From $9.95


Statistics

Users
Total: 31,748
Visited Last 30 days: 98
Forum Messages
Total: 20,858
Last 30 days: 11
Forum Evaluations
Total: 24,158
Last 30 days: 0
Journal Entries
Total: 5,331
Last 30 days: 1
Connections
Total: 15,212
Last 30 days: 9
Downloads
Total: 84,115

Journals

Name
The-Last-Rodeo Angel Fire, NM
25,447 Visits | 271 Posts | 435 Pix | 4 Videos
Tanglewood Colorado Springs, CO
115,967 Visits | 971 Posts | 2,515 Pix | 42 Videos
E2custom
179 Visits | 4 Posts | 10 Pix | 0 Videos
draingrepairsnj
215 Visits | 1 Posts | 1 Pix | 0 Videos
1860s-Texas-rehabnew... Boerne, TX
49,441 Visits | 44 Posts | 193 Pix | 0 Videos
medicareinsurance
258 Visits | 1 Posts | 1 Pix | 0 Videos
Whiteheads-Marsh-Dom
229 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Tracispermits Patchogue, AL
251 Visits | 1 Posts | 1 Pix | 0 Videos
MesaBarnHouse Mesa, AZ
1,897 Visits | 34 Posts | 52 Pix | 0 Videos
Vintage-Oaks-Cabin New Braunfels, TX
631 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Z-Oen Dayton, OH
398 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
washougalhome Washougal, WA
1,156 Visits | 22 Posts | 124 Pix | 0 Videos
MadeByMelissaPdByChr... Berea, KY
433 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Geosynthetic-Systems
454 Visits | 1 Posts | 1 Pix | 0 Videos
vanphuccity Ho Chi Minh, AL
460 Visits | 2 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
MCKAY-ICF-BUILD Oconomowoc, WI
477 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Car-Rentals-in-Udaip... Delhi, AL
487 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Art-Camacho New Braunfels, TX
1,247 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Quijada-project-Lake... Lake Havasu City, AZ
534 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
Port-Townsend-Build Sherman Oaks, CA
453 Visits | 1 Posts | 0 Pix | 0 Videos
See all journals...

Current Top-Rated Posters

RatingPosts
Sally0.001

I can't believe that I actually won! This forum has been so helpful during the planning phases. We are about two weeks from moving in and we can't be happier! Thanks again for all of the support and guidance that the website has given us!
Heather L.

Try one of our new Construction Bargain Strategies for free. Coupon code: CBS. One strategy could save you $1,000 or $10,000 or maybe $50,000 when you build or remodel.
25,000 pages of free owner-builder resources.  We accept no ads.

Energy


Filter by date: and/or Keyword



Reply... Subscribe to this topic

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/24/2005


Efficiency, reduction, solar, hydrogen. If it fits discuss it.

Reply...


Jessica's Forum Posts: 24

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Jessica in Midlothian, TX on 8/27/2005


So glad you started this forum. I am wanting to put solar panels on our house that we are building, to reduce energy prices. What I have found is that it will be about $10K for one solar panel on a house that uses about 1,400-1,600 kW. I also read that the government has solar panels to give away, but I cannot find any more info on that. Does anyone else have info to help out?

Jessica 

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/28/2005


Here is the answer a buddy of mine, who is very involved in solar, supplied as the answer to your question.

"...I can lend some insight on this question. First, our government does not have solar panels to give away. Our government has merely signed a bill that will allow end users (homeowners) to recoup some of their initial investment in the solar panels. Currently this bill has been handed over to the IRS, who will determine how the tax credit will be applied to the homeowner. Realistically, you might be able to get the rebate in your 2005 filing with the IRS. This rebate allows you to recoup $2,000 after install of your solar array.

 
Along with this, the homeowner must seriously start to consider where and how they are going to obtain the panels themselves. There is currently a shortage of the silicon that is used in solar panels. Manufacturers are not able to keep up with the demand. Currently BP Solar and Mitsubishi Solar are completely sold out of panels until January. Your order must be placed soon to get the panels by the beginning of the year.  
 
Lastly, typically a kilowatt of solar panel power is around $6K-$8K (with batteries, inverters, etc.). Depending on your location in the U.S., your home will consume 18-30 kW of power. Industry averages are at $30,000-$40,0000 to power a home and generate 75%-90% of the home's power needs. This value is affected by the appliances that are used in the home. Less efficient appliances = more electricity needed. 
 
I hope that this helps."
 
Waite Ave
Greenovative Solutions

Reply...


Arnold's Forum Posts: 50
Journal Entries: 73
Interview Answers: 32

Private Message

My Construction Website


Image from Arnold's blog

Login to Vote

By Arnold in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/31/2005


Dale,

I was wandering around SIPWEB.com today and found this little gem about the government actually rewarding people for efficient homes!

