Lynn D'Avolio
J. Barrett & Company | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/12/2019

During warmer weather, you probably don’t think much about your heating bill. But when you don’t need it is the best time to make changes and upgrades to your home so that throughout winter, you can live in blissful warmth. Some changes, such as exchanging your old single-pane windows for those double or triple panes with low U-factors, or mitigating drafts, leaks, and gaps should be top of the list. But, if you really want to make a difference in your energy bill, read up on passive building principles.

Passive building concept

Using building science, the five main principles of passive building techniques give measurable, efficient use of energy. Builders joined with scientists from the US and Canada way back in the 1970s to develop the original principles using funding from the US Department of Energy and the Canadian government. In the next decade, German and other northern European scientists and builders added more information. Distilled for current use, they are:

  • Continuous insulation throughout the building’s “envelope” (the weather, air and thermal barriers).
  • Creates an airtight envelope to keep outside air from entering and conditioned air (heated or cooled) from escaping.
  • High-performance windows allow in light but mitigate temperature transference.
  • Heating and cooling systems utilize heat and moisture-recovery ventilation and “minimal-space” air conditioning.
  • Exploits the sun’s energy for light and heat but minimizes solar impact during cooling.

How it works

The exceptionally snug insulation and design strategies use the heat from appliances and the home’s occupants to keep the indoor temperatures steady through all four seasons and in each weather condition. It does this by constant mechanical filtration to keep the air quality high. This mixture of insulation and continuous low-level filtration prevents mildew and mold spores from establishing and growing inside the home.

This type of construction especially benefits allergy prone-family members or those with respiratory illnesses.

To receive passive house certification, the design must have high R-value insulation and demonstrably less (90% less) energy required for heat. Overall energy use must be 60 to 70 percent lower compared to similar-sized standard code-built homes.

Other features contributing to the passive energy savings include flat-paneled rooftop solar water heating systems that typically heat water to between 99 and 140 degrees, even in cloudy weather. Other passive homes include the use of wood heat for the coldest of winter days.

Metal roofing, especially in snow-prone areas, allows snow to slide off the roof, and utilizing covered porches and patios protects the home’s entrances from rain and snow buildup.

If you’re interested in a certified energy efficient home. Let your real estate professional know so that the houses you see fit your requirements.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 8/2/2016

On average each person living in the Unites States uses around 90 gallons per day. That’s a lot of water. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have easy accessible clean water, however, it is also something we easily take for granted. Using less water in our day to day lives not only means a smaller water bill each month and preservation of water, it leads to less energy usage as well . Here are some ways to save water, and energy, around the house: Upgrade - When it comes time to replace your old toilet look for a new one that is a low-flow model with a WaterSense label. This will ensure that each time you flush you consume less water without even thinking about it. Instant-gratification - Installing a recirculating water pump in your home will save on energy in a big way. Recirculating pumps create warm water the instant you turn the handle which means less time waiting for the water to heat up and less unused water running down the drain. Easy does it - Installing a low-flow shower head to your bath is another great way to limit how much water is used without even thinking about it. You can save up to 15 gallons of water per 10 minutes in the shower. Cool it - By washing laundry in cold water, you will not only prolong the life and color of your clothes, you will also be saving on energy. In fact, around 90 percent of the energy used during a wash cycle is from heating up the water. Make the switch, literally and figuratively, and the impact will be huge. Reuse - Most clothes are still clean after a first wearing. By getting more uses out of a garment before washing it you will prolong the lifespan of that item and use less water over time. Shirts can be worn a couple of times before washing while pants and sweaters can be worn up to five times before adding them to your next load. Speaking of, when you do wash your clothes ensure that you do a full load to further preserve water and energy with each cycle. Switch to off - The faucet that is. There are plenty of day to day scenarios in which we leave the water running when we really don’t need it. When brushing your teeth and while soaping up when washing hands be sure to turn off the water. Fill up the sink with water when washing dishes instead of leaving the faucet running. When rinsing fruits and vegetable fill up a bowl to wash them in instead of passing them through running water. Instead of running water till it is cold keep a filled (reusable) bottle in the fridge which will be chilled and waiting for you when you need a drink. By establishing more water conscious habits you not only save yourself some money each month but you also preserve water and energy and therefore shrink your impact on the environment. And with most of these habits being so easy and free to implement, you can’t lose!




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