EEBA's High Performance Home Blog

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 using a blower door. The initial in-factory before and after data collected shows a reduction in envelope leakage ranging between 46.5% - 72.9%. More data will be collected after the units are placed in early 2020.

Also of note, the ICC recently announced they will be developing new standards with the help of the International Code Council Off-Site & Modular Construction Standards Committee. The main topics will include two standards focused on:

  • Planning, Design, Fabrication, and Assembly and
  • Inspection and Regulatory Compliance

 

NREL is also looking forward to working with the Committee to create energy standards for factories.

Subscribe to the EEBA Newsletter for more updates on this project as well as more energy and high performance news.

 

What Are You Thankful For?

It’s the week for giving thanks and there’s a lot to be grateful for at EEBA!
What Are You Thankful For?

2019 has been an incredibly successful year that has brought many new partners to EEBA, as well as new board members, and a bigger and better High Performance Home Summit where we had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with some of the most passionate and driven people in the industry.

We’ve seen new opportunities presented through our strengthened partnerships with RESNET, The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, Professional Builder and Green Builder Media. We also continue our commitment to helping attract youth to the industry with our NextGen Scholarship Initiative.

We are also excited for a new national partnership program that offers both inclusivity and exclusivity - all while lowering the cost across the board and delivering more value and benefits to all of our partners. And then there’s all that anticipation surrounding the idea of having a new CEO!

EEBA staff are thankful for the incredible brain power and entertainment offered by EEBA Certified Instructors Gord Cooke, Mike Barcik, Bruce Sullivan, Justin Wilson, and Andy Oding while they teach building science at all the EEBA educational events.

And finally, we are thankful for you! We could not do what we do without your support, your knowledge, and your commitment to industry growth. We wish you a restful Thanksgiving and much time to reflect on all the things for which you have to be grateful!

Solar Breakthrough in Sweden

Researchers in Sweden create a liquid molecule with potential to release on-demand heat.
Solar Breakthrough in Sweden

A research team at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have identified a way to harness energy from the sun and store it (potentially for decades), releasing the energy as on-demand heat.

The molecular solar thermal liquid is made of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen and has the ability to collect solar energy and hold it until a catalyst triggers its release as heat. The Swedish team is currently focused on the heating benefits, although one of the big, unanswered questions that remains is whether or not the system can additionally produce electricity.

Kasper Moth-Poulsen, lead researcher and a professor in the university’s department of chemistry and chemical engineering also believes the storage unit they’ve created for the technology has the “stability to outlast the 5-to 10-year life span of typical lithium-ion batteries on the market today.”

One of many research groups looking to molecular thermal solar systems to provide solutions for climate change, the technology has the potential to be used in window coatings, heating vehicles and buildings, or even clothing design. The team will be coating an entire building in the material to show what can be achieved and expect it to reduce electricity needs for heating.

If they are able to obtain $5 million of funding they believe the storage unit could be commercialized in six years and the coating in three. Others doing similar research in thermal solar systems believe their work is “crucial if we want to see the energy conversion storage approach commercialized.”

Keep following this technology as it will be interesting to see the advancements. While there are currently no cost estimates, there are no requirements for expensive rare elements and the team recognizes that it needs to be affordable.

Around the Globe

See what’s happening around the world surrounding energy efficiency.
Around the Globe

Ithaca, New York

The Solar Home Factory, based in Geneva, New York is on a mission to build zero-energy homes. The company is birthed out of the desire to find solutions for heating issues in their region and to move people towards air pumps. What they found, however, is that most homes weren’t efficient enough for them so they continued using natural gas, coal or wood pellets.

The Solar Home Factory utilizes SIPs and combines modular techniques with net-zero energy homes. In a previous development, homeowners were paying around 20 cents per day in heating costs (before solar credits).

They are currently working on 43-unit single family home project in Ithaca, New York.

Melbourne, Australia

$784,000 was recently funded to a real estate group, Mirvac, to test a “net zero energy” housing project in a Melbourne suburb.

The 49-townhome planned community will demonstrate the feasibility of achieving net-zero energy homes at scale and show homeowners how they can greatly reduce energy bills.

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia’s 2030 District initiative is a voluntary program where building owners and managers work to reduce their carbon footprint.

To date, around 50 buildings have joined and committed to improving their energy efficiency by 50 percent by 2030. A recent report showed the initiative is more than halfway to their target!

Tell us what is happening in your area around energy efficiency!

