Energy 02

Energy 02

When we talk all the time about building the Most Energy Efficient Home in Vermont there are many details that need to be addressed.  All of the various details add up to a Super Insulated home that is Energy Efficient.  Today we are going to address the topic of Heat Loss.

Heat Loss simply put is money "going up the chimney" and then doing damage to the environment.  So, if you want to do the right thing or the financially responsible thing you need to cut back on Heat Loss as much as possible.  Heat is lost in your new home in several ways:

  • Heat will through convection ooze its way through various materials.  The greater the resistance to heat transfer directly through an insulated wall the better.  Can the heat loss directly through a wall be 100% stopped?  No, the best we can do is hold it back inside the house. So, the higher the R-Value in a wall the better because it resists heat loss better.  Honestly, the word ooze is probably a good one because without being very scientific heat does just ooze directly through a wall.  
  • Heat will travel very quickly through an open penetration in the building envelope.  So when mom told you to "shut the door."  She was telling you to be careful of heat loss.  It may seem odd but a building has many holes or penetrations.  Today's picture shows how small holes are sealed shut with the use of spray foam.  The picture shows a plumbing pipe and there are many.  Pipes go through the envelope in a hole that is always larger than the pipe, the extra space is obviously a source of heat loss.  That is why we foam things shut.
  • Every penetration within the building envelope is foamed shut.  This eliminates heat loss through those holes.  
  • Cold air penetration - the cold air coming in, usually towards the bottom of the building is one of the most critical holes in the building envelope.

Chimney effect - 

  • One of the greatest losses of heat is through the chimney effect where cold air penetrates the building towards the bottom and escapes through a small hole towards the top of the building.
  • It may not seem like a significant concept but the loss of air and all of the heat in that air will have a huge impact on your home's heat loss.
  • Air movement, cold air in and hot air out, will drag with it a lot of energy.
  • In the winter how many times have you put your hand near an electrical outlet and felt all that cold air?  That is cold air penetrating the building and it is leaving somewhere.  But, when the air leaves the home it is no longer cold, it drags the heat with it.

Modular Construction - 

  • When a home is built inside a modular plant it is built the same but in a different sequence.  
    • One of the very first parts of your new home to be installed is the interior sheetrock, long before insulation and the exterior plywood.  Remember, your home is being built inside.
    • All of the electrical outlets, light switches, plumbing pipes, wires, and what not are all sealed shut with foam.  All this is done from the backside so you will never see the foam.
    • The foaming shut of penetrations CAN NOT be done on a site built home because the sheetrock is one of the very LAST things to be installed so the backside of all those pipes and switches are no longer accessable.
  • Modular homes are simply better built!

Call us, we'd love to discuss all this more.


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