If you
don’t like the idea of wastage and you don’t want to continue throwing
away your money, then you should give serious consideration to having
your home weatherize. The correct installation of energy saving
insulation in your attic and basement alone can reduce your energy bill
by around 20 percent or more; add that to the money you will save by
having air sealed, and installed insulated windows and you’ll quickly
see that those savings stacking up. A simple way to get started with
making energy efficient improvements to your home is to contact a
professional. An experienced home performance improvement contractor can
run a series of diagnostic tests to measure your home’s efficiency and
how tightly it is sealed. Armed with this information, you can then take
the steps you must to improve your home’s energy efficiency in order to
start saving the maximum amount of money while enjoying a more
comfortable, healthy home.

Energy Upgrade An Ideal Way to Remodel Your Home

October 11, 2015

energy upgrade, home owners can not only improve the look of their
dwellings but also make their homes energy efficient and environment
friendly. Most of the times home owners consider that upgrading their
homes for energy mean white washing, tiling and repairing the walls,
floor and fixtures. But in reality the energy improvement stands for
making your home bright and airy. A majority of residential buildings
require up-gradation because they are built with privacy in mind and not
on the guidelines set by nature. A home should welcome the sun and make
way for refreshing air to come and make it a lively place.

energy upgrade, you need the help of professionals that can audit your
home for energy and recommend changes to make your home energy
efficient. An ideal home is one that receives plenty of sunlight and
fresh air. You have to make way for the sunlight and fresh air to come
in your home. The green auditors will examine your home and mark the
areas that need improvement. In your home, there may be dark and damp
areas that need natural light and air. The auditors can locate such
areas and recommend changes to improve them.

Home owners are
becoming conscious about the energy efficiency of their homes because of
the increasing electricity bills and shrinking water resources. Water
and electricity are two basic necessities of a home but today both these
necessities are becoming scarce. Energy upgrade can reduce your
dependency on electricity and thus help you save thousands of dollars
you spend every year in paying electricity bills. The green auditors can
tell you various cost effective ways to make your home bright and airy.
Also they can recommend you various changes that can make your home an
all weather dwelling which is warm in winter and cool in summer.

upgrade is also helpful in preserving water. With green audit, you can
unearth the faulty water pipe joints that are consuming a large amount
of water from the storage tank. Each drop of water is precious because
you spend a considerable amount of your monthly income in purchasing
water. The green audit can help you to determine how much water you
actually require and how much you are using. Upgrading the energy
efficiency of your home doesn’t cost much because the auditors recommend
only those measures which home owners can employ without putting much
burden on their pockets.

How Does Insulation Reduce Home Energy Wastage

October 4, 2015

many people, you are probably concerned about the impact that your home
energy usage is having on the planet. In the UK, approximately one
quarter of all carbon emissions are generated through home energy usage.
More than 80% of the energy used by households in the UK is generated
for heating, and more than half of that generated heat can escape
through the walls and roof of a home. Home insulation for lofts and
cavity walls can reduce that amount significantly, helping you cut down
on the amount of carbon emissions that your home generates, which in
return shrinks the property’s carbon footprint and, as a reward,
utilities bills too.

Reducing Home Energy Wastage through Cavity Wall and Loft Insulation

It is estimated that households who install cavity wall and loft
insulation, along with various draught exclusion methods, can reduce
their home energy bills by up to

Total Concrete Housing Technology Analysis

September 27, 2015

Design, material and component selection.

The Design.

best design for the structure, (to ensure compatibility for design,
market acceptance as well as accurate test results), is to be a small
home complete with basement, targeting the low to mid income bracket.


