Beyond Sustainability Surviving Peak Oil & Climate Change

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Solving the Biggest Energy Problem –
Our Homes!
The Staged Passive Energy Retrofit
(SPER) Concept
Presented by
Pat Murphy,
Executive Director,
Community Solutions
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
March 2010
U.S. Energy Consumption Breakdown

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Energy for U.S. homes alone greater than world average use
49% of U.S. energy is used in buildings
 39% operating, 10% embodied (building) energy
U.S. has about 115 million residences (80 million houses)
 New building ~1.0 million units/yr. typically
U.S. Homes – Size Matters

U.S. home size
 2008 – 2,200 sq. ft.
 1959 – 1,000 sq. ft.

Per capita square foot
 1950 – 260 sq. ft.
 2008 – 800 sq. ft.

U.S. residences twice as large
as those in Europe or Japan
 Use 2.4 times energy

U.S. citizens want big homes
U.S. Energy Use in Buildings


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Building energy use is understood very well
Techniques and products exist for much better efficiency
Weatherization programs provide experience
for existing homes
“Green Building” – Too Little, Too Late
LEED and EnergyStar Ineffective

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Green programs reduce energy
use by 15-20%
 Need 80-90%
“Green buildings” are only about
5% of new construction
 Less than 1% of existing homes
are “green” after 10 years

Will take decades to turn over the
building stock

By then it will be too late!
Can Building Energy Use be Cut by 90%?

There is a technology that can do this
 The German “PasivHaus” or Passive House

Basis of the technology
 “Super insulation” – R40-60
 “Super air-tight”
 “Super windows” (triple-glazed) – R7

And a new device – Heat Recovery Ventilator
 House can’t “breath” (which means leak) anymore
“Thick” Tight Envelope – The Core Concepts

Based on SuperInsulated House
of 1970s
(Shurcliff)

Early version of
German
“Passive House”
13th Annual Passive House Conference

Held April 2009 in Frankfurt, Germany
 1,200 attendees from around world
 100 presenters

Tours of homes/schools

About 20,000 passive houses/buildings to date


18 years since first one was built – a maturing technology
 Great windows, heat exchangers, insulation, sealants
Achieving 90% heating/cooling energy reduction
Housing Revolution – Passive House

Germany energy reduction target – 90%

Realized most energy consumed is in buildings

Defined passive building as energy used/sq. ft.
 Passive houses have no whole house heating
systems – small backup units only

Passive House being codified in German laws

Germany the leading nation in wind and solar
 And in super efficient buildings!
Passive House History/Description

Continuation of U.S. 1970/80s
super-insulated movement

Germany picked up U.S. work
and developed it further
 U.S. lost Interest

4 Passive House conferences
held in U.S. to date
The Passive House – U.S. Status

Fundamental spec – use 90% less
heating/cooling energy

Germans are teaching U.S. builders

20+ U.S. versions built or in process

Super-insulated – thick shell
 14-inch walls
 Corresponding thick floor/roofs

Very small heating system or AC
 Uses heat exchanger for ventilation

Costs 10% more than conventional house
Some Passive House Elements Illustrated
Passive House Addresses Heating/Cooling Remainder Is Appliances and Lifestyle

Eliminates leaks: 20% of energy costs

New windows next big savings

Thick, tight “building envelope”

Ductwork in the conditioned space

Better appliances found in Europe
 Will appear in the U.S. at some point

Still need habit changes
Passive House – Key Future Technology

Heating/cooling/ventilation
 Envelope/windows/air tight
 Heat exchanger for ventilation
 Addresses about half the energy use

Appliances are improving continuously
 Sun Frost refrigerators
 On-demand hot water heaters

Plug loads can be managed
 Some habit change also needed

All together will provide 80-90% reduction by 2050
But!!! This Is for New Homes

New Passive Houses cost 10% more

Passive House retrofits cost 40-50% of new building costs
 Easy to build new – hard to retrofit the old
 Retrofitting very labor intensive
 The good news – retrofits can obtain 90% energy savings

There are many people trying retrofits
 Need leading-edge people
 Maria Everhart – “In any area of social change, someone has
got to go first”

A recent Passive Retrofit – The Carriage House
Carriage House Retrofit – 2008

Approximately 1,000 square feet

100-year-old Carriage House
Foundation and Floors

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Floors – vapor-barrier, 2’’ rigid foam, 7.5” floor joists, fiberglass

Insulation = R30+ (code is R11)
Vertical 2’’ rigid insulation on foundation walls
 Reduce ground heat loss
Walls, Ceilings and Roofs

Walls – double stud, 9 – 14 inches thick (R30 – R40)

Ceiling/roof – dense pack insulation R40+ (code is R30)

High-performance doors and windows
Retrofit Building Energy Savings and $$


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Wide range of estimates to redo all homes
 115 million residence @ $60,000 + is $7 trillion.
Far cheaper than paying fuel bills – e.g. 2010 to 2050 (40 years)
 Save 10 BOE yearly– estimate $200 BOE eqv. in 2012+
 $2,000 yearly for 40 years = $80,000
 Life cycle analysis shows this is a win-win situation
Culture might change to 1950s values – homeowners do work
Still a new concept is needed
 Staged Passive Energy Retrofitting – SPER
SPER Retrofitting

Idea may have originated with Linda Wigington of ACI
 The “1000 Home Challenge” Effort – 2007

Department of Energy made big change in 2009
 De-emphasis on Building America Program
 Initiated the Retrofit for Recovery Program

University of Dayton and Community Solutions formed
Yellow Springs Energy Partnership to study energy use

Local companies formed in Yellow Springs and Troy, Ohio
DOE Strategic Plan for Recovery Through
Retrofit Addresses Three Problems
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Market Barrier 1: Consumers need reliable home retrofitting information
to make informed decisions
Solution 1: We must provide straightforward and credible information to
American homeowners on the costs and benefits of home energy
retrofits
Market Barrier 2: The costs of home retrofit projects are beyond the
average homeowner’s budget
Solution 2: We must make it easy for homeowners to identify and
access home energy retrofit financing tools and products
Market Barrier 3: Increase the number of skilled workers and green
entrepreneurs to successfully expand efficiency retrofit programs on a
national scale
Solution 3: Mobilize a skilled national energy retrofit workforce and
expand good, green job opportunities for all American workers
Community Solutions Prepared Response

Wide range of partners
 Community Solutions (Yellow Springs non-profit), Yellow
Springs energy audit company, University of Dayton Building
Energy Center, Troy, Ohio construction company

Began working in anticipation of winning the award
 Decided to form a company regardless of the award
 Idea looked better and better

Key partner provided breakthrough ideas
 Staged retrofitting – visit home multiple times over years
 Low-, middle- and high-hanging fruit picked over a decade
 Bring the mass production factory to the neighborhood
SPER Key Factors of Success

Cut labor costs in half by innovation
 Use factory techniques in the home neighborhood

Build a long-term relationship with homeowner
 Become their “energy reduction” utility
 Review their usage – call when something happens

Provide financing – repayment from lower energy bills

Upgrade the home in stages to meet 2050 needs
 Using low-cost technologies that will appear

Use Passive House technology in later stages as technology
gained from new builds decreases cost
Summary


Passive building technology proven – goes back to 1970s
 Different than green building with its marginal energy savings
 Focus is on deep energy reductions
Costs have been tested – 10% more for new, 40-50% cost of new
for retrofit

Government now understands need to retrofit

Early adopters (including CS) preparing the examples

Building companies seeing the opportunity

Innovative finance ideas coming
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Could actually meet 90% reduction by 2050 with political will
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