June 7th, 2012

Ann Vole

Zero Energy house experts seem to not exist

Zero Energy house experts seem to not exist
I was just looking at a new book specifically on zero energy houses (that term was part of it's title). The preamble was interesting but never said anything new to me. What I really wanted was a whole book on specific topics only mentioned in one paragraph or not at all. Some of my favorite solutions to extreme efficiency were not even mentioned. Instead, the discussion was primarily better uses of fuel and electricity for a "net-zero" energy home (makes more electricity then the energy it uses and sells it to the grid to balance out to not be using more energy then it makes). If I want a book on true zero energy homes (no utilities, no fuels), looks like I need to write my own. One example of a complete loss of an important topic was radiant heating. Radiant heating results in lowered costs of heating by a factor of 2 in many situations (especially in well-insulated buildings)... not even mentioned. Solar thermal heat... only mentioned for hot water production and then only a few sentences... no mention of choices of transfer fluids. Absolutely no mention of batteries as the author assumed everyone is grid-tied. Air-to-air heat exchangers was given a few sentences and even cast doubts as to it's usefulness... for me it accounts for close to half the energy savings narrowly beating insulation and totally eclipsing all other aspects. I have taken the courses for certification as a Canadian heating system designer and took their formulas and recommended methods to the extreme of not needing a furnace and the numbers show that a better heat exchanger and thick enough insulation can eliminate a furnace... or pull back slightly and a thermal solar system with radiant heat (and in the walls) will result in substantial cost savings.

Got to write that book right away as it is needed badly.