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Home Energy Seminary
Save Money!
Protect the Climate!
Home Energy Seminary
1. Introduction: Climate Change
2. Home Energy: Lights
3. Appliances:
Fridges, Washing machines, AC
4. A little Physics: Understanding your
Building diagnostics
Insulation vs. Air-tightness
5. Windows
6. Heating Systems
Cumulative CO2 Emissions from
The Ecological Debt of the North
Graph by Martin Storksdiek
“As the global climate changes,
extreme weather events such as
droughts, floods, heat waves,
heavy rainfall, tropical storms
and hurricanes are expected to
(Dr. David Easterling, National Climatic Data Center, 9-26-00)
Flooding of the Ohio river (NOAA Photo Library;
Temperature rise of 1 degree
Celsius from the end of the
twentieth century will leave up to 30
percent of species at risk of
extinction. (IPCC, FAR)
Climate Change &
Extreme Drought
Severe drought as a result of
global warming threatens to
spread across half the Earth's land
surface by 2100, turning one third
of the planet into a desert.
(Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, 2006)
Drought Popenguine, Senegal
(United Nations Photo Library
Climate Change & Equity
Average Bangladeshi produces 0.2 tons of CO2
Average American produces 21 tons of CO2
Millions of Bangladeshi will loose their home and
livelihood due to sea level rise.
The Solutions to Climate
Change can address many
other problems:
Energy Security
National Security
Job Security
Local Air Pollution
An estimated 94% of materials
become waste before a product is
even manufactured.
Only 6 per cent of materials
extracted each year are
embodied in durable goods!
Home Energy Seminary
Save Money! Protect the Climate!
Americans spend more than $160 billion a year
to heat, cool, light and live in our homes.
Homes use about 21% of the energy we use as a nation.
Homes contribute about 17% of our national emissions of
greenhouse gases.
Switch To Compact Fluorescent Light
bulbs (CFLs)!
More expensive upfront ($1-$12)
but they'll save $30-$50!
Many different types of CFLs
available (including for small
fixtures, 3-ways, etc).
Last 10 times longer!
Watch for available rebates.
Compact fluorescent bulbs
• Take 1-2 min to reach fullest brightness
• Are less bright when it is cold
• If you are concerned about brightness, buy a brighter one!
• Should not flicker after 1-2 seconds
Compact fluorescent bulbs
• Are not all of equally good quality
• Test out a brand before you invest in a lot of them
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs:
• Regular CFLs don’t work in dimmable
• Buy a dimmable CFL
• Check out for other
specialty bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs
• Have a small amount of mercury: call your city about
disposal. (But they still use less mercury than would have been
produced at the power plant when you use a regular incandescent bulb)
Compact fluorescent bulb
If every household in the
US replaced 5 fixtures with
800 billion kWh
The equivalent of shutting
down 21 power plants.
Halogen Torchieres
Energy Hog!
Nice light but…
Uses 300W – 500W….
(a normal bulb uses 60W)
Halogen torchieres are also a
fire hazard!
Buy a torchiere with CFL!
Energy Star:
Look for the energy star label! More than 35 product
categories are available with the ENERGY STAR
Careful! Energy Star appliances are rated by size
Look for the smallest appliance that fits your needs.
If your refrigerator is more than 8 years old, it
makes sense to replace it. The new one will pay for
itself in energy savings in about 3-6 years.
Again! Energy Star appliances are rated by size
Look for the smallest refrigerator that fits your
needs! Side-by-side are least efficient.
Washing Machines
BAD: Top-loader
GOOD: Front-loader
40 to 60% less water
30 to 50% less energy
50 to 70% less detergent
Front –loading Washing Machines
Top-loader: 40 gallons of water per load.
Front loader: 20 - 25 gallons.
You could save as much as
7,000 gallons of water per year!
Gentler on clothes.
Decreases drying time considerably.
Do a better job cleaning clothes.
Be modern, get a front-loader!
Top-loaders are the technology your grand-parents used!!!
P.S. Only do full loads. Use cold water as often as possible.
Conventional Dryer
800-1000 kW/year
•$80-$120/ year
Be old-fashioned - dry your clothes like your
grand-parents did!
Tip: If you do not have time to hang all your clothes, hang the heavy, and thick items: towels, sheets,
Use Fans Instead of AC!
Only 10-15% of the energy an AC uses.
(Shut the fan off when you leave the room, because it
does not actually cool the air but just move it. The
exception to this is a window fan to get cool night air
from the outside into the house.)
Be cheap! Turn it off!
Most electricity is used by things that are on a lot and
use a lot of power:
Refrigerator (500kWh-1300 kWh per year)
Freezer (500kWh-1300 kWh per year)
Desktop Computer (300-1000 kWh per year)
Don’t forget to turn your heat or AC off /down!
Great Myths
Turning off your computer
will harm it.
This used to be true back when computers had green screens
and punch cards……
Great Myths
Leaving your heat on is more efficient than turning it
down because you need so much energy to heat the
house back up.
Think about it!
It’s as if you’d claim that putting down your suitcase while
waiting for the bus uses more energy than holding it up the
whole time, because you’d have to pick it up again.
