“So what can we do to keep homes improving from an energy efficiency standpoint?”

For a long time, answers such as “improve insulation” or “designed better HVAC” systems would have likely been what first came to mind. However, with new building guidelines, standards, and especially with the emergence of organizations such as LEED, Energy Star, and the National Green Building Standard coming to the main stage, a lot of what can be done from a design standpoint has been covered. 

The title of this entry is more of a question, rather than statement, although it could be interpreted either way. What I would like to ask all of you is “What do you think the next big leap in building efficiency will be”?

My own personal guess would be window efficiency and the introduction of this handy little material that some of you probably already know about. Its called “Aerogel”, and it has the potential to revolutionize window efficiency. Currently, glass is one of the most energy inefficient materials used in building construction. Even double, or triple pane glass tend to lose their effectiveness after approximately 10 years. At the expense of some partial degree of clarity, Aerogel, as a window insulator could drastically improve the efficiency of windows without (but with, would be better) the use of storm windows or plastic window wrap (you know, the annoying material you need to put up in the winter).

While not directly aimed at window insulation, take a quick look at the article below and tell me what you think. Cheers.

http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/04/11/aerogel-insulation-adva...

 

Learn more about Hickory Energy at www.hickoryenergy.com

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Tags: aerogel, efficiency, energy, window

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Comment by Leo Klisch on January 29, 2011 at 11:27am
The idea of geothermal seasonal heat storage has been played with in Europe and the US for sometime now. I found a 60 unit single family housing development in Alberta Canada that installed a system that they feel will provide 90% of space heating as solar heat. They started "charging" the system in 2007 and so far performance is as good or better than expected. They are very near the 80 C core temperature. This will all be done with thermal solar panels and without heat pumps.
Comment by Leo Klisch on January 29, 2011 at 11:15am
Comment by David Eggleton on January 13, 2011 at 7:42am
  1. Changing window types (some fixed/inoperable) and sizes - larger on the southern side(s), smaller on the northern side(s) - when updating windows.
  2. Solar task heating.
  3. Changing the building orientation for more solar gain and adding thermal mass for more heat storage/management.

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