Cohousing Day #28 – Superinsulation Works!

25 04 2009

Super Insulation in ActionToday we had 2 more houses move in (well, technically, only one – since the second is still unloading items from the truck as I type, and it’s 9:30 at night.) Tomorrow we have another household moving in, bringing our grand total to 7 so far. That’s seven families that have pulled up everything, and moved here. And there’s more to come.

But that’s not what I came here to talk to you about.

When we designed our houses, we put great emphasis on Superinsulation. The idea that a house should be insulated far beyond what ‘code’ calls for, to the point that it can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer with a minimal amount of work by heating / cooling systems.

Today we were able to put that to the test. It got incredibly hot today – hot for April in New England, topping out at around 95 degrees according to my indoor/outdoor thermometer (see above). (Note that wunderground history for today says it only got up to 89. But it was still damned hot). According to the thermometer, it got up to 95 outside, but stayed at or below 79 inside the house.

Note that we have no fans running, no AC, in fact all the windows were closed. The house kept in the cool air from the night before – all day long. Even with traffic in and out.

That, my friends, is energy efficiency.

How many other people turned on air conditioners today? We didn’t have to.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

6 responses

26 04 2009
sarahshevett

You know what’s real energy efficiency?
Not having an air conditioner at all…

26 04 2009
shevett

I think you missed the point.
We don’t have an air conditioner.

26 04 2009
barbara

Energy efficiency is great. I’m sure I’ll be very jealous of you come winter. I far prefer open windows in summer, though.

26 04 2009
shevett

@barbara – Yeah I’m not sure how how well this’ll work out on some of those days. The trick is that if it’s cooler inside than outside, close the windows, otherwise, keep ’em open!
There’s been times I’ve wanted to throw the windows wide – but I’m being careful.
I’d like a couple days in the middle-temps so I can leave the windows open all day. This going from 55 during the day to 90? Not so much fun.

27 04 2009
The Bear's Den

Do you have to worry about getting enough air exchange when the house is that well insulated?

27 04 2009
shevett

@TBD – well, most houses are ventilated just by being poorly sealed, so there’s always air moving in and out. Ours is like a tight balloon (we did pressure testing with a door fan to see how fast air ‘leaked out’ when it was pressured. Answer: very slowly)
The problem with not enough air exchange is primarily humidity. Trapped air with people gets humid – that’s the ‘stuffy’ feeling people get.
We have fans / ventilators installed that are on timers. During the winter you set up the timers to run the fans 6-8 hours straight, that slowly changes the air out and keeps it from getting stuffy without sacrificing the envelope.
Some super-efficient buildings use a heat reclaimer on the ventilator fan that can reclaim some of the heat being pumped out via the fans (like a heat exchanger). We don’t have them in the houses right now, but it’s something to consider.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: