A truly successful building--one that is loved and stands the test of time--transcends efficiency. It’s healthy, comfortable and filled with natural light; it feels good and improves people’s well-being. It has thoughtfully and well-designed spaces that are smart and functional. It considers and connects to the community.
I own a small condominium that was built in the 1950’s and has zero insulation and an entire wall of louvered single-pane windows. It’s also surrounded by leafy live oaks, filled with beautiful light and just a mile walk from my office. It’s a happy place. If I had to choose between my home and something new and energy-efficient, but that's in a dead-end subdivision miles from a market, I would stay right here.
Efficiency is vital, but without these other intangible and "beyond the lot line" elements a building will not endure. And when focusing only on the concept of efficiency, it's easy to get blinded by isolated components and neglect the ultimate goal of optimizing the entire system--from the building to the site, community and beyond. Elements of a building are only as efficient as the larger systems they are part of.
Beyond Efficiency exists to help architects and developers integrate technical expertise, analytical tools, and common-sense best practices into their mixed-use, community and residential projects--while being pragmatic and keeping sense of the big picture. Learn more about us and how we can help you.
High Performance Details for California Climates: Lessons Learned at 2012 ACI California Home Performance Conference!
Passive House advocates Katy Hollbacher, Bronwyn Barry and Mary James are delivering this presentation at the upcoming 2012 ACI California Home Performance Conference June 5-6 in Sacramento. This session is Tuesday, June 5 from 1:30-3:00 p.m.. Don't miss out!
Often there is a large discrepancy between the targeted energy efficiency of a retrofit or newly built home and its actual performance. The Passive House building energy standard was developed more than two decades ago to drastically reduce energy use in buildings. What are the lessons to be learned from this wealth of experience and research, and how are these lessons being applied to California climates? Drawing from their experiences with Passive House techniques and construction approaches, the presenters will discuss: cost-effective wall assemblies that work; window selection and installation details; HVAC pitfalls to avoid; and the importance of monitoring and retrocommissioning.
By attending this session, participants will:
- Compare and contrast relative cost, constructability, and performance of various high-R-value wall assemblies
- Discuss pros and cons of common HVAC approaches in Passive House projects
- Describe why post-construction monitoring is essential to ensuring high-performance designs meet expectations
EAH Housing and the City of Turlock officially broke ground on Avena Bella, an 80 unit affordable housing property, on March 28. It is seeking both LEED Homes (first in Stanislaus County) and GreenPoint Rated certifications and includes both tried-and-true and innovative green building measures including:
- Energy: dense-pack cellulose insulation, insulated headers, Quality Insulation Installation (QII) credit, Cool Roof, radiant barrier, roof overhangs, window awnings, heat pump water heaters, high-efficiency appliances, 100% high-efficacy lighting
- Health/air quality: low-emitting materials, continuous filtered ventilation with heat recovery ventilators (HRVs, especially important given project location on busy Highway 99)
- Resources: high waste diversion goals, rain screen stucco facade, cellulose insulation, recycled-content carpet
- Water: very low-flow fixtures, native and drought-tolerant landscaping, zero storm water civil design
- Community/beauty: community gardens, rainwater gardens, attractive buildings and site layout
Beyond Efficiency is the green building consultant for Avena Bella.
SFIA Fall 2011 Class: Tuesdays, 6:30-7:45 p.m.
FIRST CLASS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Guests are welcome for first class. $350 credit, $200 noncredit
- Passive House intro: What makes a Passive House; what you need to know and expect if you embark on a Passive House project
- Energy balance: Heat losses - heat gains = heat demand; building orientation & building shape; heat transfer mechanisms & how they apply to buildings
- Windows: Key terminology; U.S. vs European window specifications; U-value vs. SHGC tradeoffs; window weak points (not the glass!) & how to mitigate
- Building assemblies: Insulation, thermal bridging, & constructability
- Thermal mass: When does thermal mass matter? Getting over myths & making sense of a complicated topic.
- Modeling strategies: How to approach energy modeling in a strategic way to minimize effort and mistakes.
This course qualifies for AIA and USGBC CEUs.
Beyond Efficiency and Sunlight Design at Booth #9
Come visit us, Jackson’s high-performance design and consulting collaborative, this Friday and Saturday at Snow King. We offer:
- Smart Growth & community design
- Passive House, passive solar & daylighting design
- Energy modeling & optimization studies
- Cost-benefit analyses
- Structural & mechanical engineering
- Building durability review & detailing
- Customized technical training for design teams.
We have the expertise to both advise on your new high-performance projects as well as troubleshoot your existing building’s problems. Our mission is to help you create healthy, highly efficient, sensible, timeless buildings by applying science, creativity and common sense to design and engineering challenges.
The guide provides a systematic approach for applying Advanced Framing measures to your light-frame wood buildings; it also discusses how to set overall energy performance goals for your project, calculate framing factors, and estimate average assembly R-values.
Download the free 7-page PDF here (right-click to download).
I welcome any feedback or suggestions on improving this guide. Happy Framing!
Image: Insulated header, Cottle Zero Energy Home (Building America project, photo by K. Hollbacher)
Green News Feed
- Passive, yet powerful houses - Chicago Tribune
- Passive, yet powerful houses - Chicago Tribune
- Citi Foundation Grant Advances CEDC's Piru Affordable Housing Development - Ventura County Star
- Passive Homes: The Way of the Future - The Epoch Times
- Energy Upgrades for Beginners
- Earth Day Dawns On Beach 96th Street - Wave of Long Island (subscription)
- Colonial Home Meets Modern - Yucatan Living