COMPARISON OF GRID-CONNECTED AND OFF-THE-GRID HOUSES

National Energy Systems are Wasteful: About 75% of the fossil energy taken out of the ground to generate electricity never reaches the end user as electricity due to various losses from mine or well to user’s meter, and due to changes in embedded energy due to repairs, replacements, enhancements, expansion, etc., of the various systems, from mine or well to meter, plus, for a more inclusive approach, the energy required for the various other activities of the power industry-government complex.  

 

Then the user feeds the energy into devices with efficiencies as little as 5%, such as incandescent light bulbs. Such wasteful, national energy systems developed over the decades, because the fossil energy was, and still is, low-cost and abundant.

 

Even district CHP plants with thermal and electrical distribution systems, popular in Denmark, etc., have low efficiencies, if all energy losses and costs are taken into account; the CHP plants may be efficient, but the distribution systems and the mostly energy-hog buildings usually are not.

 

If the buildings had been designed to the Passivhaus standard, their energy consumption for heating, cooling and electricity would have been about 4 times less, and the capacity of the CHP plant and distribution systems, and of the energy from mine or well, and CO2 emissions would have been about 4 times less!

 

Building Energy Efficiency 

 

As all technologies are fully developed and proven, more energy could be locally generated and locally consumed in energy-efficient buildings, all "under one roof", as shown by the alternatives in the article. There would be massive resistance from special interests to go into that direction, as they have grown big by exploiting the fossil fuel-addicted society for at least the past 100 years.

 

The energy efficiency of buildings did not become an issue until after the 4-fold increase of crude oil prices in 1973. The owners of mostly energy-hog buildings, seeing major increases in their heating and cooling costs, consulted with engineers to make energy surveys of buildings, which, after implementation of the recommendations, usually resulted in at least 50% decreases of energy consumption.

 

Such efficiency improvements regarding houses did not take place until much later, and then only on a case by case basis, because politicians were, and still are, very slow to upgrade building codes. For them, it is so much easier to cater to special interests, to be for heavily subsidized, highly visible, renewable energy, than for lightly subsidized, invisible, energy efficiency.

 

Building structure EE measures would be spread out over at least 100 years. Because CO2 emissions are one of the factors affecting global warming and climate change, it would be desirable to have buildings be near the goal of "net-zero-energy and near-zero CO2 emissions".

 

Typical Air Leakage of a Freestanding House

 

Typical air changes per hour at a negative pressure of 50 pascal, ACH @ Pa 50, as determined by blower door tests, are:

 

House type

ACH @ 50 Pa

Older house

8.0, or greater

2009 IECC

<7, zones 1 and 2 and <5, zones 3 - 8

New house

3.9, or greater*

2012 IECC

 <5, zones 1 and 2* and <3, zones 3 - 8*

Tight house

1.5, or less*

Passivhaus

 0.6, or less*

 

* These leakage rates would be significantly less at lesser pressures. A whole-house ventilation system with heat-recovery ventilator, HRV, would be required.

 

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/blower-door-...

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/03/lets-blow-this-joint/

https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/documents/BECP_Buid...

 

Space Heating Demand

 

Typical space heating demands of 2000 ft2, freestanding houses are:

 

House type

 Heating Demand

Heating System Capacity

 

 

 Btu/ft2/h

Btu/h

 

Older house in New England

45 – 55

up to 125,000

 

Newer house in New England

20 - 25

up to 60,000

  

Tight house in New England

8.5

17,000

 see NOTE.

Passivhaus

3.2

6,348

 see NOTE.

 

NOTE: Here is the URL of a 1,232 ft2 tight house with a PEAK space heating demand of 10,500 Btu/hr, or 8.5 Btu/ft2/h, an equivalent 2000 ft2 house would have a PEAK space heating demand of about 2000/1232 x 10500 = 17,045 Btu/hr. It uses for:

- Heating: two Mitsubishi, Mr. Slim, ductless, minisplit, heat pumps (one downstairs @ 12,000 Btu/hr, and one upstairs @ 9,000 Btu/hr), installed cost about $5,250.

- Ventilation; a Lifebreath 155 ECM energy-recovery ventilator.

- Electricity: a grid-connected, PV system, 5.7 kW, roof-mounted with Fronius IG 5100 inverter, installed cost about $22,000 less subsidies.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/just-two-min...

 

NOTE: Passivhaus is about 10 W/m2 x 186 m2 = 1.86 kW, or 6,348 Btu/hr, or 3.2 Btu/ft2/h, i.e., a 2 kW, thermostat-controlled, electric heater in the air supply duct COULD be the heating system of the house!!

 

Reducing Heat Loss of a Free-Standing House

 

The heat loss is given by Q = UA x (Tref - Toutside), where Q is in Btu/h, U is in Btu/h/ft2/F, A is in ft2, The UA value, in Btu/h/F, a property of the building envelope, can be determined by summing the UA values for each wall of the basement, house and roof. A straight-line graph connecting the plotted values of recorded heating system inputs to the building, Btu/h, over several years, versus outdoor temperature, F, would have UA as the slope of the line.

 

A large, older, poorly insulated house (high U-values and large areas), heated the traditional way, may have a 4 to 5 times steeper slope than a small, energy-efficient house heated with heat pumps.

