NET-ZERO HOMES - Design Phase Services

BUILDING ENVELOPE STRATEGIC REVIEW

Modern homes are built in compliance with the applicable Building Code.  The Building Code represents a minimum standard relative to the components, subsystems  and method used to construct the building.  Builders endeavor to create more efficient structures by incorporating new products and methods directed at perceived structural deficiencies. This approach tends to be haphazard and the performance results are not generally cost effective.

The more effective approach is a comprehensive review of the entire building system.  An in-depth review of the building envelope using critical techniques to identify any of the three methods of thermal energy  transfer.

  • Conduction – traveling through a material,
  • Convection – transferring of heat from one place to another by the movement of fluid (air usually),
  • Radiation – Heating/Cooling by radiant energy. For example: energy gained from the sun during the day and lost to space at night.

How do the components/products utilized in the build fit together, do they create an effective  thermal barrier?  Are the methods consistent with healthy living?  Are the movement of humidity and energy through the envelope controlled effectively?.  Windows are one example of a build element that requires critical review  The “right” window is chosen on the basis of function, performance and value. In many cases, the all-important thermal performance of the window frame is lost to exotic coatings and claimed thermal enhancement of glazing.  This process is repeated to varying degrees throughout all the building materials and methods.

We produce a listed review of the elements and what to expect of the performance.  We are reviewing the build design to find the best technology for your building, not just the ones that meet building code.  Also, the review is set to encourage a cost benefit of each suggested critical element.  Then the owner can decide if the expense is worthwhile.

This review will provide you with a clear understanding of what each building element is delivering based on energy cost savings and longevity, and therefore operating costs of your home.  This discussion happens at the time when changes are possible and cheaply made to the design.

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HEAT LOSS/GAIN CALCULATION AND MODELING

This service takes your building CAD files and enters them into a simulation software for calculating the thermal requirements and reactions of your home.  This is needed to properly size and design your heating, air conditioning and air ventilation systems (HVAC).  The resulting design and calculations provided, fulfil requirements of your building permit application.  We then use all the simulation data to create ‘best fit’ solutions for your HVAC system.

Traditionally the HVAC designer will not review the best fit technology for your home.  They will only suggest and provide a “distribution” system that meets you requirement by code. They do not compare various energy sources that may be available at your location, PV (Photovoltaic), natural gas, propane, heat pumps (air/ground source), Solar thermal, etc.  In most cases, a combination of the technologies will have the potential to dramatically lower your long term energy bills.

We take that simulation information and create multiple suggested systems by providing you with financial analysis over 20 year life cycle of ownership.  This enables you to make informed decisions based on overall life costs of your home.  Over 70% of your energy expense is attributed to Space Heat/Air Conditioning and Domestic Hot Water. We provide you with viable options to reduce these ongoing operating costs and facilitate you making an informed decision.

RENEWABLE ELECTRICAL ENERGY SYSTEM( SOLAR OR WIND)

Renewable energy sources are now becoming commonplace.  In order to properly leverage their value in your home, we will provide you with a 20 year cost of ownership simulation.  With over 20 years in renewable energy system design and installation, we will ensure that the system design takes into account all of the environmental variables your site and home design has.

Using renewable generation means a source of power when the grid is down and a high level of safety and security for your family.  We will discuss various system options.  Basic systems, just used to offset some of your power consumed and lower your bills.  Backup systems, that offset power from the grid and provide backup power in case of grid failure.  Then full off-grid systems that mean little or no yearly expense once installed and no grid hook up.

These systems are an integral part of reaching the Net Zero energy target for your home.

RENEWABLE THERMAL ENERGY SYSTEMS

The most efficient use of sun energy is to produce heat.  These solar thermal systems can easily produce all the hot water needed for domestic daily use.  We will also explore using solar hot water to heat your pool, or hot tub to reduce the energy needed by those items.  The final use of solar thermal would be to supplement your heating for the home.

Normally the final installation produces heat for as many of the home functions as possible.  This means you produce pool heat for the spring and fall, hot water during summer, and then produce part of the heat for the home during the winter.  That way your investment in solar thermal is best utilized and gives the best return on investment.

These systems are also an integral part of reaching the Net Zero energy target for your home.

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