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The Course Outline: Smart Solutions for an Energy Efficient Home, 9am-12 Saturday, August 18, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007

Oops, we had to cancel the class. We'll try again.

We have a house to test.  It’s located at 1274 Reeder Circle, near the Briarcliff Campus.  I prefer to meet you at the house but will have someone at Rm 122 (our designated room at the Briarcliff Campus) to meet you and provide directions to the house.

There is limited parking (the house is located at the end of the street) so please park nearby on Reeder Circle

We will be inside and outside for three hours:  please dress in comfortable clothes. This is the Kearns family home:  respect their property as you would yours.

This class will be lots of fun, a great learning experience, and a way to improve the comfort, home environment and energy efficiency of your own home.

Course Outline

Smart Solutions for an Energy Efficient Home
9am-12 Saturday, August 18, 2007
At:  1274 Reeder Circle, Atlanta 30306

A smart solution can be interpreted as one that is easily understood, technically sound, inexpensive to perform and providing a number of benefits

“Energy Efficient Home” is the context of this class is a relative concept.  Perhaps a better way to put it would be MORE energy efficient than before. There are various means of measuring home energy efficiency.  A broader definition might include:

  • Reduced utility costs: electric, gas, water.
  • Reduced cleaning/maintenance costs: pest control/insects/rodents, mildew/mold, wood rot, painting, dusting/general cleaning.
  • Improved comfort: better air quality, better conditioning of living spaces.

The first step in reaching these objectives is to determine the current condition of the home.

There are three major components to building efficiency:

  • The building enclosure (especially the conditioned/heated and cooled part).
  • Heating, cooling and ventilation equipment (HVAC).
  • The means of conveying energy and air to the conditioned areas (ducting).

Our class will focus on the first of these items, the building enclosure.
The more “holes” there are in the enclosure, the more readily energy and moisture are lost and gained. If the number and size of the holes are reduced efficiency is increased and pathways for insects/rodents and fire are decreased.

The primary means of testing/locating holes is the BLOWER DOOR TEST
This test mimics the effect of 20 mph of wind pushing against the walls of the home .This method allows us to locate significant air leakage into the home.

See the Southface Energy Institute handout for more information about blower door testing.

The term used for sealing openings in the building, especially those between Conditioned and Un-conditioned spaces, is known as draftstopping. Firestopping is similar in principle but requires the use of fire-resistant materials.

Draftstopping and firestopping control three types of movement:

The vertical movement of fire.
The movement of air, heat and moisture between conditioned and unconditioned spaces.
The movement of insects and rodents.

The “smart” part of draftstopping is that it uses easily applied, inexpensive materials and controls all three types of movement within the home.

The key to draftstopping is to use RIGID materials, not insulation. These include plywood, foam sheathing, expandable foam, sheet metal and 2x4 blocking

When you have finished this field demonstration, you will have the knowledge to apply the principles of draftstopping to your home. It REALLY makes a difference.

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