NAHB’s Sustainability & Green Building Scholarship

The National Association of Home Builders is offering a qualified applicant a scholarship to the International Builders’ Show next year.
NAHB’s Sustainability & Green Building Scholarship

Are you a student in a two-year or four-year university/college, vocational, apprenticeship, or other training program? Are you a recent graduate within the past 2 years? Or maybe you’re a young professional looking for a career shift? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be eligible to apply for the NAHB’s Sustainability and Green IBS Scholarship and attend the International Builders’ Show for free.

The Sustainability and Green IBS Scholarship provides an opportunity for students and recent graduates to be introduced to the world of high performance homes and helps them make the connections to jumpstart their career.

The Scholarship recipient will receive airfare (up to $600), hotel accommodations (four nights), and a full registration to the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 21-23, 2020. They’ll be able to walk the show floor and take in all the latest products, and will also have access to networking events and a variety of educational sessions.

Do you care about the future of the industry and attracting new talent? Encourage a young building professional or current student interested in high performance homes and sustainable building to apply for the scholarship no later than November 15th. Share this on your social media channels and tag #eebaNextGen #IBS2020!

If you would like to contribute to the Sustainability & Green Building IBS Scholarship Fund please contact Anna Stern. Donations raised for this fund will provide the opportunity for more students to be supported to attend future International Builders’ Shows.

Tech Companies Continue Investments in Renewable Energy

The trend of large technology companies investing in renewables continues as Google makes a $2bn investment.
Tech Companies Continue Investments in Renewable Energy

Most of us can agree that technology has the potential to create both positive change as well as negative fallout. We take the good with the bad. One thing is undeniable though...the influence tech companies hold provides them the ability to create massive waves of change. And this is a good thing where clean energy is concerned.

As reported earlier this year, Facebook has pledged to power its operations using 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020 and is currently building one of the largest solar farms in the United States. And just last month, Google committed to the biggest renewable energy deal in corporate history with a $2 billion wind and solar investment. In 2017 and 2018 they matched 100% of their electricity use with renewable sources and expect to do the same in 2019.

While almost half of their renewable energy investments were made in Europe, the remaining investments were spread out through the United States - new solar farms will be built in Texas and North Carolina where Google has huge data centers, as well as South Carolina. South America will also benefit from the investment as a new project in Chile will combine wind and solar power.

Google is just one of many tech companies that say they are committed to reducing their environmental impact.

Amazon announced its plans to go carbon neutral by 2040, partly with the use of electric delivery trucks. And Apple, with over 70% of its corporate carbon footprint coming from the supply chain, is finding ways to invest in renewable energy that will benefit its suppliers. In 2018 Apple met its goal for 100% renewable energy operations.

While great PR is essential for any company, and meeting publicized sustainability goals is important, the bottom line is that investments in renewable energy is just good business.

According to Greenbiz, corporate renewable energy procurements set a new record in Q2 of 2019. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, T-Mobile, and AT&T account for more than half of the renewable energy purchases.

Last Chance to Submit Your Project for Best Green Home and Sustainability Awards

There’s less than one week left to submit your entry for Green Builder’s Green Home of the Year and Sustainability Awards
Last Chance to Submit Your Project for Best Green Home and Sustainability Awards

Green Builder Media is on the hunt for the best green homes that include sustainable features, innovative design, and whole home performance. Categories for the Green Home of the Year Awards are: General, Mainstream Green, Alternative Building Technology, Off-site Construction, Small Footprint Living, and Sustainable Community.

2019 projects were located all around the country - the Pacific Northwest, New York, Colorado, Hawaii, and Texas.

This will also be the second year of their Sustainability Awards offering recognition for Green Innovation of the Year, Best Municipal Program, and Sustainability Superhero - last year, Nathan Good of Nathan Good Architects in Salem, Oregon, was awarded this recognition.

Winners will receive coverage in the January/February 2020 issue of Green Builder magazine. A qualified panel of builders and design professionals will review entries and winners will be notified in December. Entries must be received no later than October 11, 2019 at 11:59pm ET. Enter your project today!

Get Ready for Day 2 and 3 at the EEBA Summit

After an incredible Day 1 at the EEBA Summit, get ready for what’s in store for Days 2 and 3.
Get Ready for Day 2 and 3 at the EEBA Summit

Day 1 of the High Performance Home Summit was phenomenal! Beginning with the opening session with former Governor of Colorado Bill Ritter, to the winners of the DOE’s Housing Innovation Awards, there was a lot to celebrate.

While some attendees participated in the HERS Associate class, others did deep dives into subjects surrounding codes, high performance homes and neighborhoods, disaster resilience, healthy homes, and building science.

We closed out the day with our exhibitors and a fun-filled networking reception with great food and drinks. What was your highlight from Day 1?