Basically, hidden in the last energy bill was a $2,000 tax credit (that's $2,000 in your pocket) for building a home that's 50% more efficient than normal (as defined by RESFEN).

Here's some more details:

New Homes
This provision offers home builders a tax credit of $2,000 for homes that cut energy use for heating and cooling only (no hot water) by 50% compared to the national model code/the 2004 IECC Supplement (assuming a SEER-13 air conditioner). Producers of manufactured homes can also choose to qualify for a tax credit of $1,000 for homes that save 30%.

Eligible homes must demonstrate savings using software that has been approved by DOE and builders must demonstrate compliance by the use of third-party inspectors certified according to DOE rules. While no interim rules have been promulgated to meet these requirements, similar standards exist in Florida and elsewhere under the auspices of Florida's Building Energy Rating System and under the national standards of the national Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

The incentives apply to homes placed in service during 2006-2007, although extenders increasing the eligibility through 2009 are a possibility.

**********************************************
Looks like I chose the right time to build my ICF/SIP monstrosity.

AG


Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/31/2005


Something everyone should take note of is that SEER-13 is going to become the base HVAC sold in the very near future. If I remember correctly in January SEER-10 will no longer be manufactured. Not sure how long it will take to clear the inventory.

Reply...


Chris's Forum Posts: 2

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Chris in CA on 9/12/2005


I have been a building contractor since 1986 and I have built five homes for myself during that time.

I have been studying the European [mostly Austrian and German] methods of building zero energy homes. This is called a passive house.

Photos: Euro window detail and ICF wall.


Reply...


Ben's Forum Posts: 12
Journal Entries: 17
Interview Answers: 36

Private Message


Image from Ben's blog

Login to Vote

By Ben in Galloway Township, NJ on 11/4/2005


The other replies I saw are correct; it is not likely that the government is giving away solar panels, but there are state rebates and incentives that go beyond a small tax break. My main reason to start to venture out and consider owner-building is because of my desire to build a zero-energy home.

Take a look at:

dsireusa.org/library/includes/incentive2

For an example of rebates available in Texas. See also:

infinitepower.org/incentives

for more information about what Texas State may be able to do for you.

Ben

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 11/4/2005


Some of the utility companies offer substantial rebates.

I believe that SRP in AZ offers $1,000/kW up to 3 kW.

Many electric companies offer "green watt" programs. By driving up demand, the cost of solar will continue to decline as more manufacturing comes on line. Currently supply can't keep up with demand.

Reply...


Netie's Forum Posts: 84
Interview Answers: 63

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Netie in Salt Lake City, UT on 11/7/2005


Is that '50% more efficient' what is commonly called an Energy Star Home? I'm not really up to date on this subject. Now's as good a time as ever.

We have a small PV array on 12v marine batteries at the family cabin. It's so easy to maintain, but the fixtures (RV/car) are so %## expensive.  

In a 5-8 years we'll be able to build our 'dream home' w/passive heating, PV w/tie-in's, geothermal cooling, solar hot water, etc... I'm still trying to talk hubby into straw bale -- but in earthquake country, he's not interested in anything other than timberframe.

Our local utility in Salt Lake offers credit and cash back programs -- I'd rather deal with them for credits than the KGB -- oops, I mean the IRS.


Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 11/8/2005


Energy Star is a certified rating thru the EPA. One can build to that standard without the certification.

Reply...


Claudia's Forum Posts: 67

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Claudia in Glendale, AZ on 1/2/2006


I will be building in an area where it will be costly to incorporate electricity. I am looking forward to using solar power, but I don't even know where to start. Since we are just learning about this, my husband is not supportive, because he believes we need electricity to power a home with an A/C. The home is 1,700 sq ft livable. Any suggestions or ideas?
Reply...

2006, 2009, 2010 Merit Award Winner
Contributing Editor

Michael's Forum Posts: 181
Interview Answers: 51

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 1/2/2006


A house-sized solar system that consists of solar panels, batteries, a battery charger, AC inverter and a special panel probably costs in the range of $20K to $50K. A system like this would be big enough to run an evaporative cooler, but not an AC system. A backup generator would be needed to do that. The generator could be fueled by diesel or propane. If you go this route you will want to build a generator shed as far from the house as possible to minimize noise. You will need a high quality continuous-duty generator. Maybe Onan would be a good brand to look at for diesel, and Honda for propane.

The intent of the solar system is to minimize/eliminate generator run time for your ordinary loads. Needless to say, the ordinary loads should be made as small as possible by doing all cooking, refrigeration, and heating with gas. Use compact fluorescent lamps. Run small always-on loads like clocks directly from the DC system.

