Monday, December 26, 2011

A house with no furnace? You betcha

Sometime in the next few weeks, Paul Brazelton will move his family into a 1935 Tudor in south Minneapolis that has no furnace. He's just finished a massive renovation of the family home and even though winter's bearing down, he removed the boiler and plans to use that basement space for his daughters' home-school classroom.
He also took out the fireplace.
If this sounds like the most uninviting house (and classroom) in Minneapolis, there's something else to know: Brazelton, a software engineer and passionate environmentalist, has nearly finished a retrofit of his house to the stringent engineering standards of the Passivhaus model, a German system of homebuilding that uses insulation and highly efficient doors and windows to save energy.
The finished 2,000-square-foot home could be warmed even in the dead of winter with a pair of small space heaters, Brazelton said, though the family plans to piggyback on their hot water heater and use an in-floor heating system in the basement.
"We're really nervous," said Brazelton, half-joking, "because when it's 20 degrees below and you can feel your house contracting and cracking like it's just trying to resist the cold, it's hard to believe that two space heaters from Target will do the trick for us."
The finished project is on track to be certified by the Passivhaus institute of Darmstadt, Germany, as the first "EnerPHit" home in North America, according to their architect Tim Eian of TE Studio in Minneapolis.
The EnerPHit standard, designed for existing homes, has been used thousands of times in Europe, said Eian, a German native. Such homes see their energy use fall from 75 to 90 percent.

more about energy comsuption:

Sustainability on the Urban Scale: ‘Green Urbanism’

Mexico’s Proposed 2012 Budget Fails to Allocate Adequate Funding for Climate Change

Could Transit Help Fuel A Recovery?

London Invests on Energy Saving Technologies

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