Day 2 offers both the Path to Zero Energy Homes, as well as the Houses That Work course. At the completion of both all-day classes, participants will have the option of taking a test to receive the specific EEBA Designation. Bruce Sullivan will teach the Path to Zero class while Gord Cooke will lead the Houses That Work class.

During lunch don’t miss out on congratulating the winners of the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS Leader Awards.

The agenda during Day 2 of the Summit will also be offering a RESNET track, multiple sessions on IAQ, some great presenters who will provide tips on selling high performance homes, and even a class on energy efficiency in offsite construction. You can’t go wrong with any of these sessions. Learn more surrounding certain topics or learn something completely new.

We’ll close out Day 2 with a special event: The Mile High Night Out party, taking place at the historic Opera House. Grab your tickets at the registration counter while they last!

Day 3 will offer sessions on multifamily, water efficiency, innovation, and a building science case study. Stick around for the closing plenary featuring Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, as well as Sam Rashkin.

See you tomorrow!

The Value of a Golden Ribbon

Find out what the golden ribbons are about and why you should seek them out at the EEBA Summit next week.
The Value of a Golden Ribbon

When you finally arrive at the EEBA High Performance Home Summit in just less than a week, keep a lookout for attendees who have a golden ribbon attached to their badge. These distinct ribbons will either say “NEXTGEN SCHOLAR” or “NEXTGEN SPONSOR” and represent students and sponsors who are part of EEBA’s NextGen Scholarship Initiative.

 

 

The goal of the NextGen Initiative is to bring students, recent graduates, and young professionals from around the U.S. to the High Performance Home Summit, as well as other regional trainings, where they can connect with potential mentors and employers.

The goal of the NextGen Initiative is to bring students, recent graduates, and young professionals from around the U.S. to the High Performance Home Summit, as well as other regional trainings, where they can connect with potential mentors and employers.

Last year, prior to the official launch of the Initiative, EEBA brought 16 participants of the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenge to San Diego for the 2018 Summit. They were each provided complimentary transportation, meals, accommodations, and a full Summit registration.

University of Waterloo student Sara Turner, one of the 2018 “Bring a Student to EEBA” scholarship recipients says, “We were blown away by how welcoming EEBA members were. We had such a positive experience learning more about building science through the seminars and activities.”

When you get to Denver, go find the NextGen Scholars, get to know them, and see why EEBA is so invested in this Initiative. And at the same time, make sure to give a big thanks to the NextGen Sponsors that you meet. If you’re inspired to donate towards the Initiative you can do so online or by talking to one of the EEBA Staff Members. See you in the mile-high city!

EEBA Small Talk

Next week you’ll be at the High Performance Home Summit in Denver, sitting at a table with some people you may not know. If you’re not the best at small talk, don’t worry, we’ve prepared a list of 5 Things to Know Before You Get to EEBA.
EEBA Small Talk

 

The Soleil Lofts will demonstrate a virtual solar power plant with all 600 homes in the Herriman, Utah community generating and storing energy. The project will utilize Sonnen EcoLinx batteries and local utility company Rocky Mountain Power will use the batteries to provide emergency power and manage peak energy use. Read more about Soleil Lofts.

 

Whether it’s the DOE’s Housing Innovation Awards or the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS Leader Awards, it’s likely you’ll find yourself sitting next to a winner at some point during the Summit. C&B Custom Homes, Charis Homes, Fulton Homes, Mandalay Homes, Maracay Homes, Thrive Home Builders, E3 Energy, Energy Inspectors, JKP Energy Inspections, Steven Winter Associates all received recognition for Indoor airPLUS awards. Companies receiving awards for the Housing Innovation Awards can be found here. Don’t miss the awards ceremonies on Days 1 and 2 during lunch.

 

 

The NextGen Scholarship Initiative will give you the opportunity to meet some phenomenal students at the Summit. Don’t miss the chance to sit down and chat with one or all of them. The students will be guests from three of the Solar Decathlon winning teams.  We promise you’ll be inspired, encouraged, and challenged!

 

 

Still controversial, Denver is supposedly the birthplace of the cheeseburger (Louis Ballast, 1935). And although I think the best cheeseburger can be found in Charleston at Little Jack’s Tavern on King Street, it might be worth a late-night adventure to see what Denver has to offer. Besides cheeseburgers, Denver will please the pickiest foodie and is also home to some great craft beer - so grab a new friend and go explore!

 

On the second night of the EEBA Summit you’ll have the opportunity to party inside the historic Opera House from 7pm to 10:30pm. There will be music, dancing, comedy, games, and plenty of networking opportunities. Don’t miss this event! Tickets will be on sale at the Registration Desk.

 

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