Materials to be used in the structure include existing products such as
ICF wall system, basement insulated slab on grade system, composite
concrete intermediate floor system, High performance, dual glazed, low-E
and argon filled windows, with exterior stucco and cultured stone

New technologies developed include; A hybrid ICF
composite concrete cast in place roof forming system utilizing both
Formtech and Speedfloor components. A simplified radiant in floor
heating system. Earth coupled geothermal water to water hydronic
heating/cooling system, utilizing passive soils heat transfer methods to
reduce loop lengths, and engineered soils to increase performance. An
advanced air separator cleaning unit and fresh air energy recovery
ventilation system complete with an integral mid volume air conditioning

New methods of installation including external vibration
methods utilizing new technology. More efficient design and detailing
methods. Introduction of new installation methods, which simplify and
demystify the processes involved in the construction. Multi function or
combined construction tasking, which combine two or more tasks into one.
Lowered experience and knowledge requirements through efficient
material selection, management practices, design, detailing, and

Criteria included in design and developed products and/or techniques

the last years we have accumulated information and research into the
needs of the building market place, and determined that the following
base criteria for all products would have to be addressed within the
design and/or construction of the building.

1. Cost. Overall, the
cost of materials and/or labor would have to ensure that the current
construction methods associated with ICF construction would have to
decrease the total cost of the building by the offset cost of utilizing
these types of products installed to current standards.

Efficiency. The material and labor components must comply with
efficiency in design to reduce construction time, and reduce material
requirements by a undetermined acceptable level. Material components
should perform two or more construction or building functions per item,
or combine several aspects required into the design, such as stay in
place formwork.

3. Methods of construction. The methods of
construction must simplify the construction process, allowing low skill
labor to be utilized effectively.

4. Quality of construction. The
Quality of the building must be increased to meet the new challenges of a
modern world including Longevity, durability, strength, esthetics,
operation, form and function.

5. Compatibility. The building must
be constructed in such a matter as to be identical in form and function
with current residential structures.

6. Versatility. Any normal
residential structure must be able to be designed and built with the
systems and methods, to ensure compliance with current designs in the
construction industry.

7. Needs and shortfalls. The building has
to address most, if not all, of the current needs and existing
shortfalls in residential dwellings.

8. energy-efficient. Energy
requirements should meet or exceed, even the highest standards of
current construction materials and methods.

9. Environmental
Friendly. The materials and methods should address as many environmental
considerations as possible, including waste, energy required for
production of materials, and energy required for construction. Low
environmental impact products and methods of construction would be a

10. Manufacturing capability. All products and existing
labor markets must be able to be easily adapted to meet the needs for
construction of buildings of this type.

All materials and
components as well as the manufacturers have been selected based on the
product’s ability in speed, durability, workability, quality, strength,
warranties and market acceptance from existing raw materials and/or

Heat loss.

Component factors

Roof effectiveness.

energy efficiencies for ICF wall systems rate about 30% more effective
in overall heating and cooling when combined with current standards of
wood truss roof installation and slab on grade basement installations.
Knowing that the current energy loss’s in a heating climate for walls in
residential structures is about 23% of the overall loss of a home, and
the roof representing about 42% of the overall heat loss, I am assuming
the following: 42% (total roof loss on a normal home)/ 23% (total wall
loss on normal home)X 30% (the known effectiveness of ICF walls only on a
home) should in theory increase the effectiveness of the above slab
thermal envelope by about 54.78%.

This assuming comparative
R-value increases, combined with reduced air infiltration and thermal
conductance characteristic differences associated with ICF construction.

Below grade and under Slab effectiveness.

smaller, below grade and under slab loss’s do count in the overall
building heat loss, and typically represent about 7% of the total heat
loss on the building. This can be reduced substantially through the use
of effective drainage of ground water, the inclusion of foil covered
Expanded Polystyrene insulation to isolate the slab from the ground as
well as ICF construction for the basement walls. By including 4″ of EPS
foam, a reflective layer of foil, and effective subsurface drainage, we
can increase the efficiency of slab on grades and below grade areas by
about 67% over the current accepted standard of 6 mil polyethylene
sheets only. Assuming these numbers to be accurate, we can include the
following, 7% (total heat loss through the sub structure area) X 67%
(effective increase in thermal performance of the slab) = 4.69% (total
added savings overall to the heat loss characteristics). Adding this to
the above slab thermal envelope effectiveness, we now have a building
which is 59.47% more effective than standard construction methods.