Your home design can also reduce generator run time. Shade all windows with overhangs, use the best insulating quality windows and doors you can find. Consider building something with a high thermal mass like a masonry block, ICF or adobe structure. Avoid south facing windows. When designing your HVAC system, use a program like HVAC calc and consider all of the energy-saving features you are building in. Size the system right and avoid oversizing it like all the HVAC contractors tend to do. This will allow you to keep your generator relatively small. Trane makes a SEER 19 compressor now. Expensive, but maybe worth it, when electric power will be at a premium.   

The good news if you elect to go this route is that there are some tax credits out there.

There's the Arizona State $1,000 Tax credit. Also check the SRP and APS websites for the credits they offer.

For loads as big as a house, I would go for the utility line extension if the costs are at all reasonable, personally. I have had good luck with solar in remote environments for small loads such as security cameras, telemetry, sensors, and weather stations.

cc.state.az.us

americanpv.com

Also Google "affordable solar."

Reply...


Chris's Forum Posts: 2

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Chris in CA on 1/2/2006


I would also recommend an ERV system. This allows you to keep your house tightly shut, but will provide fresh air without losing energy; air leakage is a major source of energy loss; but if you build your home too airtight with the ICF walls and high quality windows and doors, you may end up with a stale air problem. Look at the website for UltimateAir - they have some good info on this. The ERV units are standard on the European passive house designs.

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/17/2006


You may want to consider  an alternative to "normal" a/c. And I'm not referring to our beloved swamp coolers. There is a company in Tempe that makes an alternative system that uses chilled water. Very efficient and can run on solar. Company is Alter-Air. Main issue from my perspective is that you have to install a water filtration system or there is a potential of increased maintenance. Also helps control humidity and air quality.

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/17/2006


When installing an ERV, remember a couple of points:
1.) Size at 10% of HVAC system output (1,500 cfm HVAC = 150 cfm ERV.)
2.) Use separate ducts.
3.) Use in place of bathroom and laundry exhaust fans.
4.) Dump fresh air in locations that are usually stale (closets).

Benefits of an ERV: better air quality, less allergens, not wasting energy.

Reply...


Arnold's Forum Posts: 50
Journal Entries: 73
Interview Answers: 32

Private Message

My Construction Website


Image from Arnold's blog

Login to Vote

By Arnold in Colorado Springs, CO on 1/17/2006


Dale,

I'm really interested in doing some of these things on a plan I'm going to submit within the next month or so.

Do you have the code references on replacing the bathroom and laundry exhaust fans (or know where to get them)? Has anyone out there done this?

I'll be using radiant (no ducting) so how will I size that, and how many points are sufficient for intake/exhaust?

Thanks,

AG

Reply...

2004, 2005, 2006 Merit Award Winner

John's Forum Posts: 278
Interview Answers: 69

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By John in Erie, CO on 1/17/2006


Arnold,

Your local code will dictate sizing - they pretty much don't care about HRV, but bath fans are sized per some odd formulas in IRC. If you are going to use the HRV in place of bath fans, you'll need to demonstrate that it will pull adequate CFM from each bathroom - this can be tough depending on your inspectors; mine didn't hardly care, to the point of not even looking at the nameplates on the fans I did have.

As far as overall HRV exhaust/entry, there are some rules of thumb in terms of whole house air exchanges per unit time. A lot of the HRV sales sites will have these guidelines. Typically, if I recall correctly, some of the biggest HRV's will only do a 3,500 sf x 9' high house by themselves, implying that you need more than one for larger houses. These calculations use entire house volume, so your basement often doubles your volume.

I elected to undersize it, and see how things went. Adding the expense of a second HRV seemed overkill.

What we have found in practice, is that even with super-tight construction, we end up getting good air exchanges pretty much just letting the dog in and out every few hours. The HRV is on a periodic timer, but the overall run time is pretty low.

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/17/2006


The 2003 IRC, chapter 15 (M1506) and chapter 16 discuss ductwork requirements. Kitchens require min 25 cfm continuous and toilet rooms (bathrooms) 20 cfm. Rules are higher for intermittent fan use.

I prefer when using an H/ERV to have it run all the time, because your HVAC doesn't.

Dogs and children muck up any equation about energy efficiency and fresh air requirements. But every time that door is open you are admitting unfiltered air containing dust, pollen and whatever else is in your yard and the neighbors'.

Having been involved in several projects where full-time ERV was used, I would say that air quality is improved at minimal expense.

For projects with radiant heating, it makes a huge difference over running ceiling fans for circulation. A properly sized ERV will provide fresh air and necessary air movement to increase comfort.

Remember that "comfort" is a combination of fresh air, air quality, humidity control and circulation. At the correct temperature. AND it's very subjective.

Reply...

