Energy Free Buildings

How cool is elimination of the need for external energy altogether?  Think of a house as a free-standing energy system – without need for external energy sources to maintain habitability and comfort. So what makes a building sustainable?

Wikipedia defines Green Building here…  Does this definition make sense to you?

I hung on the word efficiency as a cop out.  Efficiency means to limit consumption of external resources – minimize waste.

This seems like a much better goal to me.  Efficiency is wimpy.

Do you know that a good sized, 60×60 ft, house squanders enough energy as sunshine every year to add up to $73,000 as propane, or $175,000 as electricity?  That’s a bunch of wasted energy.

Modern building methods create obstacles – best practice – and building codes create a trap.    Modern building practices, inspired by energy code invites most buildings to squander almost ALL the energy that nature gives them.

Given the huge amount of resource that nature presents, it’s ridiculous that any house inside the the 45th parallels need external energy at all.

Energy isolation requirements appear as  “r-factor”, “u-factor”, solar heat gain factor, SHGF.  Regulations continue to reduce the amount of energy a structure can absorb from the environment. They specifically dictate the MAXIMUM amount of energy a building is allowed to absorb from the sun as SHGF.

While it makes sense to limit the maximum amount of energy a structure should  lose from an internal heat source; it makes no sense to dictate how much energy can absorb, especially during cold months.   Isolation is the design standard of modern housing.

The superior goal is absorption balanced with loss and storage. This is simple.  If a building can store enough during time of surplus, to carry over a time of shortage, then external energy is not required.

This presentation presents a few “tricks” and a new way to design the environmental interfaces, so that your building can harvest and store energy to be energy independent, self regulating, and adaptive to sun’s position using very simple, and almost free materials.

If you’re further North, you may need more storage though.


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