Get Email Updates!

Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

NESEA notes, part 1

Tuesday Morning Session

Notes by N.R. Mallery

10:30 AM

Tuesday at NESEA BE13!!  What an amazing event this is!  The vendors are starting to set up for the trade show tomorrow (Wed.) and the workshops have begun!

Stay tuned for notes from some of the workshops, interviews and lots of exciting news from what is going on… from Dana Rubin and the publisher of Green Energy Times.

It’s not too late to attend yourself.  Come on over to the World Trade Center in Boston, MA. The event starts today, March 5th and runs through Thursday, Mar. 7th.  If you see us, stop by and say hi (maybe we will put your smiling face on this blog)!

10:50 AM

Tuesday Full Day Workshop: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Net Zero Energy and Beyond 
Passive House: The Future of Building in the US?
course taught by Mike Duclos, principle and founder of The DEAP Energy Group, LLC, a consultancy providing a wide variety of deep energy retrofit net zero energy and passive house related service, and also by R. Carter Scott, of Transformation™, Zero Energy Homes.

NESEA has a contest for the best house on energy.  The 2012  winner was Roos house.  Not expensive.

The EnerPHit standard is used. Important aspects are reduced energy & air tightness specs, and optimal solar exposure. Retrofits to this level of performance are expensive….

A PH inspired net zero new home is that of Larry Burkes in Cambirdge, NY. This house generated 8856 kWh; 5601 kWh were used and 3266 kWh were surplus! Features include good quality windows, PV, and overhangs. The website is

11:15 AM

Architect Steve Baczek talked in a Q&A session. One good question was: When it comes to the design of high performance homes, what errors and oversights have you seen in the industry? We did not have a chance to g.e.t. the answer yet … but we will. And when we have it, so will you!

11:30 AM

Ventilation Systems will be covering HVAC and Heat Source Heat pumps.

Mitsubishi is mentioned as recommended for HVAC, as are Daiken and Shitsu, which are also very good and have good price pt. and investment.

Basic requirements: panasonic fans with 30 CFM continuous setting with a boost opt. for 70 cfm for 30-45 mins – $300/fan. Aassume 2 fans like this and 1 reg. fan.  (Note that one must take precautions in high radon areas – passive mitigation system and poly over insulation that is taped well)

A True passiv house distributes all of the heat thru ventilation.
A well insulated basement makes for a nice space afterward. It can be usable space and comfortable by insulating. One project is $4500 + $1M for slab –   $3/sq ft to get to net zero.  2 weeks ago it came to $1.46 due to the incentives..

Bill Bell (sp?) of N. Hampton MA is a state radon scientist,  if you have questions…

11:45 AM

Mike Duclos is back

Thermal Enclosure – conventional construction

Slapping PVs on a non-energy efficient home only makes it a generation station. It also needs to reduce building energy needs! If it does, then all needs are consequently lower.

Need to keep an eye on humidity.

The sun is very powerful for heat on the walls themselves.

11:50 AM

Windows! Calculate the Conducted Heat Loss, measured in U-values.

20 sf “U” = 0.33
UA – 20* 0.33 = 6.6
65F – 30F = 35F
6.6* 35F – 231 btus per hour.

We need better windows for colder climates.

Problems with covering windows. Condensation.

Windows will be covered bigtime later in the conference!

Calculation for a double pane window and R5:

5600 heating degree day 65 at Logan airport
6.6 * 5600 * 24 = 890 KBTUs /yr – out the window.

REPEAT: 890,000 BTUS per year out the window!

Calculate for walls, windows, airfiltration, gain thru windows, as they all need to be considered.

To Do list for improvements:


For reference – just a bit of improvement makes a big difference – there is heat transfer software that will calculate.

Just insulating the slab only makes big difference.

For the biggest bang for the buck, do attic and cellar. And remember, improving the cellar makes the part of the house available for living space bigger. Consider a comfy basement instead of building an addition, such as for a family room.


REM/Rate computer Modeling software – HERS index  rating checking  –

Who checks building inspectors? 50% of building code is not enforced. This software is easy to use and learn from, and low cost. A HERS Index of 100 shows similar energy use to a house built to 2004 IECC. A rating of 130 indicates a 30% greater energy use.

HERS works. No cheating on numbers, and that means the savings are probably real.


Passive House Planning Package PHPP modeling

WUFI Passive is a very complex German way of modeling buildings with incredible feedback. It is a very powerful tool, a hygrothermal simulator from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. It is an hourly simulator designed for passive house applications. It has amazing feedback, especially comfort, IAQ, and moisture related.

Starting a Very Low Energy Design
early in the process
use modeling feedback to optimixe the design
as for adventure into new territory – mayb e guide

Solar Village is a case study in Greenfield, MA.

Actual energy usage for the Solar Village shows negative electricity, average $8/yr, and gas at $377/yr. Improvement cost without subsidies –
with- $6766. This is a 3 yr payback – for a bldg that will be there a couple of hundred years. Why are we not building ALL energy efficient homes?

April 15 there will be a passive house conference in Germany.

An energy efficient house will continue to work for generations, eg. Martha in Switzerland who build a passiv home with PVs that will be handed down to her son and eventually grandkids – and will continue.

The session is closing now – I need to plug in somewhere.