2006, 2010 Merit Award Winner

David's Forum Posts: 227
Journal Entries: 11

Private Message

My Construction Website


David's Selected Image

Login to Vote

By David in Ocoee, FL on 2/6/2006


I just wanted to correct a post concerning "thermal mass". Thermal mass favors homes in regions where the daytime temperatures and nighttime temperature vary greatly. ICF (insulated concrete forms) are classified as having thermal mass. You definitely would not want to build a house with a high thermal mass in an area where it is hot day and night or where it is cold day and night, as the exterior walls would pick up heat (or cold) and dissipate that same heat or cold into the house. What you would need for a climate whose temperature does not vary greatly within the same 24-hour period is a wall with a high R-value, not high thermal mass. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) with EPS cores have an effective R-value of 4.5 per inch.
Reply...

2006, 2010 Merit Award Winner

David's Forum Posts: 227
Journal Entries: 11

Private Message

My Construction Website


David's Selected Image

Login to Vote

By David in Ocoee, FL on 2/6/2006


Lots of names of equipment being thrown around here. ERV. HRV. SEER. etc. 

Let me splain. ERV (energy recovery ventilator) is a unit that brings fresh air into the house and is used in hot climates. HRV (Heat recover ventilator) is the same thing, but designed for cold climates. If your home is not Energy Star compliant, chances are that you will be wasting your money on either one of these. On existing homes, a "blower door test" should be done first to see how airtight the home truly is. You (or your HARV contractor) will then be in a better position to decide whether or not an ERV or an HRV is needed. If you are building a house where the a/c system is located within the conditioned air space, you will most definitely need an ERV or HRV. 

Hope this helps.

David


Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/7/2006


David... thanks for your comments. To add to your "thermal mass" concept, it can be enhanced and used anywhere. But only by incorporating an insulative barrier that eliminates the outside environment. Thermal mass will help moderate the interior temperatures IF it doesn't have to fight the ambient temp outside. Because temps go up and down with the sun (usually) there is some room for moving heat or cold from one side of the barrier to the other and letting the thermal mass slow relative temp swings.

Another issue is that ICF walls are insulated on each side. So how well the thermal mass really works depends on the ICF design, and every one is different.

Reply...

2006, 2010 Merit Award Winner

David's Forum Posts: 227
Journal Entries: 11

Private Message

My Construction Website


David's Selected Image

Login to Vote

By David in Ocoee, FL on 2/9/2006


Dale,

If the thermal mass is effectively isolated from ambient temperature swings via EPS foam, would that not render the thermal mass useless? This is not my area of expertise, but it does not make sense on the face of it. My understanding is that the thermal mass should average temperatures if there is enough mass. For example, if average daytime temps are 100 and nighttime temps are 50, then theoretically the thermal mass should keep indoor temps somewhere around 75, provided there is enough thermal mass.

What I do agree with is that fact that ICF varies greatly in R-value from one manufacturer to the other. In Florida, we mostly deal with high humidity and hot temps nearly year round. My house will have R-30 walls and R-38 roof and a very tight envelope. That is an effective R-value, not a static R-value. There is a big difference, because static R-values do not take into account breaks in the thermal barrier, such as studs, furring strips or trapped moisture. My point is that when dealing with insulating values, it is best for the buyer to do their homework, as it is a somewhat complicated area.

Thanks,

David


Reply...


Arnold's Forum Posts: 50
Journal Entries: 73
Interview Answers: 32

Private Message

My Construction Website


Image from Arnold's blog

Login to Vote

By Arnold in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/9/2006


Dale,

Let me take a shot and you can fill in the blanks.

Let's pretend there's a box divided in half by an ICF wall. In order to measure the efficiency of the wall we put a known heat source in side A of the box, then determine the overall increase in temperature on side B over time. 

In order for the hot side (A) to heat the cold (B) it must first penetrate the solid foam, then heat up the thermal mass, then the thermal mass temperature must make it through the other solid foam to heat the cold side of the box. Now if the temperatures are always warm, that thermal mass just heats up and influences your side B continuously. In Colorado, we have some pretty drastic temperature differences from day to night. The more thermal mass there is, the more time it will take to actually warm up the mass. The figures I've seen quoted indicate that it would take more than 40 hours to heat the thermal mass, meaning that highs during the day (and lows at night) don't fully heat (or cool) the mass.

Reply...

2004, 2005, 2006 Merit Award Winner

John's Forum Posts: 278
Interview Answers: 69

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By John in Erie, CO on 2/9/2006


I can confirm what a Arnold has illustrated - I have real-time telemetry in all of my ICF walls - I get temperature readouts on the Web of my interior, exterior, roof, boiler run times, boiler water temperatures, and yes, the concrete core of my ICF walls.

