Beyond Sustainability Surviving Peak Oil & Climate Change

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
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
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
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
Early version of
“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
 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
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 $$
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
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
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
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
Could actually meet 90% reduction by 2050 with political will
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