Friday, January 29, 2010

Building Green Homes

As I posted about earlier this week we can save energy and money by switching to district heating, but there are other things that we can be doing to make our buildings more efficient. These things will save energy and may even save money on the construction cost of a building. The first step is to plan a building with knowledge of the outside environment. As an example, you wouldn't want to place big glass windows facing the afternoon sun. Buildings should also include passive sources for heating, cooling, and ventilation like operable windows, window shapes, and shutters. Many office building currently do not do this. Interesting enough, heating and moving air directly around a building is very inefficient. A better way to heat and cool buildings is through radiant heating sources like pumping chilled or heated water around a building. This ties in perfectly with district heating that uses water.

With these simple changes to the way we build, we could get very close to 0 emissions buildings. Pretty exciting stuff. For more information check out Rumsey Engineers website.

2 comments:

Bregalad said...

I have to respectfully disagree with the suggestion that large windows be placed to catch the afternoon sun.

In summer there is so much heat pouring in the large west facing windows in my house that we have to close the curtains and turn on air conditioning. And yes that's in Vancouver where supposedly it never gets that hot.

In winter all windows lose more heat than they capture from the sun.

Maybe there are times when it makes sense, but certainly not the peak energy usage seasons so I say choose window sizes and locations for other reasons.

Nathan Pachal said...

Thanks for catching this typo. I meant wouldn't. You are correct, a big window collecting heat in the summer is not a good idea.