Posts From December, 2019

The House That She Built

Utah Women Prove that Homebuilding is Women's Work

We built this home to educate everybody in the construction industry that there is a place for women to work making a good living, teaching a new generation that there are no longer traditional roles in the workplace, and to help eliminate the shortage of labor in our industry which is an ongoing problem. We feel like women can be a part of that solution. --  Jennie Tanner, President of the Utah Professional Women in Building.

 

When you're a little girl, parents don't often think about saying, “Hey, why don't you get a job in construction? Have you thought about being a plumber or an electrician?” Even school counselors don't discuss these options with girls. And so, three years ago, I joined the Utah-based charter of the National Association of Homebuilders and came up with an idea to build the first all-women-built home in the nation.

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What Will 2020 Bring?

It’s hard to believe but we’ve reached the end of 2019. It’s been an incredible year filled with some great accomplishments and exciting potential.
What Will 2020 Bring?
We started the year off recognizing Mandalay Homes as they offered rooftop solar as a standard product on their homes and Health E Community Enterprises’ Zero Energy Ready Home communities. We also took a look at a Utah-based project where Sonnen EcoLinx batteries will be used to manage peak energy use and provide emergency power. Material advancements were also in the news throughout the year. We took a look at key solar developments like floating PV, molecular solar thermal liquid, and a water flow glazing technology that captures solar radiation for heating, preheating, domestic hot water, and the storage or expenditure of excess energy. In addition to these materials, keep an eye on other products like translucent wood, self-healing concrete, and 3D printed houses that will continue to advance and make news in 2020. Data and AI will also contribute to advancements in the construction industry. It’s clear data is already important in determining optimal design for the... read more
 

Energy Efficient Buildings of the Future

A team in Bulgaria recently opened a project to exhibit and test water flow glazing technology.
Energy Efficient Buildings of the Future
A demonstration project in Sofia, Bulgaria, is showcasing a water flow glazing (WFG) technology that utilizes water as a transparent insulator. Referred to as InDeWaG (Industrial Development of Water Flow Glazing Systems) and developed in Madrid, the project will demonstrate and test the efficiency of the system and its ability to maximize solar in varying temperatures during both winter and summer, as well as in very different climates. [Photo courtesy InDeWaG] The project consists of a pavilion with three walls with panes that use the WFG. The remaining wall and the floors are insulated to help achieve nearly zero energy building standards (in accordance with Bulgarian legislation). As explained in a Bulgarian article: “Each pane has a continuous flow of distilled water and glycol. Inside each window, there is a constant flow of 70 litres of distilled water and 30 litres of ethylene glycol, which serves as antifreeze. Each transparent panel acts as an individual solar... read more
 

Water Water Everywhere

71 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. That’s a lot of water.
Water Water Everywhere
Floating houses are not a new concept and can be found all over the world. Growing up surrounded by water I knew a family (of SIX!) that lived in a houseboat. It was normal. We have them all over Lake Union in Seattle. But what I haven’t seen a lot of in the U.S. is floating PV (FPV). In 2008 an FPV array was installed in Napa but as of 2017, the U.S. only had seven “operational” floating solar arrays. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory believes there are “more than 24,000 human-made bodies of water throughout the country with the potential of generating 10% of the nation’s electricity using FPV.” Other reports state that the demand for this product will grow steadily by an average of 22 percent from now through 2024. By the end of this year (2019) there will be about 340 floating solar installations completed globally in 35 countries (mostly in Asia). The market is primarily driven by countries with “high land costs, limited land availability, or ambitious renewable... read more
 

Improving Air Sealing Efficiency in Off-site Construction

Government funding and collaboration will help to improve energy efficiency in off-site construction.
Improving Air Sealing Efficiency in Off-site Construction
Earlier this year, AeroBarrier headed out to North Carolina to begin a pilot program at Volumetric Building Companies’ factory located in Hamlet. As part of a 3-year project headed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the pilot project is focused on both advancing energy efficiency in permanent modular construction, as well as discovering pathways for faster, more advanced manufacturing capabilities. AeroBarrier was applied to a sample group of modular units to create initial baseline data. This particular pilot project aims to prove the advanced air sealing techniques can be completed inside the factory both quickly and efficiently, and without substantial leakage losses during shipping and placement of the units on-site. Once the units are installed on-site, the boxes will be re-tested to verify how the in-factory air sealing held up during transportation and setting on-site. The units were tested before and after the application of the AeroBarrier product... read more