Window/Door factors.

issues, such as windows and doors have an overall heat loss
characteristic of about 17% on the total home, through infiltration,
loss/gain and conductance. Primarily by incorporating a higher quality
window, built with lower air infiltration rates. Less thermal
conductance and the inclusion of affordable low E glass with Argon gas
between two thermal panes. Existing studies and tests prove that these
types of windows and doors increase the thermal performance of such
units by about 30%. On a home, this a relatively high factor outside of
standard construction, due to the extensive use of window area in
design. We will be assuming normal use of about 15% of wall area.
Assuming these numbers to be correct, we can, in theory say that 17%
(heat loss through windows and doors in standard construction) X 30%
(increase in performance of higher quality windows) = 5.10% (savings in
heat loss for new structure). Adding this to total thermal envelope
effectiveness, we now have a building which is 64.57% more effective
than standard construction methods.

Overall factors.

Standard Ventilation factors

factors of.3 air changes per hour are a standard code requirement.
Current standards of construction achieve this through the use of
exhaust fans or air changers. The proposed standard will include a
high-efficiency, dual core system from NuTech, which operates to
effectively supply.3 air changes per hour with 87% effective heat
recovery from the exhaust air. Knowing that the mechanical ventilation
accounts for about 8.5% of the total loss to the building, we can
effectively assume the following. 8.5% (mechanical ventilation loss to
building) X 87% (effectiveness of Heat Recovery Ventilation unit used) =
7.39% (increase of performance for air exchange. Adding this to the
above effectiveness, we now have a building which is 71.96% more
effective than standard construction methods.

Radiant heating.

energy savings, in the heating climate which would have a significant
impact on the study, include Radiant Heating and high-efficiency
boilers, through a hydronic installation, which is supported by existing
studies to increase energy efficiencies about 20% overall. The base
theory to support this the effectiveness of radiant heat over convected
or conducted heat transfer to occupants of buildings. Taking this factor
into account in a ratio for normal construction and the proposed ICF
shell, 20% (representing standard construction methods effective
reduction in heat requirements) X (100% – 71.96%) = 28.04% (representing
remaining energy required by incorporating ICF envelope) = a further
5.61% in total energy savings through the use of radiant technology.
This equates to 77.57% total energy savings included in the

Thermal Mass and Heat Storage

By utilizing a compromise, the home is designed to
take advantage of off-peak heating through the use of concrete in the
structure. Effectively, the building would be utilizing the off-peak
hours to store heat energy in the thermal mass of the concrete floors,
for daytime use. This to be achieved simply through the use of
programmable thermostats, which would store heat in the concrete slabs
during the early morning hours. The overall effectiveness is currently

Geothermal Applications.

Through the use of
passive solar collectors, installed below the roof shingles, and
integral with the ICF roof assembly, on warmer winter days, solar heated
water would be used in a closed parallel loop to increase the
geothermal bed temperatures, thereby effectively storing heat for later
use in the ground. During summer months, the same parallel loop, will
utilize rain water and cooler nighttime temperatures, in an effort to
reduce ground temperatures. Over the loops, a new product, “InsulTarp”
will be installed to prevent excessive loss’s to the earth surface. This
being studied in an effort to reduce trench depths, and loop lengths
from the current standard, as well as increase efficiency of the
geothermal heat pump system. Overall effectiveness is currently

Geothermal units operate much more efficiently as
the load decreases on the unit. When any fluid material, (including air
which acts in the same way as a fluid) requires a large delta T
temperature increase, (the difference between the return fluid
temperature and the supplied fluid temperature) a geothermal heat pump
has to work very hard to pump enough heat to supply the demand, so the
efficiency of the unit drops. This called the COP or “coefficient of
performance”. Most geothermal units operate with a heating COP of about
3. What the COP represents is the comparison of the overall energy
output from the unit, over the energy input to the unit. A COP rating of
3, means that for every 1 unit of energy or “watt” we put into the
geothermal heat pump, we get 3 watts of heat out of it.