This time of year, in Colorado, we are having 60-degree days, 20-degree nights. At 3 am, the coldest part of last night, my thermal mass temperature was 50.5 degrees, but at noon yesterday, we had an outside temp of almost 70, and my thermal mass temperature was around 54 degrees. So the mass will move toward the outside temperature, but do so slowly. So during winter, when I have to heat, at night, when it's 20, I'm heating more like it's 50 out.

And during the summer, while the thermal mass does warm up some, it's reversed; at night, it cools off, and during the day, it warms up, but the mass is so large that it never moves up enough that the HVAC system would notice... So the mass tempers the temperature swings, reducing the heating and cooling loading, and acting like a flywheel. In climates like ours (Colorado) with large temperature swings each day, the flywheel effect has the benefit of storing a bit of heat for use later, and likewise with the cooling, in a passive mode.

In another month or so, my heat will quit turning on entirely... The heat during the day will offset the losses at night... L)

Reply...


Arnold's Forum Posts: 50
Journal Entries: 73
Interview Answers: 32

Private Message

My Construction Website


Image from Arnold's blog

Login to Vote

By Arnold in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/10/2006


John,

Any chance you have that data in a form that could be posted here?

That would be awesome!!! (BTW, we're just a month away from breaking ground down here)

Thanks,

AG

Reply...

2006, 2010 Merit Award Winner

David's Forum Posts: 227
Journal Entries: 11

Private Message

My Construction Website


David's Selected Image

Login to Vote

By David in Ocoee, FL on 2/11/2006


John,

Real time data is great. In fact, your data confirms what I have always heard about ICF. It favors climates with great temp swings. I am curious what your thermal mass temperature would have been three hours later. I suspect that if you were to graph it, the data would indicate that thermal mass favors cold climates. In other words, I suspect that ICF does a better job at keeping a house warm than it does keeping a house cool.

I contend that ICF is not the best performer in central and south Florida in terms of energy efficiency, as the thermal mass would tend to heat up the interior of the home 8 months out of the year. I would hate to think what my cooling costs would be during a long, hot summer when I only have two inches (2" x R-4 per inch = R-8) of EPS between my interior space and my hot thermal mass. I only mention this because an ICF salesperson may not necessarily explain this before the sale.

On a side note, earlier when I stated a cost of $50 per square foot for SIP's, I was referring to the total cost of a finished home, not just the cost for the envelope. If you can accomplish that with ICF, I would like the names of your contractors.


Reply...

2004, 2005, 2006 Merit Award Winner

John's Forum Posts: 278
Interview Answers: 69

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By John in Erie, CO on 2/11/2006


I'll post some data soon, but even when things warm up here, the mass does not move as much as one would think. It takes a LOT of energy to raise the temperature of a lot of mass. Also, I think it matters how the building is designed. If you have good passive solar design, thermal mass is key, and will do more for an energy bill than any amount of insulation.  (For heating climates, obviously).

Thermal mass is common in the desert - Ever seen adobe? The best case might be two insulated thermal masses, some of the ICF's do this... Expensive adobe homes do this with two stacks of adobe and an insulation void - Remember, your energy in a tradition ICF "leaks" out through insulation into a mass, and then "leaks" again to the outside, with warm climates being the reverse. I've seen houses in Arizona with super thick concrete roofs. The thickness of the mass is such that there is not a significant increase of the surface temperature before nightfall, at which point heat is radiated out. I don't think I'd want to gamble on it, when my parents are building with SIPs right now, they didn't want the extra time it takes to get everything formed up; but we have found huge variations in the quality and safety of SIPs. Pick a good one, and make sure they are structurally rated, many that are priced on the Internet are not.

As far as comparing prices, ICF to SIP, for a finished house, that is simply not reasonable. What granite, what flooring, what location? A water tap here costs $30K ($5 psf on a 6,000 sf house), and labor rates are outrageous. The only real thing you can compare between the two is per square foot cost of wall, excluding foundation...

For an indicator though, I'm building a barn/shop this summer, and using ICF again. ICF's are pretty reasonable, if you shop and have reasonable rates on concrete. For me, I place a premium on the quietness in a high wind area, and the fire protection. Using ICF, I can avoid almost all of the structural steel and LVL I need framing or using SIPs. 

After we get the SIP shell completed on my parents' house, I'll post prices as a comparison. I'm all for either; anything is better than stick framing. I believe SIP will be cheaper, but not by a huge margin.

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/25/2006


I received the following email and .pdf from a contact in the energy field, that I think will be of interest to all.

Hot Water:
"We have purchased three Mr. Sun hot water systems and are delighted with all of them. Besides simple payback, the net operating income on the building is $500 greater per year because of the reduced utility cost. If buildings are worth 10 times the net income, as appraisers say, then the solar improvement increased the value of my building by $5,000. This is more than twice what I actually paid for the solar system installed! In looking at solar as an investment, it outperforms nearly every other investment I own. For every $1,000 I've invested in solar, I'm realizing at least a $250 per year cash return. That's 25%. Nowhere else am I getting that kind of consistent return. I just wish I owned more buildings that I could put solar on. I wouldn't hesitate to do it."

