Going for Net Zero Energy in Seattle

first_imgEric Thomas and his wife, Alexandra Salmon, have bought into the energy efficiency ethos in a serious but not, in turns out, extremely expensive way.They purchased an infill lot in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood for $180,000. By the end of May, work had commenced on what would become their 1,915-sq.-ft. three-bedroom home, whose design, from Zero-Energy Home Plans, was intended to bring the performance of the building close to net zero energy while also minimizing construction costs. A 6.3-kW photovoltaic system was installed on the roof – enough PV to bring the house to net zero energy on an annual basis, according to the project team’s calculations.Thomas and Salmon ended up spending $417,000, which includes the lot purchase but excludes revised plans and engineering costs, which came to less than $5,000. The couple also will be eligible for a 30% federal tax rebate on the PV installation, which so far has produced a 1,000 kWh power credit for the home that can be drawn on this winter.Insulation and airtightnessThe building is insulated with 4 in. of extruded polystyrene under the slab and with perimeter XPS down to a dept of 2 ft. around the stem wall. The exterior walls are constructed of structural insulated panels (SIPs) and, with all drywall and siding in place, provide R-26 thermal resistance. The roof is built to R-41 with 10.25-in. SIPs. Airsealing was thorough enough to yield only 0.56 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals pressure difference.Among the other elements key to the performance of the building envelope, says Zero-Energy Home Plans founder Ted Clifton, are its triple-glazed windows, which were made by Vancouver-based Vinyltek using Cardinal LoÄ’-i81 glass. Center-of-glass U-factors are as low as 0.12, with visual transmission of as much as 63% and a solar heat-gain coefficient between 0.15 and 0.51, depending on the orientation of the window. (Of course, the whole-window specifications as shown on the NFRC label are not as impressive as these center-of-glass specs.)“We are getting very close to being able to put glass wherever we want it, without sacrificing envelope performance,” Clifton wrote in an e-mail to GBA.A Unico UniChiller air-to-water heat pump helps serve both the radiant in-floor heating system and the domestic hot water system. The latter is supplemented by a standard electric water heater. In Seattle’s marine climate, Clifton says, the entire system operates at a very high net efficiency – a minimum of 212% in winter – even while delivering 120-degree domestic hot water.Positive airflow (and positive homeowner response)Air handling devices include a Panasonic motion-sensor bath fan, a Fantech CM3000 high-efficiency particulate air filter (which serves as an air inlet for makeup air distributed to the bedrooms and main living areas while the bath fan is running), and a remote-mounted kitchen range hood fan (rated at 206 cubic feet per minute). Both the range hood fan and bathroom fan are operated with a single control that keeps them synchronized.Having lived in the house for about three months, Thomas and Salmon say they’ve found little to complain about and plenty to like. Vibration from the heat-pump compressor has been traveling through the pipes, a problem they hope will be reduced with the installation of rubber mountings. But so far, that’s about it for the negatives. They’re far more focused on spreading the word about the energy efficiency of the building and its relatively low construction costs.“We’re trying to spread the word to our neighbors that net-zero building doesn’t have to cost much more than building to code (and is significantly cheaper over the long run),” Thomas noted in an e-mail to GBA, adding that “we built the house for about the same price as a nearby townhouse on a shared lot that was completed around the same time. That’s not to say that anyone can afford to build a house, but we think our house is evidence that net-zero building doesn’t have to be the purview of rich retired people or newly minted millionaires.”For more information on this house, see GBA’s case study: A Net-Zero-Energy House for $125 a Square Foot.last_img read more

Researchers Developing an Ultra-Efficient Clothes Dryer

first_imgA team of researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Building Technologies Research and Integration Center is working on the design for a new type of clothes dryer that uses high-frequency vibration rather than heat to take moisture out of fabric.Researchers are confident that they have proven that the concept works, and are under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to build a full-scale prototype by August 2016. Work to date has been with very small devices called pizo-ceramic transducers, on the order of 2 inches in diameter. But the potential for energy savings already seems enormous.Dr. Ayyoub Momen, the lead researcher on the project, said that this type of dryer has the potential to reduce total electricity consumption in the U.S. by 1%.“That’s a huge number for a single technology,” he said by telephone. “This is a game-changing technology.” Faster drying times, less energyA small test transducer can dry fabric many times faster than heat. According to Momen, fabric that takes 20 to 30 minutes to dry by heat will dry in 14 seconds with the pizo-ceramic devices they’ve been using. Overall, energy consumption would be three times less.Momen likens the drying process to what happens when someone shakes out a wet towel and dislodges droplets of water. The transducer speeds up the process many, many times. (Momen was reluctant to say exactly what the frequency of vibration is.)According to an article posted at Clickgreen.org extracted moisture would be in the form of an extremely fine mist of cool water droplets just 1 micron in diameter.Once the device has been scaled up to full size, Momen expects that it will be capable of drying 10 lb. of wet clothing in about 20 minutes using 1/3 the energy of a dryer using heat. The process also takes less of a toll on clothing.In the second year of the project, Momen’s team will see how a number of the transducers work in a conventional dryer drum, but no one is sure what a fully developed appliance would look like. “Honestly, we don’t know what we’re getting with the design of the machine,” he said. It might even be in the form of a flat plate.Momen said it might be possible to have a dryer using the technology on the market in five years at a price competitive with conventional dryers. GE Appliances is the research group’s industrial partner and is contributing 20% of the development costs. The rest of the money is coming from the Department of Energy.last_img read more

