AndyH
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:39 pm

klapauzius wrote:Yes, the study on better insulation found that this will save Germany 30-50 billion in the next 30 years or so. Not much, but it is a net-positive investment.
But keep in mind, the average German uses half (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) the energy the average American uses.

And that is not because of more efficient insulation, but because of LESS wastefulness. Of course Germans are not better people than Americans, when it comes to the environment.
But energy prices are much higher in Germany, which forces people to be more conservative.
Not about insulation? Seriously?!

Image

The newly built house I rented when I lived in Germany from Nov, '87 through Dec, '90 was not built to PassivHaus standards, and was not built with the Energiewende or Third Industrial Revolution in mind - yet it was by far the most efficient building I lived anywhere in the world. Germany's STARTING building energy efficiency is higher than the current US TARGET of LEED platinum - and there are only a couple dozen of buildings in this country at that level! I could travel more and eat out more in Germany because I didn't have to pay so much for utility bills - in spite of the per unit cost of energy!

More efficient insulation, radiant heat, thermal mass construction - that is absolutely about LESS WASTEFULNESS! :shock:
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klapauzius
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:40 pm

AndyH wrote:
The newly built house I rented when I lived in Germany from Nov, '87 through Dec, '90 was not built to PassivHaus standards, and was not built with the Energiewende or Third Industrial Revolution in mind - yet it was by far the most efficient building I lived anywhere in the world. Germany's STARTING building energy efficiency is higher than the current US TARGET of LEED platinum - and there are only a couple dozen of buildings in this country at that level! I could travel more and eat out more in Germany because I didn't have to pay so much for utility bills - in spite of the per unit cost of energy!

More efficient insulation, radiant heat, thermal mass construction - that is absolutely about LESS WASTEFULNESS! :shock:
If you build stone houses, they are naturally better insulated than wooden houses, so yes, they are naturally better insulated than in the US.
The cost a great deal more to build also.

I guess the bottom line is this:
For new construction it is definitely worthwhile to invest in good insulation.

For existing homes, before you start thinking about insulation (unless it is non-existent), do a careful cost-benefit analysis and put your money where it saves the most energy/$....which might not be insulation.

Seattle offers energy audits and incentives for energy efficiency improvements, with the amount of incentive related to the improvements achieved. I never took one, but would be curious to see what recommendations similar audits elsewhere come up with.

AndyH
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:34 am

klapauzius wrote:If you build stone houses, they are naturally better insulated than wooden houses, so yes, they are naturally better insulated than in the US.
The cost a great deal more to build also.

I guess the bottom line is this:
For new construction it is definitely worthwhile to invest in good insulation.

For existing homes, before you start thinking about insulation (unless it is non-existent), do a careful cost-benefit analysis and put your money where it saves the most energy/$....which might not be insulation.

Seattle offers energy audits and incentives for energy efficiency improvements, with the amount of incentive related to the improvements achieved. I never took one, but would be curious to see what recommendations similar audits elsewhere come up with.
Stone is a better conductor of heat than wood, Klap - stone is not an insulator.

I think your position accurately reflects the thoughts of most people. The point of this thread is that this position is incorrect. This is proven by RMI's deep energy retrofit info and info provided by the US and German Passive House folks for just two expert examples.

http://www.rmi.org/retrofit_depot
A deep energy retrofit is a whole-building analysis and construction process that achieves much larger energy cost savings—sometimes more than 50% reduction—than those of simpler energy retrofits and fundamentally enhances the building value.
Here's a look at the passive house process as performed by Thorsten Chlupp, a builder in Alaska. This gent's originally from Germany and has been working with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and building PassiveHouse buildings to Alaska. Give the first 10 minutes a watch as Thorsten gives a broad overview of US house efficiency before getting into the 'guts' of passive house construction.


http://www.cchrc.org/
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klapauzius
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:54 pm

AndyH wrote: Stone is a better conductor of heat than wood, Klap - stone is not an insulator.
Thanks for pointing that out, I would never have figured that out... :D :D :D
Yes, I am aware of this, but we are not talking about your average medieval castle here, but about air-filled concrete blocks.

To be very precise here, both wood and stone conduct heat, albeit at very different rates.
When you retrofit, I am very curious to hear your $/sqft figures and the annual savings.

AndyH
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:10 pm

klapauzius wrote:
AndyH wrote: Stone is a better conductor of heat than wood, Klap - stone is not an insulator.
Thanks for pointing that out, I would never have figured that out... :D :D :D
?? You're the one that said this, yes?
If you build stone houses, they are naturally better insulated than wooden houses, so yes, they are naturally better insulated than in the US.
klapauzius wrote:Yes, I am aware of this, but we are not talking about your average medieval castle here, but about air-filled concrete blocks.