Dr. Gene Davis, Beaverton, OR


Reply...


Richard's Forum Posts: 43

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Richard in Valparaiso, IN on 3/18/2006


Speaking of energy savings and ICF, I had the opportunity to compare by performing full-blown room-by-room HVAC load calculations on a residence in Central Mich. With standard construction procedures, the heating load was just over 53,000 BTU/HR. By substituting the walls with ICF and insulating under the slab and around the slab edge (basement floor), the load dropped to just over 23,000 BTU/HR. 


Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/18/2006


Hey guys, sorry about the slow response. Was actually trying to find some graphics to illustrate the situation. Nothing that I wanted to post, yet.

Anyway, your mass acts as a heat sink. Heat goes in, then comes out. So if heat is coming only from one direction, sun in the summer and your furnace during the winter, you are creating a flywheel. The K-value of the mass controls how fast heat moves through the material. So the outside heat source ends (sunset) now heat is going to move towards the cold (basics of thermodynamics here). So if both sides are colder than the heat sink, heat will move equally towards both sides.

P= -kA T/x (Just ask and I'll send you the 26-page paper explaining this clearly, because differential equations weren't a strong interest of mine in college.)

An uninsulated mass will move energy faster than an insulated mass. But both conditions will shed the heat. What you are achieving with an ICF is a greater time-lag within the flywheel.

To stop the outside-influenced flywheel, you have to isolate that mass. A design that incorporates a high-insulated building envelope (SIP walls and roof) with a heat sink (adobe and concrete) completely separated from the outside environment would be ideal. An ICF does not have enough insulation to isolate nor enough mass to create a good flywheel as individual components, but works well as a composite.

Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/18/2006


Speaking of adobe, you can't get a double wall with insulation in the middle through permits in most places without an engineer.

Typically what we do in AZ is build a 18"-24" thick wall.

In regards to SIP's, there is a huge difference between panels. What foam and thickness used can be the difference between a R-15 wall or a R-40 wall. In CO you have access to a panel mfr. out of NM that makes a 6 1/2" inch (same width as 2x6 frame) R-41 panel. Also some panel suppliers do not pre-cut, which makes for a mess on the job site. I prefer the pre-cut; the last panel house I did generated only about two trash cans of waste.

As far as cost comparisons, last month I ran these numbers based on current material and labor costs in Tucson. The home that this was generated for has about 2,400 sf floor and 2,600 sf ext wall. R-values were based on  U=.68 windows and includes stucco, sheetrock and air film. This is for a structural insulated wall, labor and materials.

Framing, 2x6: $5.85/sf R-value = 17+ (fiberglass batts)
SIP, 6 1/2": $8.75/sf R-value = 41+ (urethane foam)
ICF, 11"Amvic: $11.25/sf R-value = 25+ ($112/yard concrete)

I guarantee that in an infrared test scan the framing would look horrible by comparison.

Private message me if you want more info.

Reply...

Editor

Jeff's Forum Posts: 149
Interview Answers: 212

Private Message


Jeff's Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Jeff in Provo, UT on 6/1/2006


Here is an interesting article that I bumped into today at Discovery.com for Zero Energy Homes buildable for less than $200,000.

The key systems include:

  • Utility meter that spins backwards when the house is producing electricity
  • Energy Recovery Ventilation System
  • Tightly sealed ducts
  • 2x6 exterior walls
  • Owens Corning polystyrene sheathing
  • Blown-in fiberglass insulation
  • Compact flourescent lighting throughout
  • Visqueen vapor barrier
  • Low-E glass
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Photovoltaic solar cells

I think the best part is that most of these systems are things that don't end-up costing much more up-front!


Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 6/1/2006


Thanks for the info. Actually, I have looked into similar claims. Some of the points are dependent on where you live. Orientation of the house and design are very important. Planning window locations around winter and summer sun with shading can save money and make for improved comfort.

Some utility companies have you install two meters. One of them is the energy you buy, and the other is energy you are selling back.

Energy recovery ventilation also greatly improves the indoor air quality.

Tightly sealed ductwork. Especially important if located above the insulation in the attic. If roof is insulated rather than ceiling, the savings are even greater.

2x6 walls. This is a problem. The best you can do is R-15 in the walls this way. If SIPs are used, you eliminate two steps in exterior wall construction and you will have a better wall that is R-25+. Cost increase is about a minor % of total.

O-C EPS sheathing (I guess this is who funded the article, because they make the fiberglass too.)

If at all possible, using a blown-in wet cellulose will give you an even better insulation system. Or use SIPs throughout.