Now here is where it changes when we combine it with ultra efficient structures, hydronic in floor heating and thermal mass.

much lower heat loss of the building, means a lower Btu output per
square foot of floor area, In the case of some of our research
structures, this equates to about 10-13 BTU per square foot in areas
such as Michigan USA and Ontario Canada. Now, water entering the radiant
system of a concrete floor, needs only be 76 degrees F to maintain a 71
degree F temperature for the occupants. This means that the radiant
system only needs to supply a 6 degree temperature rise. This means that
the coupled geothermal system now only needs to combat a heat pressure
difference (for lack of a better word) of only 5 degrees F instead of a
normal 50 degree rise for non concrete, radiant systems. Less
temperature difference means more efficiency as the geothermal system
works less, to produce more. An easier way to look at is to think of
water, in which much higher volumes can be moved a small vertical
distance with the same amount of energy, as compared to a large vertical
distance. More water per energy unit can be moved, ergo a geothermal
system can move more heat per energy unit. COP ratings up to 10 can be

This means that by building with concrete, and
incorporating good design and material selections, we can extend the
efficiency of geothermal heat pump systems to gain efficiencies 2 to 3
times that of existing geothermal pump capabilities.

Strength and durability.


the entire shell, including all interior structural components consist
of steel reinforced concrete, known to be much stronger and more
resistant to active loading conditions. Typically, the components used
have proven, through existing engineering, testing and analysis to far
outperform standard construction methods when subjected to dynamic loads
suffered from earthquakes, tornadoes, projectiles etc. Due to the
decreased risk of material failure, the occupants can enjoy a safe
environment, and the structure will unlikely suffer damage in the event
of such natural or mechanical damages, which other structures are likely
to fail at.

Used independently, each system suffers from weak
connections, such as the ICF wall with a truss roof, in which the roof
becomes separated from the structure due to uplift, exposing the
interior. Although this test model does not incorporate a product line
of windows and doors, designed to withstand these types of occurrences,
they are currently being manufactured. The hope is that one day we may
be able to see the results from this type of construction, when
including windows and doors with comparatively high strength ratings.
This decision was made upon evaluation of the location in which this
home was to be built, in which it would be impractical to include.
Future studies of this technology should be incorporated in a coastal
structure in the state of Florida, for a more accurate investigation
into these types of components.

It is suggested that the ICF
walls, in existence today are about 10 times stronger than standard wood
frame construction methods, it may be safe to assume, that the roof
system may now have that same capability.


All of
the buildings structural components are of concrete and steel. It is
known that reinforced concrete is truly capable of spanning several
centuries. Although it is not known as as to the overall life expectancy
of concrete, many researchers have suggested periods in excess of 5,000
years. The secondary insulating component, Expanded Polystyrene, in a
non-degradable plastic component, in which it is expected to last
several hundred if not thousands of years, if suitably protected from
Ultra Violet breakdown. As all of the EPS foam which is in the building
is covered and protected from both this and mechanical damage, we can
safely assume that the life of the structure would be in excess of 100
years. Potentially it could be equivalent to that of the concrete, which
is expected to be several thousand.

The exterior stucco and stone
coverings are highly durable. Utilizing Acrylic stucco compounds, these
face coverings are almost impervious to degradation and breakdown,
although they may be subject to mechanical damage, as they are exposed.
However, these types of finish materials are easily repaired or
replaced, and can be maintained with much lower cost/year ratios than
wood, vinyl or aluminum. By replacing the shingles with long-lasting
Acrylic stuccos, which are also highly resistant to the effects of acid
rain or frost action, we can extend the life of the roof finishes well
beyond those of standard asphalt shingles. The stuccos longevity is
further enhanced as the ICF base construction on which it is applied is
not only an ideal substrate, however it is dimensionally stable during
temperature and humidity shifts.

