Maximizing Effectiveness in Sustainable Building Projects

The following piece was written by HeatSpring Instructor Ann V. Edminster, M.Arch., LEED AP. Ann will be teaching HeatSpring’s Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) course in October. 

While working on zero energy homes, a highly efficient, airtight building enclosure is a must and moisture management is absolutely critical.
The value of integrated design and delivery, and the art of intensive collaboration cannot […]

[Photos] How to Frame a Super Insulated Home

There has been a lot of hoop-la and craziness around passive homes, net zero energy homes, and super energy efficient homes. I’ve been amazed at how easy it can actually be. My friend is building a house that will burn less then a cord of wood per winter. His building cost? Around $100 to $110 per square foot. Yes, he did do a lot of the work himself. However, if a contractor would do it, the price would still be on par with normal construction.

If you need to learn more about designing a zero net energy home, high performance building and HVAC technologies and principles, we’ve created an amazing free class for you. Our Free Course: High Performance Building and HVAC is the most in-depth, best free course on high performance buildings and HVAC systems available on the internet. You’ll learn from all of the smartest industry experts. The class has 20+ of video lesson, plenty of reading assignments and a number of free tools. It will drastically decrease your learning curve on these subjects. Topics include, residential building enclosures and ventilation, zero net energy homes, passive house design principles, biomass heating, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal. Click here to sign up for High Performance Building and HVAC. 

Before we talk about building a super insulated home, first you need to understand how to design a super efficient shell. The below 26 minute free video lesson is from Marc Rosenbaum’s 10 week, “Zero Net Energy Design” class, where students learn how to design a zero net energy home in 10 weeks.

Here’s how he did it.

1 – Keep the house small. Less resources, cheaper, and less energy use. At 1600 square feet the house will use about a half of cord of wood be winter. We’re burning mainly maple which is 20 million BTUs per cord. Thus, he’ll burn 10 million BTUs per winter. This averages around 55,000 BTUs per day. Don’t believe me, this house will use the tiniest wood stove he could find.