Compact fluorescent light can be complimented with low-voltage halogen and daylighting. Most women do not want fluorescent lighting where they are trying to choose clothing colors.

Vapor barrier is a means of tightening up the building envelope because framing is full of holes and so is the fiberglass insulation system. SIPs don't have this problem.

Low-E glass is important when you don't want any solar gain. Northern climate will be more concerned about heat loss. So getting the best window, choose U-value of .5 or better

Ground source heat pumps are good in some areas. Water transfer work in some areas. Getting a SEER-19 system that uses Puron (or equal) is another viable option. There is also a solar-powered water chiller available for those in dry sunny climates.

PV solar cells. Utility company rebates and tax credits are what make these affordable. Check with your local utility company. Big problem right now is getting panels, some manufacturers are back-ordered for over a year.

AND you may be eligible for an energy-efficient home mortgage.

You can REALLY do all this for an additional 3-5% of your construction budget. Or you give up some of the fancier finishes inside.

Reply...


Keith's Forum Posts: 30
Interview Answers: 66

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 6/1/2006


John, read your comments on SIPs. I'm curious how your parents' project is going. I'm planning to start building with SIPs this September in Tucson. If you have any info about SIPs, and who's good or bad as far as manufacturer, I'd like to hear about it. If there is anyone in Tucson building now with SIPs, I'd like to hear from them also.

Thanks,

Keith


Reply...


Keith's Forum Posts: 30
Interview Answers: 66

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 6/1/2006


Dale, read your comments on SIPs and the manufacturer in NM. I'm interested in any other info and experiences you have on SIPs and the NM source. I currently have them as my selected SIPs panel to use. Trying to locate a good framing crew to handle them and the rest of the interior framing. I have a low-voltage contractor's license and plan on an extensive structured low-voltage wiring system (security, home theater, video/audio distribution, phone, computer network, etc. (maybe L.V. lighting also) throughout the entire house. Running wires through SIPs is a design in progress.

Trying to get all my subs lined up before September, to the point of closing up the shell (exterior walls and stucco, finished roof, interior framing, doors/windows installed) before the end of the year, then working on the interior finish phase after that. Would welcome any knowledge and perspective you have.

Thanks,

Keith
Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 6/1/2006


Keith... I have used KC Panels repeatedly. Probably 1-3 houses per year over several years. Of "locally available" panels, my order of choices would be KC, Winter, Premier. Reportedly there is a urethane panel mfr. up in the Seattle or Portland area, but I haven't located them yet. Urethane panels are IMHO better than EPS panels. And freight is always an issue from any mfr. outside of AZ. I have a guy here in Tucson who built some of the KC Panel houses at Civano who is looking for framing projects. Without knowing more about your design, I would suggest writing into the specs for the panels additional conduit for your electrical needs. If you want more detailed info on panel quirks private message me. Also I have an upcoming project that may be of interest to you.

At your service,

Dale

Reply...


Kelly 's Forum Posts: 15
Interview Answers: 106

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Kelly in Catalina, AZ on 10/29/2006


Keith,

Have you started you house? Did you go with KC panels? I would be interested in knowing more about low volage. Also, in what part of Tucson are you building your house?

Thanks,

Kelly
Reply...


Jon's Forum Posts: 35
Interview Answers: 62

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Jon in Perrysburg, OH on 12/9/2006


Active solar does work, but is very expensive. Without grants, tax credits, etc. -- it will take you 20 years to get your payback -- providing your panels last that long (most seem to last at least 25 years). In order to have a completely efficient system, no cost on electric (in Ohio) you would spend $25,000 on your panels. Electric by us costs about $100/month average. You can do the math. Throw in the extra cost of financing a house, it adds up even more. Where there are more sunny days in other states, I'm sure the cost is lower. I just don't see this as a practical solution for most people.

For a side note though, I did attend a conference at The University of Toledo where a professor by the name of Al Compaan built a house, used solar panels and uses enough energy to have zero electric bills and charge his converted electric truck. Very interesting.

Jon


Reply...

2007 Merit Award Winner

Dale's Forum Posts: 380
Interview Answers: 59

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Dale in Richland, AZ on 12/12/2006


Here is some additional info on Dr. Al Compaan and the local builder using solar.

nbc24.com/Global
deckerhomes.com

Reply...


RogerC's Forum Posts: 53
Interview Answers: 3

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By RogerC in Phoenix, AZ on 6/8/2008


Interesting article on solar rooftop sheeting: popsci.com. Be sure to check out the 'SEE HOW IT WORKS' link. 
Reply...