To be very precise here, both wood and stone conduct heat, albeit at very different rates.
When you retrofit, I am very curious to hear your $/sqft figures and the annual savings.
I have no desire or intention to retrofit anything so don't hold your breath waiting for my figures. I've already done a number of side-by-side comparisons of different building styles and goals, that's why I'm working toward a passive solar building made from a high percentage of natural materials. It won't be a 'slightly better than average house' that will require a ton of money thrown at it to make it 'net zero' - I'm talking about totally off grid, no furnace, no AC, no traditional HVAC system at all. It costs less per square foot than code-compliant building, is carbon negative, and if I opt for propane for the kitchen stove will have a maximum annual 'utility bill' of $100 (I don't however as I plan on a biogas digester for cooking fuel). I lived in one in New Mexico and did some maintenance work on another in East Texas and the building works well in both locations.

I'm not interested in arguing, and certainly not in 'fighting' for such a mediocre non-solutions as a McMansion with enough PV to run a small country in order to make it net-zero. That's not the point of this thread at all.
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AndyH
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:00 pm

Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century
http://www.ren21.net/
Beyond the transformation of power grids and transport, many
experts also pointed to coming transformations in buildings and
construction. They noted that change could be much slower than
with power and transport, due to the long lifetimes of buildings. But
they framed transformation in terms of new renewables-integrated
building materials and components becoming standard products,
and in terms of the acceptance and adoption by architects/engineers
and developers of renewable power, heating, and cooling technologies
as standard elements of homes and commercial buildings. This
would usher in a new era of building design and construction, said
experts, including the adoption of so-called "near-zero-energy,"
"net-zero-energy," and “passive” buildings noted in Chapter 2.
http://www.ren21.net/REN21Activities/Gl ... eport.aspx
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AndyH
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:42 pm

Village Homes, Davis, CA

http://www.villagehomesdavis.org/public/about
Village Homes is a seventy-acre subdivision located in the west part of Davis, California. It was designed to encourage both the development of a sense of community and the conservation of energy and natural resources. The principal designer was Mike Corbett. Construction on the neighborhood began in the fall of 1975, and construction continued from south to north through the 1980s, involving many different architects and contractors. The completed development includes 225 homes and 20 apartment units.
This subdivision incorporates Permaculture - which uses rainwater harvesting, swales and planting to use water in the landscape, street/house orientation for passive solar building, etc.
What are some of the features of Village Homes that help it to achieve sustainability?

Many factors promote sustainable living, such as land use, runoff management, solar construction, food consumption, pest management, green architecture, etc.
We have 23 acres in greenbelts, orchards, vineyards, vegetable gardens, and edible landscape. Swales run through the Village to catch rainwater and deep water the trees planted near them. Two thirds of the homes are still active solar as well as our Community Center and our Pool. Residents may harvest fruit from common area trees and vines. Harvesting goes by the honor system; residents pick only what their families can consume. We spray only lime sulfur on our fruit trees to be as organic as possible.
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AndyH
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:02 pm

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klapauzius
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow - Let's Fix This!

Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:31 pm

Wow, and I thought contractors in Germany were among the most expensive....
This graph shows labor costs, right?

rmay635703
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Re: World Energy Use - There's No Tomorrow

Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:47 pm

UkrainianKozak wrote:
dgpcolorado wrote: Among the claims of proponents: fusion won't produce radioactive waste like fission power. Nope, the intense radiation of the fusion reaction will make containment vessels and other process components radioactive.
Yes, but it is much better then to have a contaminated process components then to have radioactive waste from the reaction on top of it.
You can reuse contaminated components and materials in many cases, you can't say so about radioactive waste from current nuclear plants.
Why worry about pipe dreams, thorium salt reactors are proven 1950's technology and make 90-99% less waste than a uranium reactor, cost about the same but use less fuel, cannot support a sustained melt down and do not make plutonium in any significant portion.

Read superfuel, there are 1000's of years worth of thorium in sands throughout the US.

Also we definitely need population controls, because of our nature having the number of people on the planet that we do we are running in a massive energy deficit just to produce factory food, believe me, if we need to ACTUALLY DO THE RIGHT THING at some point and depend on crop rotations and mother nature like we did historically there will be a massive dieoff. just look at what happened in n korea after they couldn't produce enough synthetic petrochemical nitrogen fertalizer, then compare to what happened when a well prepared Cuba when they encountered the same issue. neither faired well, people did starve and go malnourished, Cuba did much better because they prepared but inevitably could not produce as much food using correct and proper methods of agriculture.

We destroy our surroundings to survive, it is our nature, even more so if anything starts becoming hard.

its unfortunate people can't get along and use common sense on these types of issues.

realistically 1 billion souls can be sustained in harmony on this planet while maintaining the wild portions of the world, what good does it do to be foolish and allow hard limitations to kill us because we have no common sense or self control.

sadly we forget

1. reduce (the most important element) remember only 50 years ago most homes were not over 40 degrees in the dead of winter. Depression era houses DID use less energy because people did not expect an incubator of one temperature. As a people we do not live in ways that are sustainable; MANY things will need to end going into the future especially if we continue to overpopulate an already fully populated world.

2. reuse the 2nd most important, nothing should be trashed but re-used

3. recycle - if the item is worn beyond reuse then recycling is more efficient than making from virgin stock but it should not be our primary method of dealing with waste.

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