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ENERGY SAVINGS in buildings
ACOUSTICAL SEALANT CHOICES
AIR CONDITIONING & HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR FILTER EFFECTIVENESS
AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS
AIR FILTERS, OPTIMUM INDOOR
AIR FILTERS, SOURCES FOR
AIR FILTERING STRATEGIES
AIR FILTERING CONTINUOUS FAN OPERATION
AIR FLOW MEASUREMENT CFM
AIR HANDLER / BLOWER UNITS
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR LEAK MINIMIZATION
AIR LEAK SEALING PROCEDURE
AIR SEALING STRATEGIES
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
BASEMENT CEILING VAPOR BARRIER
BASEMENT LEAKS, INSPECT FOR
BIOGAS PRODUCTION & USE
BLOWER DOORS & AIR INFILTRATION
BLOWER FAN CONTINUOUS OPERATION
BLOWER FAN OPERATION & TESTING
BRICK LINED WALLS
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
COMBUSTION AIR for TIGHT buildings
DEFINITION of Heating & Cooling Terms
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
ELECTRIC POWER, PHOTOVOLTAIC
ENERGY SAVINGS in buildings
FIREPLACES & HEARTHS
FLAT ROOF MOISTURE & CONDENSATION
FLOOR CHOICES OVER CONCRETE SLABS
FLOOR RADIANT HEAT Mistakes to Avoid
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
FRAMING DETAILS for BETTER INSULATION
FRAMING DETAILS for DOUBLE WALL HOUSES
FRAMING METAL STUD PERFORMANCE
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
GEOTHERMAL HEATING SYSTEMS
GREEN BUILDING CODES
GREENHOUSE DESIGN for SOLAR HEATING
GREENHOUSE / SUNSPACE GLARE
HEAT LOSS RATE CALCULATIONS
HEAT LOSS DETECTION TOOLS
HEAT LOSS INDICATORS
HEAT LOSS PREVENTION PRIORITIES
HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION
HEATING OIL USAGE RATE
HEATING COST FUEL & BTU Cost Table
HOUSEWRAP AIR & VAPOR BARRIERS
HOUSEWRAP INSTALLATION DETAILS
HOUSEWRAP at SILLS, SOLES, TOP PLATES
HOT ROOF DESIGNS: Un-Vented Roof Solutions
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ICE DAM PREVENTION
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
Insulation Air & Heat Leaks
INSULATION FACT SHEET- DOE
INSULATION for GREENHOUSE or SOLARIUM
INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LEED Building Designation & IAQ
LOG HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCY
LOG HOME WALL INSULATION VALUES
MOBILE HOME INSPECTIONS
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
RADIANT HEAT Floor Mistakes to Avoid
RADIANT HEAT TEMPERATURES
RADIANT SLAB FLOORING CHOICES
RADIANT SLAB TUBING & FLUID CHOICES
ROOF VENTILATION SPECIFICATIONS
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
THERMOSTATS, HEATING / COOLING
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS
WIND TURBINES & LIGHTNING
WIND WASHING INSULATION At EAVES
WINDOWS & DOORS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
This article series discusses finding and curing air leaks and heat losses in buildings, here focusing on the bottom line value of energy savings retrofits - where to spend your weatherization and insulation money. This detailed article accompanies a building weatherization and energy-savings company through a detailed building inspection for heat loss points and air leaks. Readers should also see HEAT LOSS in BUILDINGS, see HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION, and see HEAT LOSS INDICATORS. And see ENERGY SAVINGS RETROFIT OPTIONS for energy savings products and tops like lightweight concrete insulation, fixing window leaks, and more.
Our page top photo shows the risk of an insulation blow-in retrofit by an amateur. The heating cost reduction from adding cellulose to the attic floor may be offset by the installer's mistake of knocking down and failing to replace improperly-installed horizontal fiberglass batts on the attic side of a wall between the attic and heated space. The net gain of this incomplete insulation retrofit may have been small. But properly performed, an energy retrofit that determines the main heat loss points in a building (or un-wanted heat gain during the cooling season) can pay for itself very quickly.
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As we introduced above, in this article the author, Steven Bliss, accompanies a building weatherization and energy-savings company through a detailed building inspection for heat loss points, convective loops, and air leaks. The author accompanies Princeton Energy Partners as they use thermal imaging, smoke guns, and visual inspection to pinpoint building air leaks, heat loss points, air infiltration and air exfiltration on a building. The importance of setting priorities for sealing these points of energy wasted is emphasized and discussed, and sketches as well as photographs of common points of building heat loss, or unwanted heat gain, and air leaks are provided.
The text below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article, "House Doctors with Better Medicine, Princeton Energy Partners use the latest diagnostic tools to comb a house for the major causes of heat loss. Their findings are often astonishing. Their strong prescriptions bring results', Steven Bliss, (see links just above) from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.
Energy retrofitting reduces drafts and cold spots and, according to PEP, produces some unanticipated benefits such as fewer rodent problems and fewer frozen pipes. Still, to sell the service to big buyers - the developers, housing authorities, and government agencies - it has to show an attractive return on investment. Says Gadsby referring to conventional weathersealing treatments, "To do a job for $1200. that's going to save $50. a year is just not the way to do business."
In some cases the savings have been spectacular. For example in a 1982 retrofit, PEP spent three months retrofitting the 450-unit Glenhardie Condominium Comlex near Valley Forge, PA, for $62,000.
The 20-building development already had its insulation and heating system upgraded when it went condo four years earlier. After three months of house-doctoring, consisting solely of attic work, the annual heating bill was reduced from2093 to 1329 therms of natural gas, resulting in a first-year savings of $40,600, not including the $9,300. tax credit.
More typical was a proposal to the Baltimore Housing Authority, in which PEP agreed to treat apartments for $550. each while they were undergoing rehab. PEP's work was to be staged over two to three visits.
With annual heating bills in that housing stock running $1200 to $1300 (1984 costs), the simple payback would be under three years. In terms of air infiltration alone, said Gadsby, recently-built townhouses generally measure in at about 10 to 15 ach (1984 data) at 50 Pascals before house-doctoring and are sealed down to about 6 ach after.
Costs for weatherizing are held down by providing the service in a one-day blitz, or in new construction in a series of quick hits. In general, a weatherization company can do more effective work for less money during construction or rehab than with retrofitting, since the problems are more visible and accessible. The cost to the homeowner was estimated to be one half to two-thirds what it would cost to retrofit after construction, and you're probably going to save an extra 5 to 10 percent on energy costs as well.
See HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION for additional details about calculating building heat losses.
Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.
Original article in PDF form:
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