José Mourinho criticises Old Trafford fans for giving Scott McTominay stick

first_imgShare on Messenger Manchester United “The fans they can do what they want,” Mourinho said. “I am not upset at all with that reaction [about Rashford]. But I am upset with the reaction they had with Scott McTominay. A kid of 20 years old was making all the right decisions and they wanted him to make the wrong decisions. When he decides to break the intensity of the game, it was a wonderful solution and the fans reacted against the kid. That was the bad one. To react against me, that was not the problem.”Rashford was making his first Premier League start since Boxing Day and Mourinho revealed that he had deliberately targeted the right-hand side of Liverpool’s defence.“My plan was to give [Trent] Alexander-Arnold some problems. Alexander-Arnold is very fast – but I think Marcus is a little bit faster. I wanted to give him something to think about.”Rashford was booked for a mistimed tackle on Dejan Lovren in the first half and Mourinho also seemed unimpressed that Gary Neville, in his television role, had criticised the challenge.“At half-time, someone told me Gary Neville was asking Marcus Rashford to get a red card so I was scared the referee was watching. Where Liverpool brought a lot of players to the central area of the pitch, Marcus Rashford was defending the corridor against Alexander-Arnold and, with the pressure of Gary, I made the decision to play a player [the substitute Marouane Fellaini] who could make a yellow.” Topics Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp Premier League news Marcus Rashford’s double gives Manchester United victory over Liverpool Liverpool Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook The Observer Share on Twitter Read more Share via Email Share on LinkedIn José Mourinho José Mourinho was critical of the Manchester United crowd after watching his team beat Liverpool 2-1 and questioned whether some supporters were being unfair on Scott McTominay by taking exception to a moment in the second half when the inexperienced midfielder played a backward pass rather than choosing to attack.Mourinho’s decision to substitute Marcus Rashford, the scorer of both United goals, was booed by some fans later in the match but the manager said he was more aggrieved by what he perceived to be a negative response to one of McTominay’s passes.last_img read more

Tourism Investment officials cite benefits of Sandals chain

first_img Recommended for you Barbados Prime Minister speaks to country ahead of Tropical Storm Dorian; said country is preparing for 6-12 feet storm surge Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 22 Jul 2015 – A huge effort by the Sandals Resorts International company as the Turks and Caicos delegation now enters day three of what was supposed to be a three island FamTrip of the Eastern Caribbean properties of the resort conglomerate; the tour has broadened to include two more island nations, namely: Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica. Hotel and Tourism Association executive Stacy Cox is on the trip, we spoke to her in Barbados. “This experience so far and much more to go has been, somewhat, an awakening of senses and what Beaches brings to the table. It is a strong brand and it does so much for the region itself and just to hear it from the other side of the region is quite commendable and it is a pure indication of what is being done in the Turks and Caicos, we are not alone and we have the opportunity also to speak to people around the region to see what works well in Beaches or Sandals…”Also in Barbados, the Tourism Investment agency President, Stuart Layne, who concurred with their Tourism Minister and agri-businesses that Sandals brings a diversity of opportunities; we asked him how having the Sandals and a coming Beaches helps Barbados specifically. “First of all we are happy that based on comments, from at least one carrier, that carrier has expanded its airlift just because Sandals is here so that is the sort of proof we are looking in terms of a justification for having Sandals here. We also know that Sandals has a fairly steady demand throughout the year so that also adds to the number of visitors on the island, it adds to stability in terms of employment.”First stop of the fam trip was Grenada, home of Sandals La Source and yesterday afternoon was spent touring two of three Sandals resorts in St Lucia. Multi-millionaire Barbados businessmen arrested in $3m drug bust, yacht suspected in drug trafficking Stinky sargassum blamed for marine disaster; dolphins, flying fish and turtles trapped Related Items:ANTIGUA, Antigua and Barbuda, barbados, beaches, grenada, jamaica, la source, sandals, St Lucia, stacy cox, stuart layne Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more