Mechanical Considerations.

the strengths of the mechanical components are relatively unimportant,
durability issues such as usable life span are reflective primarily of
the wear and tear of the components. These units are expected to last a
relatively short duration, as compared to the building itself, and
actually should be replaced periodically as newer and more efficient
units or means become available. However, current technology has
expanded to include such items as Heat Recover Ventilators, Air
Cleaners, high-efficiency boiler systems, and radiant heating systems
which are both energy-efficient as well as cost-effective to install and
operate. Most importantly, they systems need to be de-mystified and
standardized sufficiently to not only operate properly, however allow
for less complicated installation methods and materials, and make the
technologies easier for the public to access.

Future Development.

initial structure will utilize components which are readily available
in the marketplace to achieve the basic structure and mechanical
considerations, through modification of such products or methods. It is
forecasted that this structure will cost 14.6% more than an equivalent
structure built to code standards for wood frame construction. Due to
the costs associated with prototype manufacturing for single project
purposes of some components, this forecasted shortfall should easily be
reduced. The projected forecast, once all manufacturing and
standardization is in place for the products and methods of
installation, is projected to be at or below the cost of wood frame code

The benefits associated with this type of building
should not be compromised as a result. We are expecting that as products
and people become more readily available, that cost competitiveness
will reduce the prototype buildings construction costs sufficiently.
Market acceptance should be relatively good, as there are no detracting
features or concerns associated with efficient buildings such as dome
structures or plastic buildings. The final product will present itself
esthetically and functionally, identical to current residential

Using Energy Efficient Lighting the Right Way

September 12, 2015

In normal incandescent bulbs, electricity is used to heat the tungsten
filament till it becomes white hot and starts glowing. In this manner, a
lot of heat is wasted. CFLs are modern fluorescent lamps that employ
gas electrifying technology to produce UV radiation, which is
subsequently converted to visible white light. As per Energy Star,
modern CFLs produce 75% less heat, use 75% less electricity and last 10
times longer than conventional bulbs. Adhering to this technology means
saving money and reducing ones ecological footprint. You will do your
bit to save the energy available in our planet.

Not all places require the same amount of light, right? So it is better
to gauge the requirements and fit the lighting system accordingly. This
will serve your purpose and ensure energy wastage doesn’t take place. A
15-WATT CFL illuminates a place as bright as a 60-WATT incandescent
bulb can.

It is wise to replace your traditional luminous bulb
at once to evade useless energy consumption. Don’t wait till the time
your present bulbs burn out. Just switch off the light and allow the
bulbs to lose heat. Unscrew and swap them with efficient CFLs. Energy
efficient lighting is the need of the hour. All business houses should
adhere to geothermal energy in WA for their office premises. Using clean
energy for businessis best.

However, for the time being try not
removing the luminous bulbs from areas that shake or vibrate a lot such
as the area near ceiling fans. Too much vibration can damage electronic
products inside CFLs. Do not use CFLs for outdoor areas, unless the box
states it to be fit for use especially, during the cold winters when
contraction of material happens at its maximum. CFLs fail to work
efficiently at low temperatures.

You need to keep fluorescent lamps switched on at least for 15 minutes
as it takes time to warm up. In case, you know you will leave before 15
minutes then it is better not switching on the lamp. You tend to reduce
the efficiency of the CFLs if you switch it on and off frequently.

If you use renewable sources to make your home warm, then you might
consider using incandescent bulbs during the winter season too.
Incandescent bulbs generate huge amount of heat and helps to keep your
home warm. Fluorescent lighting ensures use of gas or heating oil in
larger quantities, to heat your home. Florescent lamps contain varying
amounts of mercury. Throwing them in daily trash could jeopardize the
life of sanitation workers. It would also contribute to ground water and
air pollution. In case, you unintentionally break a lamp don’t forget
to contact the Environment Protection Agency’s who would guide you with
safe cleanup instructions.