Get an Energy Audit
A professional will be able to
analyze your house and give you
You’ll get most out of it, if you are well educated!
Prepare well and ask lot’s of questions!
A Little Physics:
How Heat Travels:
The flow of hot and cold gases
This is how heat travels through leaks,
cracks and gaps in your house.
Will she be warm enough in
the winter?
Air leaks:
This is why you wear a wind breaker
over your woolen sweater!
Blower-Door Test
Where is the Energy Going?
Windows 1%
What You Can Do:
Use weather stripping
and caulking!
Stay warm!
Save Money!
Protect the Climate!
From the simple to
the sophisticated,
air sealing pays!
It’s cheap, it works!
Heat exchange between adjacent molecules
This is how heat travels through materials.
Some materials conduct heat better than others.
Insulation slows the movement of heat.
This is why you wear a
woolen sweater in winter and a
cotton sweatshirt in the summer!
Infra-red Photography
How Conduction is measured:
Insulation is rated by:
Resistance: R-Value
High R-value = high insulation properties
You want: High R- Value
Windows are rated by:
Conductance: U-value
Low U-value = high insulation properties
You want: Low U- Value
Two components to good weatherization:
Minimize air leaks
Optimize insulation
How Your House Loses Heat
Insulation (conduction):
Get your walls and attic insulated!
Insulating your walls and attic, along with addressing
leaks around your doors and windows, can save as
much as 30% on your heating bill.
Insulate before you replace windows: it will cost
you much less and save you more.
Watch out for active
knob-and-tube wiring
before you insulate!
Insulation materials
Insulation materials
Fiberglass Vs. Cellulose
Fiberglass vs. Cellulose
Fiberglass: like a woolen sweater
+ easy to install
+ can be cheaper
+ moisture tolerant
- does not stop air flow
- poor fire protection
- most of the times poorly installed
Cellulose: like a down jacket
+ stops air flow
+ better fire protection
+ can fill up nooks and crannies.
- does not tolerate moisture very well
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @
Cellulose Installation
This should be the very first home improvement you do!
Pay back is 1-5 years
Cost: $1000 - $5000
Insulation Materials
Icynene; 2-part polyurethanes; Soy-based
General Insulation Strategies
Use an insulation that air-seals and insulates
– Spray foam
– Dense-pack (or wet-spray) cellulose
When practical, insulate the outermost plane
– Attic roof rather than floor joists
– Crawlspace floor and walls rather than ceiling
– Basement walls rather than ceiling
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @
Electro-magnetic waves emitted from hot objects
This is the how the sun heats the surface of the earth.
This is why it can get very hot in a car in the summer.
Window Replacement
+ New high-quality windows are definitively more
energy-efficient and will cut your heating bills.
+ You’ll get rid of lead paint.
+ New windows are easier to operate and clean.
- High-quality windows are expensive ($300-$600 per
- They have a very long pay back (30-50 years)
- Esthetics
Window Replacement
The Do’s
• Get double or triple pane windows.
• Get high quality windows.
• Make sure to get an experienced
installer who will pay attention to
details (and insulate the weight box)
• Get Low-e coating with argon fill.
• Wood or fiberglass frames are
The Don’t’s
• Don’t get single pane.
• Don’t be lured by the cheap price of some
windows. You really get what you pay for.
Invest in good storms, weather stripping,
caulk, plastic
Heating Systems
Heating Systems
Largest energy expense in the home.
What system?
Steam, hot water, forced air?
Gas, oil, electric, wood
Most systems are
To tell how much, see how long it runs
out of each hour during cold weather.
If less than half the time,
a smaller system will save energy.
Replacing your system:
Insist on a heat loss analysis
(ACCA Manual J)
If your plumber sizes the system by the old system,
take your business elsewhere!
Go for over 90% efficiency.
(Gas boilers can achieve higher
Check for rebates!
Replacing a Heating System
Don’t trust just your plumber!
A little upfront research can make a
big difference.
Get this book,
it will change your life:
Electric Heat
Stay away form electric heat.
It’s very expensive!!!!
No electric water heater
No electric furnaces
No space heaters
If you want to heat only a small space in a large house
Oil or Gas?
#2 Heating Oil
1/3 more carbon
emissions than
natural gas
Natural Gas
More climate friendly!
More chimney friendly!
Less air pollution!
No oil tank!
More expensive than oil….
… unfortunately, doing the
right thing is not always the
cheaper thing…
Efficiency can make up for it.
No oil tanks, no hazards…
Saving energy in your home does more
than just save money!
It’s a step towards securing the future for
our children!
Thank You!
High-cost but
low-impact issues
Vapor barriers
– Vapor diffusion not a big problem in our
– Big difference between a vapor barrier and
an air barrier
– Vapor barrier paints
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @
High-cost but low-impact issues
Roof venting
– Cold roof vs. hot roof (vented vs. unvented)
– Instead of investing heavily in venting,
invest in better roof insulation
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @
Roof venting: Ice dams
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @
• Solve the big problems first—health &
safety issues
• Control moisture and pollutants at source
• Air-seal and insulate (with the same
material if possible)
• Perform pre- and post-weatherization
evaluations (blower door, infrared)
Slide by Paul Eldrenkamp @