Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

NESEA notes, part 4

Tuesday Afternoon Session

Notes by Dana Rubin, Account Executive for Green Energy Times

After a networking lunch, we head back into workshops. I’ve slipped into a demonstration from Kristen Simmons, a LEED architect in Rosindale, MA.

-Protect the building during construction
-Outside layer, when you are venting, should be the highest layer.
-As soon as you allow behind your thermal barrier, it is no longer an acting barrier
– we are worried about moisture concentrations

Extreme Home Makeover: going from HERS to Net Zero:
What’s the value of a comfortable home?
What is the project goal?

Performance Goals and Standards
Deep Energy or Zero Energy
Thousand Home Challenge
Energy Star
DOE Challenge Home
DER Pilot

Passive House– retrofit version .
Net Zero Energy

German Windows: SchUco ThermoPlus
Fakro Skylight

Fundamentals of Energy Buildings: calculating heating loads 

The overview:
What does that R value mean? Resistance to heat flow.

1 kw/hr = 3.412 Btu
kilowatts = POWER
kilowatt/hours = ENERGY

Lessons Learned from High Performance Buildings: What went wrong?

Does your HVAC manufacturer supply HVAC equipment with a controls package?
Season 4, located in Douglasville, GA is one of the few companies that do not require control. Every architect should have unfettered control. On most jobs, in the end, the CxA, ATC and TAB contractors are left holding the bag.

Control drawings are “telephone book manuals” it has every possible sequence of available, if you have one control company, this discrepancy would not exist.

Audience member: Let’s remember the low-income housing builds of the 1950s. Steam run and natural light. What we propose today, to a corporate owner, “ …why don’t you just wear sweaters?” We are way beyond what is absolutely necessary for comfort…”

EnergyStar Buildings: Energy and AIr Quality standard 
– Good Energy Management
– Scheduling- very tight scheduling of HVAC equipment and lighting ( turn them both off!)
– To reach EnergyStar, need double glazed solar tinted windows ← culprit
– T-8 Florescent Lighting
– Proper ventilation rates-
-High Efficiency buildings, K.I.S.S.

Common Errors:
VAV system Turn Down Ratio 2:1 —
CO2 based demand controlled ventilation
Over-sized equipment- when the equipment runs below it’s intended design, it runs “horribly”
Simultaneously heating and cooling
EMS controls-

Commercial Passive House Design Principles:
“ it’s about building a good building, it’s not always about the numbers…it’s about cost-effective, low-energy buildings…:

How do we get the heat balance right?
Let’s consider a dorm room, predict how much energy a student uses..
refrigerator, microwave, stero, television, blow dryer, task lighting, bodies??

To find the energy consider first:

upper northwest corner ( 3 sides exposed, twin window)
minimalist occupant


Center south ( 1 side exposed, twin window)
maximalist occupants

is this room just heated by the kids in the room?

Why does commercial construction make sense?

  • Cost- larger projects marginal cost for achieving “passive house.” It is less than residential
  • Owner understanding- ROI makes sense

less concerned with the “pay back question”

  • Geometry- less skin — skin to volume efficiency

BUT, of course, there are challenges to building passive commercial houses

  • Available technology- window challenges — commercial products just are not as good as residential passive products.
  • Doors- handicapped code related issues, low thresholds, panic devices, push/pull force
  • ERV/HRV sizes and availability
  • accurate  energy usage projections
  • common construction materials
  • Steel isn’t easy to model in PHPP
  • Thermal bridging can be very significant
  • Obtaining accurate data on US materials and techniques
  • Project delivery methods
  • Design build is truly integrated delivery . One contractor


  • need to do Design-Build–
  • Team process

Go for:

Simplicity = efficiency
Complexity = cost
Design – more corners and curves = more complexity = more expensive
Implementation – more complexity = more chance for error

Know your 1. local market 2. local building standards 3. your baseline 4. your subcontractor base 5. your experience level

Passive and Active Loops.