Modern CFLs are ruling the roost,
undoubtedly and why it won’t be? They come with many benefits, the most
important one being reduction of energy wastage. Energy we use daily
takes significant number of years to form. Hence, we as able denizens of
the planet should try doing our bit to save energy wastage. NABERS
ratings suggest use of CFLs as one of the most efficient energy saving
technologies developed in Perth.

How To Get A Career In Energy

September 9, 2015

Energy courses are part of the residential and government way of
life in the UK, as domestic energy assessment is a must for
construction, sale or rental of residential dwellings.

One of the
best energy courses to start your understanding of energy efficiency in
the UK is called Energy Efficiency from A to Z. The energy course came
about with the UK government understanding that the energy used in the
United Kingdoms residential dwellings now represents the greatest part
of the countrys total use of energy.

Regulations in both the UK and all of Europe now demand improvement in energy standards and energy-efficiency reports.

first in a series of energy courses, this introductory one day look at
energy efficiency is designed to teach domestic energy assessor
candidates, builders, home owners, home buyers, landlords, property
managers and any other interested individuals and organizations the ins
and outs of making residential dwellings energy efficient.

in the information of this and other energy courses will be a look at
the UK legislation that regulates energy and the reasons behind the
implementation. These courses will also study energy legislation
throughout other parts of Europe. This energy course will provide a
practical look at the factors involved in making a home energy

Those who attend this energy course should, at the end
of the day, know and understand several key energy efficiency factors.
They should understand why it is important to become as energy efficient
as possible, both from the eyes of the home dweller and the government.

They should have a clear understanding of all new and
old legislation. One important law that they will fully study is the
European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings. Included as
well will be country-specific building and housing regulations that have
energy-efficient elements.

This and subsequent energy courses
will define and study fuel poverty as well as ways to combat the
problem. The course will teach home energy rating systems and the
regulations for compliance.

Those who attend this energy course
will learn as well about the various choices of heating, cooling and hot
water controls and systems. They will be trained in comparison of the
costs of each. They will be apprised of grants and other funding help
that is available for those who want to improve on their homes energy

They will learn the meaning and the value of renewable
energy, as opposed to non-renewable fossil fuel use. They will also
learn about ways to conserve on heating costs, through things like
ventilation, insulation and reduction of condensation.

This, as
with all the government-provided energy courses, is open to many.
Attendees at these energy courses include front line energy assessment
teams such as domestic energy assessors, members and staff of local
authority agencies, staff of pertinent housing associations, health and
medical care professionals, staff and managers of utility and other
energy firms, homeowners, landlords, property management staff and
potential home buyers.

The Energy Challenge

July 3, 2015


On almost a daily basis, we hear that energy
prices are going up. Media sources, the government, energy producers,
consumer and environmental groups provide a constant stream of reports,
articles, interviews, and opinions on the subject. A lot of information
from different sources, sometimes with their own agenda…who do you
trust? This paper will try to pull together reliable facts, citing the
sources and providing links to the source documents, that will answer
the following questions:

— What is the problem?

— How does it affect each of us?

— How can I avoid it, or is there a way I can benefit?

— What are my options?

— How do I do this?

— What will it cost me?

— How do I pay for it?

— When do I need to take action?


resources are used for generating electricity, for transportation, for
manufacturing, and for heating. Renewable energy sources (biomass,
hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar) provide for only 6.1% of US
energy consumption. Nonrenewable resources (fossil fuels and nuclear
power) provide for the remaining energy consumption, and within this
group, fossil fuels provide for 85%.1

Projections from the DOE’s
(Department of Energy) International Energy Outlook 2006 indicate
continued and strong growth for worldwide energy demand for the
foreseeable future. Fossil fuels will continue to provide for most of
this demand.

What is the problem?