Arnold's Forum Posts: 50
Journal Entries: 73
Interview Answers: 32

Private Message

My Construction Website


Image from Arnold's blog

Login to Vote

By Arnold in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/9/2008


While this technology is certainly great, there are a few things that need to be addressed with it before its ready for deployment:

  • Hail resistance -- for the Midwest, this is the key factor for a roof in my opinion
  • Replaceability -- how do you replace the solar cells if you have a tree branch hit the house?
  • Wind resistance -- in Colorado we get 100 mph winds... how do they perform?
  • Walkability -- can you walk on the roof or is it too slippery?
These are all of the things I thought about when I did my roofing trade study.  I ended up going with a metal roof product that gave me the best options at that time.

Reply...


Frank 's Forum Posts: 12

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Frank in Lunenburg, MA on 9/8/2008


Netie,

Timberframe with a straw bale exterior would be an excellent choice in any region, especially earthquake country. The only real downside would be the lack of thermal mass, but since you're in UT, that might not be an issue.

Best regards,

Frank


Reply...


RogerC's Forum Posts: 53
Interview Answers: 3

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By RogerC in Phoenix, AZ on 3/20/2009


Michael,

You mentioned you've "had good luck with solar in remote environments". I'm finally about ready to get started with preparing my lot for beginning the build process. My property is quite remote and I'd like to start by installing some security. I'm not sure what all I can do without electricity.

I'd also like to set up a weather station to measure wind.

Could you offer any advice regarding what you've done in the past? Any products in particular?

Thanks!


Reply...

2006, 2009, 2010 Merit Award Winner
Contributing Editor

Michael's Forum Posts: 181
Interview Answers: 51

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 3/20/2009


Hi Roger,

I will respond to your weather station question first since it is probably the easier of the questions. If you think your site has potential for wind power, you may want to set up an anemometer and a data logger. I believe Oregon Scientific and Davis Instruments make some relatively inexpensive equipment that may fit the bill. If you feel you need something more sophisticated, there are a number of companies that make professional weather stations used by the Forest Service, etc. Campbell Scientific would be one example.

When you are doing your wind study you should sample sustained wind speeds for a long period of time like a year.  The sampling should also be done at the proposed height of the hub of the wind turbine, to be meaningful. Wind turbines typically have a hub height from 30' to 100' above ground level. You may want to erect an old utility pole (one source is Bowen Poles) or a steel lattice tower (one source would be a Rohn Antenna Tower dealer) to get the height you need for a meaningful study. 

If you look at the wind isohedral maps for Arizona, the sites that show the greatest potential for wind energy are near the Mogollon Rim. I doubt that any locations down in the desert near Phoenix or Tucson have enough sustained wind to make erecting any kind of turbine worthwhile.

I am not sure what you want to do with your security system. Keep people off the property? Monitor a cargo container or outbuilding with building materials and tools in it? How do you want the security system to react when an alarm condition is detected? Does your security system need to communicate with somebody when an alarm occurs? All things to consider. Does your site have land-based telephone or cell service? If not, does it have a clear view of the southern sky? What is the value of the stuff you want to protect and what kind of investment are you willing to make in security?

Some sources of solar power systems on the Net include Affordable Solar and Mr. Solar. You can see the cost of the systems is pretty high in terms of dollars per watt. Power consumption is very much driven by what you to operate with the solar power system and how long the equipment has to be on. A basic DC solar system normally consists of photovoltaic panels, a charge controller (I like the Morningstar brand) and deep cycle batteries. The battery system is typically designed to sustain the load for five days in the absence of sun. Keep in mind that solar panels are only one way of keeping your batteries charged and that site visits with a little generator or a vehicle can also be used if you find that solar panels are too expensive or have a nasty habit of disappearing.

Now you have to decide what you want to hook up: motion sensors? Vehicle detectors on the access road/driveway, CCTV? Infrared illuminators, LED luminaries? What do you want to do when the alarm triggers? Activate strobe lights, sound sirens, take snapshots, release the hounds, notify you, notify an alarm monitoring center, etc.?

My first choice for communication would be land-line telephone or a land-based internet connection like a cable modem or DSL. My second choice for communications would be cellular. If neither option works, and there is a clear view of the southern sky, satellite communications are viable; but again likely too expensive for protecting a residential construction site.  

If you like the idea of CCTV, check out this website: sunsurveillance.com. I have no experience with the company, but have built some very similar systems from components.


Reply...


Pete's Forum Posts: 9

Private Message


Randomly Selected Image

Login to Vote

By Pete in Cannon Beach, OR on 7/2/2009


Good point. I live near the ocean, with a pretty good day-night temperature swing and built with ICF. It is quite efficient, BUT I never have warm floors. (Nearly all tile.) The hot water radiant system runs so rarely that the floors never get that extra heat. So I get cold feet when I go shoeless. And I was really looking forward to that warm feeling.
Reply...



Reply... Subscribe to this topic

Copyright 1997-2019 Consensus Group Inc.