Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Meeting Summary: Green Energy Ohio Trumbull County, November 24, 2009

Energy Efficiency’s Role in Green Building

If you’re not testing, you are guessing.

That’s the message stressed by representatives of The Green Building Pros to attendees at the Clean Energy Network Meeting in Trumbull County on Tuesday, November 24. The Clean Energy Network in Trumbull County is a regional affiliate of Green Energy Ohio. Michael Hein and Jason Clark explained the steps involved in a Home Performance Assessment, often referred to as an Energy Audit.

Energy efficiency is the start of any good Green Building program, according to Michael and Jason. They claim that the average homeowner can reduce current energy expenditures by 35%. A 15% reduction from baseline energy use is usually gained by the low-cost, high-payback retrofits identified by the audit. As examples, they showed pictures of an exhaust fan that blew attic insulation and can lighting that allowed moist air from the home to condense on colder attic surfaces. Such situations not only waste energy, but they can lead to mold and winter ice dams. Energy efficiency not only reduces the need for costly fuel and the production of harmful greenhouse gasses, they also can lead to more healthy buildings by reducing mold and VOCs (volatile organic compounds found in auto exhaust and paints). Proper ventilation can prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.

In order to achieve energy savings and a safer and more comfortable home, Michael and Jason explained the components of an energy audit or home performance assessment:
1. Gather information about the building. They observe a home inside and outside and gather data from utility bills and the residents.
2. Blower door test. The allows for air pressure to be slightly lower inside the building, and air infiltration can be identified easily.
3. Infrared photography. A thermal imaging camera can help identify areas where infiltration occurs.
4. Duct testing. Leaky ductwork can waste warm air in winter and conditioned air in summer.
5. Combustion testing helps identify dangerous gasses produced by furnaces and appliances, gasses that may be entering the living space.
6. Energy modeling
7. Reporting, so the customer knows where energy dollars are going
8. Proposal for remediation, with an analysis of those steps that have the best and quickest payback

Michael and Jason explained that a home performance assessment should be driven by facts, not assumptions. The used an example of a recent audit where the homeowner was considering the installation of new windows. The audit found that savings from air sealing and insulating the basement would pay the homeowner back in three years, while new windows would take more than 18 years to pay off the replacement cost. The use of assessment data helps identify the “low hanging fruit” of energy efficiency.

So what is Green Building? Michael and Jason explained this cannot be defined according to any set standard of criteria. It is a unique activity engaged in by the client and the contractor. It includes:
• Standardized programs such as LEED and Energy Star
• Methods of building including natural (passive solar gain) and high tech (solar, wind)
• Materials that are from sustainable sources and are recyclable when no longer used

Contact information for The Green Building Pros
Phone: 866-355-7170

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Meeting Details: Green Energy Ohio Trumbull County, November 24, 2009

Michael Hein and Jason Clark of The Green Building Pros are the main speakers for a Clean Energy Network Meeting in Trumbull County on Tuesday, November 24, 2009, from 7-8:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 117 of the Kent State University Trumbull Campus Technology Building. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Hein and Clark will discuss “Energy Efficiency’s Role in Green Building” and will deal with topics such as what makes a building “green,” why energy efficiency is important to homeowners and small business owners, and energy audits. To make existing buildings more energy efficient, an energy audit is the place to start. The speakers will explain what is involved in an energy audit and the reports produced to help determine the steps needed to reduce energy use while maintaining a comfortable and healthy building. A question/answer session will follow the presentation. Also, attendees will discuss future meeting topics.

The Green Building Pros (GBP) is a collaboration of energy efficiency and sustainability experts dedicated to bringing their expertise to the marketplace in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The staff at GBP has decades of experience in the construction industry and hold advanced degrees and certifications in sustainability and green building. This experience and education – coupled with memberships and accreditation by leading organizations in green building and energy efficiency organizations such as the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), and the Building Performance Institute (BPI) – position GBP to be a leader in the growing green building market. GBP is on the Web at

Clean Energy Network in Trumbull County is a group dedicated to increasing awareness in sustainability, green building and renewable energy technologies by bringing together like-minded people in the area. The Clean Energy Network in Trumbull County is a regional affiliate of Green Energy Ohio.