There are a couple. First,
there’s a limited supply. At 2003 consumption levels, there are 44.6
years of oil and 66.2 years of natural gas supply remaining.2 The growth
in oil consumption, in part due to new economies in China and southeast
Asia, has taken up much of OPEC’s spare production capacity.3 Over 68%
of the world’s oil producing countries show declines.4

The second
problem is the location. A breakdown of proven world oil reserves shows
the Middle East with 65%, South and Central America with 10%, Africa
with 7%, the U.S. and former Soviet Union with 6% each, Asia Pacific
with 4%, and Europe with 2%.5 The World Coal Institute reports that
there is enough coal to last over 155 years. A breakdown shows the U.S.
with 27%, Russia with 17%, China with 13%, and India with 10% of the
world’s recoverable reserves.6 The top producers of natural gas, the
cleanest burning fossil fuel (proven reserves) are Middle East with over
40%, the former Soviet Union with over 30%, 27.5%, the , the U.S. with
3.1%, Africa with around 6%, the U.S. and Canada with 4%.7 As you can
see, most of the world’s proven reserves are located in OPEC countries,
some of which are involved in external and internal struggle, or are
thought to provide funding for terrorist activities. Venezuela, owner of
Citgo Oil Corporation, is transitioning into a socialist form of
government. Its leader, Hugo Chavez, is friendly with Iran and is a
vocal critic of the U.S. The question becomes “Is the money we spend on
energy funding terrorist and other activities, and if so, how much?”

you get beyond the supply and location of the resource, you have to get
it to market. The Middle East conflict, Iran’s increasingly militant
stance, and the ease at which terrorist organizations can move
throughout the Mideast, could potentially choke transportation through
the Red Sea and Strait of Hormuz. Transportation of LNG (liquified
natural gas) provides its own challenges due to numerous environmental
and safety concerns. Coal requires mining, either in surface “strip”
mines or underground through use of tunnels.

Finally, you need to
take a look at how you’re going to use it. Most of the natural gas and
coal is used to generate electricity, while most of the oil is used in
transportation and manufacturing. Demand for electricity is increasing
worldwide with estimates as high as 40% by 2030 in the U.S.

How it affects each of us:

are 3 major effects; higher prices, increased greenhouse gases (and
global warming), and a limited supply that will eventually run out.
There is no way to get around these given our current pattern of use.

Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2007 with
Projections to 2030 (Early Release) predicts a slow decline from 2006’s
$69 per barrel to around $50 per barrel in 2014, then rise towards $59
per barrel in 2030, based on 2005 dollars. The wellhead price for
natural gas is projected to decline to just below $5 per thousand cubic
feet in 2015 and then increase to around $6 per thousand cubic feet in
2030. A potential problem is that imports of LNG (liquified natural
gas), new production in Alaska, and new production from unconventional
sources may not offset increased demand. Coal prices will rise to around
$36.38 per ton. Electricity will follow the same trend but rise to
around $0.13 per KwH in 2030. When adjusted for inflation the cost of
these resources may be significantly higher.

When sunlight heats
the earth, some of this heat is trapped in the atmosphere, just as heat
is trapped in a greenhouse at your local florist’s. Instead of a roof,
heat is trapped by clouds, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other
pollutants, commonly called greenhouse gases. Production of these
greenhouse gases are largely due to human activity. As the concentration
of these gases increase, global warming theory says that the earth’s
temperature rises creating health hazards and loss of life, increased
demand for cooling (more energy use, causing still more greenhouse
gases), and the potential of irreversible environmental damage, such as
reduced crop production, increases in acid rain, hurricane and typhoon
strength, and melting of the polar ice caps, resulting in flooding of
low lying areas.

Although these major effects are certainly
important, no less important are other, secondary effects such as
increased global and socioeconomic instability, higher costs, and
increased pollution. The financial consequences cannot be overlooked; a
recent report commissioned by the British Government found that the cost
of combatting global warming would be around 1% of gross domestic
product per year and the cost of failing to act could be as high as 5%
every year from now throughout the future.

How can I avoid it, or is there a way I can benefit?

there is no way to avoid feeling the impact of increased energy prices,
you can take action to reduce the amount of these resources you
consume. By investing in clean energy and use of renewable resources, we
can create new jobs, cut resource consumption, decrease environmental
impact, and save money. Builders, resource suppliers, and service
organizations can achieve improved profits and lower costs while
improving the environment.

