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Aect Summaries

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Submitted By maxaxis12
Words 873
Pages 4
AECT 350
Passivhaus on a Budget The article is about Jason and Stephanie Specht’s first time having a house built for them. They wanted a builder who would satisfy them with the quality of the construction, and wound not charge too much to do so. The Specht’s chose the company Structures Design/Build to be their builders for their house. While meeting with their consultant for the first time, the consultant, Adam Cohen, asked the couple if they had any interest in Passiyhaus. The Specht’s did not know what Passiyhaus was and assumed that energy efficiency was too expensive for them. Cohen believed that if they were to create an optimized Passiyhaus design, that they could achieve the cost parity with a traditional construction. He argued that by constructing a Passiyhaus, it would not be any more expensive than constructing a house that would meet the existing energy codes. The articile states that “it is the idea that a builder can leverage their knowledge and experience to produce a Passiyhaus at a price equal to standard construction, if the energy costs are included in the calculation.” It also states that the additional costs of the Passiyhaus construction ends up paying for itself through the savings in the monthly utility bill. The Spechts’ agreed on the idea of designing a Passiyhaus. As the building process began, The Specht’s continued with their research on the Passiyhaus design. They found that the Passiyhaus projects often used new materials and techniques. Jason Specht talked to a loan officer at a local bank, and the building plans were appraised at a value that ended up being equal to the construction contract price. This confirmed that energy-efficient construction could also be cost-competitive.

Why I Hate, Hate, Hate Skylights The author explains in this article how skylights have a low R-value, provide cold surfaces for condensation, interfere with roof venting, and how they contribute to ice dams. The author claims that he has rarely seen a skylight that isn’t causing a problem, or is about to cause one. Skylights are in the same category as recessed lights and cathedral ceilings. The homeowners love them, but the energy pros hate them. The R-value of a skylight is only a fraction of the R-value of a roof. And improving a skylight is very difficult to do. Skylights create a rectangular hole in the insulation when they are being installed in a sloped ceiling. Bathrooms are a common location for skylights. Bathroom walls are usually covered with cabinets, tiles, toilets, and other bathroom related things, so having an access way for sunlight to come in that doesn’t include the wall is commonly sought after. Designers then make the mistake of constructing a skylight for the bathroom. They end up cutting a hole through the thermal envelope, which is in an ultra-high humidity environment. On cold days, the skylight interior will dip below the dew point, which will condense all the 100% relative humidity shower steam. This ends up causing cracks due to all of the condensation and moisture problems. The ventilation of roofs can become a huge problem due to skylights being in the way. Skylights disrupt clear air flow from the soffit to the roof peak, and stop that air flow below the bottom edge of the roof. Skylights allow warm air near the roof deck that melts the snow that could potentially be on top of the roof. Skylights have the potential to cause ice dams, which will cause moisture damage in the surrounding drywall.

Deciding on a Water Heater Water heating becomes a larger share of the overall energy consumption of homes as people build more energy-efficient houses. Annual energy use for water heating is now exceeding space heating in some of the super-efficient energy houses. Energy experts are recommending electric-water heating, rather than the solar thermal, and using PV modules to generate the electricity. This makes it so that it is solar water heating, but not direct. PV systems do not have any moving parts that will wear out or that will require maintenance. The PV system freezing is not a concern, and the pressure build-up from stagnation in the full sun cannot occur. This makes PV systems very attractive from a long-term durability standpoint. The GeoSpring heat-pump water heaters are currently only available in a 50-gallon size. Water heaters that operate in heat pump mode take a longer time to heat the water, so having a larger tank makes sense. Stiebel Eltron’s 80-gallon Accelera holds the highest performance of any heat-pump water heater on the market, but the GeoSpring heater costs a third of the price as the Stiebel Eltron’s heater. And the GeoSpring heater is also quieter. Heat-pump water heaters cool off the space where they are located, which can also be depended on the season. Having the knowledge of heat-pump water heaters is essential because they will become the standard for larger electric water heaters in the near future.

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