Energy Use in Buildings
Ventilation in New Homes - A report of site visit findings Zero Carbon Hub
- The Zero Carbon Hub (“the Hub”) visited 33 dwellings across 6 construction sites in 2015 to see how effectively their mechanical ventilation systems were designed, installed, commissioned and handed over to occupants. This report presents the findings from the site visits anonymously. It is intended for organisations with an interest in quality assuring the delivery of ventilation systems, including government policymakers, developers and their advisers. In summary, the Hub team found things going wrong at multiple stages of the construction process at every site. The cumulative effect of these issues ultimately outweighed any good practice, as the systems we tested showed significant under-performance. At 5 of the 6 sites, fans were operating at only half the required duty or lower, i.e. flow rates were far too low. The end result was that nearly all of the 13 occupants interviewed by the team across the sites had turned off their ventilation systems, finding them too noisy, especially at night. If systems are turned off, they are not doing their job. The air quality in the property will be compromised, with potentially serious consequences for the health of occupants.
- The National Audit Office has concluded that the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) Green Deal has not achieved value for money. The scheme, which cost taxpayers £240 million, including grants to stimulate demand, has not generated additional energy savings because DECC’s design and implementation did not persuade householders that energy efficiency measures are worth paying for, says the report. Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, published on 14 April, also concluded that DECC’s design of its Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme to support the Green Deal added to energy suppliers’ costs of meeting their obligations. This reduced the value for money of ECO, but the Department’s information is not detailed enough to conclude by how much. Suppliers have met their obligations for saving carbon dioxide (CO2) and reducing bills.
LEGO-like recycled plastic bricks create sturdy homes for just $5,200 lacy Cooke; inhabit; 22 Jul 2016
- Colombian company Conceptos Plásticos saw two pressing issues in the world and decided to tackle both with recycled building materials. One issue is the housing crisis, prevalent in Latin America where 80 percent of the population now resides in urban areas. The second is the overwhelming amount of plastic crowding landfills. To combat these issues, Conceptos Plásticos recycles plastic into LEGO-like building blocks that families can use to easily construct their own homes.
Factory machines to heat homes under huge green networks plan Emily Gosden; Daily Telegraph; 28 Aug 2016
- Hundreds of thousands of homes are to be heated using warmth generated by industrial machinery, geothermal energy and even Tube trains, under government-backed plans for a major expansion of “heat networks”.
Low energy / more sustainable
To Fight Pollution, He's Reinventing The Mongolian Tent KATYA CENGEL; NPR; 4 Mar
- Improvements to traditional Ger etc in Mongolia
Passivhaus & better
Transforming the market to make net zero energy housing a reality in the UK Energiesprong UK Limited, National Energy Centre, Milton Keynes MK5 8NG
- low energy housing retrofits
Irish county becomes first in English speaking world to make Passive House standard mandatory (Lloyd Alter; TreeHugger; 23 Feb 2016)
EnerPHit - The new Passivhaus refurbishment standard from the Passivhaus Institute Melissa Taylor, Passivhaus Trust; Mar 2011
Hot apartments: 'If we need air conditioning, we've designed it wrong' Lydia Hales; The Guardian; 10 Apr 2017
- researchers are calling for an upgrade to the Australian building code to include measures of apartment overheating during design, and for retrofit improvements to vulnerable apartments – and to bring the guidelines in line with international practice in a warming climate.
- After the deaths of 14,800 people from heat stress in France in 2003, the French building code now requires that buildings can maintain a “comfortable” indoor temperature without the need for active cooling systems. It stipulates that room temperatures do not exceed 28C for more than 260 hours throughout a year.
Passive Radiative Cooling Moves Out Of The Lab & Into The Real World Steve Hanley; CleanTechnica; 29 Oct 2018
- In August of 2017, we brought you news of a new hybrid material that can lower the temperature of a building without the use of electricity, using a process known as passive radiative cooling. The challenge was creating a material that can reflect incoming solar rays back into the atmosphere while still providing a means of escape for infrared radiation. The researchers embedded glass micro-spheres into a polymer film. The spheres scatter visible light while allowing infrared radiation to escape. Then they added a thin silver coating underneath in order to achieve maximum spectral reflectance.
SkyCool – extraordinary paint on a hot tin roof Steve Davidson; CSIRO ECOS magazine; 1 Apr 2004 (?!)
- Also at Skycool website
- An invention by Conrad Wojtysiak, an industrial chemist with a passion for paint and solving problems, has led to a new roof coating that almost defies the conventional laws of physics. SkyCoolTM provides a profound cooling effect that can halve the running costs of mechanical air-conditioning in buildings with metal roofs.
- Rex Lehmann, of Lehmann Pacific Solar Pty Ltd, who has taken the roof coating from clever invention to commercial product, says it is a water-based, non-toxic, acrylic polymer matrix that eliminates the solar heat entering through roofs. Results of tests conducted by Professor Geoff Smith, of the University of Technology, Sydney, and Professor John Bell, of the Queensland University of Technology, show that the coating eliminates heat gains through roofs due to an unusual combination of two properties. The coating has both high solar reflectance (85%) and high thermal emittance (more than 94%). The high solar reflectance means that only a small fraction of incoming solar energy is converted to heat by the roof, the rest being reflected. High thermal emittance results in a lot of heat being lost by radiation from the roof.
- This unique combination of properties has, until now, proved elusive because coatings with high thermal emittance are usually black or dark coloured. SkyCool, however, has a split personality. Unusually, it is ‘white’ at solar wavelengths (low solar absorbance) and ‘black’ at thermal wavelengths (high radiative capacity). The coating acts as a ‘passive heat pump’, cooling the roof and taking the building’s interior to below ambient temperature – just by being there. This radiative cooling occurs both day and night, provided the sky is clear.
- Heat Pumps Today was first published in 2009 in response to growing demand from the market for information focused on the ground source, water source and air source heat pumps.