What are my options?

There are really only 3 courses of action to follow:

1.Continue on with your current use patterns, pay the going rate for utilities and other resources, and hope for the best.

2.Cut the amount of energy you consume by becoming more energy efficient.

3.Take action to increase use of recyclable, low impact materials, chemicals, and goods to decrease environmental impact.

How do I do this?

best and most established program for energy efficiency is ENERGY STAR,
a program developed by the EPA and DOE. The purpose of this program is
to help all of us save money while protecting the environment through
use of energy efficient products and services. In 2005 alone, Americans
using this program saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas
emissions equivalent to 23 million cars- and save $12 billion on utility
bills. The ENERGY STAR website, at,
provides a wealth of information for your use. If you need help beyond
this, or don’t have the resources available to dedicate time to this,
you can get help from a variety of ENERGY STAR Service and Product
Providers. There’s a link at the website that will take you to a list of
these organizations.

As for decreasing your environmental impact,
there are a variety of environmental organizations that provide
information and how-to assistance. The US Green Building Council,
established in 1997, is an association of leaders from the building
industry that work together to “promote buildings that are
environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and
work.”10 Their LEED (Leadership in Environmentally Efficient Design)
program is the benchmark for high performance buildings. There are
certification programs for both new and existing buildings. For more
information, please visit their website.

As consumers of products
and services, you can reduce environmental impact by using biodegradable
and recyclable materials and employing service providers and other
companies that use these products. Even such things as janitorial
services can benefit by using these materials and processes. Look for
products that are certified to be recyclable, biodegradable, and have
little or no impact on building indoor air quality.

What will it cost me?

cost of upgrading to an energy efficient and low environmental impact
depends largely on what you decide to do. Many actions you can take have
no cost, or are competitive with your current expenses. The ENERGY STAR
program provides steps that will pay for themselves over time through
energy savings, and the results are impressive:

— Improvements in
energy performance and employee comfort can increase income due to
improved productivity, perhaps as much as 10 times as high as the energy
cost savings produced by performing the upgrade.

— Energy
efficiency improvements provide savings for their entire product life,
perhaps up to 20 years, well past the point where the savings have paid
for the initial improvement.

— Reducing energy use 30% in a
commercial office building is equivalent to increasing net operating
income and building asset value by 5% and lowers operating costs by
$25,000 per year for every 50,000 square feet of typical office space.

Ask yourself, “How much new equipment could you buy from the dollars saved by installing energy efficient equipment now?”

How do I pay for it?

ENERGY STAR program uses future cost savings to pay for energy
efficiency upgrades today, without competing with other capital projects
for funding.

If you do the project, you pay for itself through
energy savings – and – if you don’t do the project, you pay for it just
the same through continued high energy costs.

But how is this
possible? Analysis takes your cost of capital (rate at which you can
borrow money), the square footage of your facilities, energy costs,
your best estimate of % potential savings, term of the loan, and time
value of money to provide an estimate of how much equipment can be
bought without increasing your existing capital or operating budgets.
The upgrade pays for itself and associated loan costs through future
cost savings and provides the simple payback period. For an example of
this, please refer to my article Improving Energy Efficiency Improves
Bottom Line available online at Ezine Articles (
or from my company website at

for decreasing your environmental impact, many new
environmentally-friendly products are already cost competitive, and you
can find detailed information at a variety of websites.

When do I need to take action?

in taking action will only increase your operating costs, so taking
action sooner rather than later is certainly the better choice. There is
another reason to take action now; in August 2005, President Bush
signed the 2005 Energy Policy Act into law. This measure provides for
tax deductions for upgrades to commercial buildings that meet certain
performance criteria. A copy of the IRS notice can be found on the BOMA
International Web site at

Time is running out; these deductions go away on December 31,2007 although Congress may extend them during their next session.

But why wait? For all the right reasons, the time is now to improve your energy efficiency and help improve the environment.