 

NOTE: A mini-split, cold-climate heat pump may have a rated COP of 3.0 at 47F exterior temperature; heat pumps are rated at 47F, per industry agreement. The COP, decreasing with exterior temperatures, may be as follows: 1.5 at -15F (at maximum compressor speed/high fan speed, i.e., noisy); 2.0 at 0F; 2.5 at 32F; and 3.0 at 47F. See page 10, figure 5 of this URL Operating a heat pump at a COP of 2.0 or less is likely more costly than a wood-fired stove, or a 95%-efficient propane-fired, condensing furnace, or a thermostat-operated, high-efficiency gas/propane stove (makes no noise). As a result, about 70% of space heating typically is provided with heat pumps, and the rest with conventional heating units.

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy11osti/52175.pdf

 

The house thermostat may be set at 68F, but the heating system typically does not start operating, because of passive solar heat gains and internal heat sources (computer, lighting, cooking, people, etc.), which keep the house indoor temperature above 68F, even though the outdoor temperature is lower.

 

Due to those heat gains, the heating systems of energy-efficient houses (tight and Passivhaus) would not need to start operating, except on colder days, and supply only small quantities of heat. Invisible energy efficiency at work!!

 

http://courses.washington.edu/me341/oct24.htm

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/11/this-thermal-house/

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.nibs.org/resource/resmgr/BEST/BEST2_01...

 

The below descriptions of energy-efficient construction can be performed by existing skilled building trade personnel and by capable do-it-yourselfers without specialized tools or training. Blown-in cellulose and sprayed foam by special contractors are avoided.

 

R40 Wall: An R40 wall (2 x 4; cavity section) can be achieved as follows: 1 (surface film) + 0.45 (½” plasterboard, NO PVC vapor barrier; see NOTE) + 12.25 (3.5” fiberglass @ 3.5/in) + 0.63 (½” plywood sheathing) + 0 (6 mil PVC vapor barrier) + 20 (4” blueboard @ 5/in on OUTSIDE of sheathing) + 0.81 (1/2” siding) + 1 (surface film) = 36.14; this value increases to about 1.1 x 36.14 = 39.75 at -10F. The blueboard is affixed to the house framing with 1 x 3 strapping and long screws. The siding is affixed to the strapping.

 

R48 Wall: For a 2 x 6 wall, with 5.5 inch of fiberglass, the R-values would be 43.14 and 47.45, respectively.

 

NOTE: If 3” of blueboard were snugly fit into the cavities of a 2 x 6 wall, instead of fiberglass, the wall R-value would be 38.89 (42.78 at -10F), but there would be a 2.5” space for wiring and piping.

 

NOTE: The R-value of 3.5” fiberglass increases from 12.6 at 75F to 14.5 at -10F, and of 4” blueboard, 44 months old, increases from 20 at 75F to 22 at -10F.

http://www.buildingscienceconsulting.com/presentations/documents/XV...

 

NOTE: The vapor barrier is on the outside of the sheathing, because its temperature would be almost always above the dew point. There must be NO vapor barrier between the sheetrock and the stud wall so the wall can breathe to the interior. 

 

NOTE: In the above R40 and R48 walls, fiberglass insulation with air passing through it would act as a filter, instead of an insulator, if it were not for the 4" of blueboard on the exterior of the sheathing.

 

R20 Basement: An R20 basement can be achieved as follows: two layers of 2" thick x 2' x 8', 100 psi, blueboard (special order at Home Depot) under the 18" wide concrete footing + 4" of standard, 25 psi, blueboard under the basement slab, on the outside of the footing, outside of basement wall, outside of house sheathing, up to the roof overhang. With seams staggered and taped, such a foam enclosure will provide at least R20 everywhere, with no thermal bridges, and with near-zero air infiltration.

 

NOTE: The exposed blueboard must be covered with stucco or 1/2" pressure-treated plywood that must to be stained at least every 5 years.

 

NOTE: The weight of a 2-story house, including concrete basement wall and footing, results in about 10 psi pressure on the 100 psi-rated blueboard under the footing.

 

NOTE: Multiply the U-value in standard international, SI, units, W/m2/C, times 0.1761 to obtain U-value in English units, Btu/h/ft2/F.

(3.4129 Btu/h)/10.76 ft2/1.8F = 0.1761

 

R65 and R96.5 Ceilings: An R65 ceiling can be achieved as follows: 1 (surface film) + 31.5 (9“ fiberglass between the 2 x 10 joists) + 31.5 (9” fiberglass across the joists) + 1 (surface film) = 65. The attic should have a 2-ft knee-wall to facilitate installing the insulation. On the OUTSIDE of the sheathing of that knee-wall are the vapor barrier and the 4” of blueboard. An extra foot of knee-wall would serve for the future addition of 9” fiberglass for an R96.5 ceiling!!

 

IECC Leakage Standards for Windows and Doors: IECC standards* for maximum fenestration air leakage are:

 

- Operable windows, skylights, and sliding glass doors: 0.34 ft3/minute per lineal foot of operable sash crack, or 0.30 ft3/m per square foot of window area.

- Residential doors, swinging:.........................................0.50 ft3/m per square foot of door area.

- Residential doors, sliding:.............................................0.37 ft3/m per square foot of door area.

 

* Standards are not requirements, i.e., double-hung, sliding windows, such as from Anderson, Pella, and Jen-Weld, may have leakage rates much greater than the IECC standard.

 

If a 2,000 house has 300 ft2 of windows, then the leakage rate could be 300 x 0.30 = 90 ft3/m on cold, windy days, a significant percentage of the leakage rates of tight and Passivhaus houses. Additional leakage occurs around the window, if the nailing flange of the window is not sealed with tape and the space between the rough opening and window is not properly sealed. If not taped and sealed, that leakage may be greater than the window leakage!

 

Windows: A vinyl-clad, wood-frame, double-glazed, argon-filled, low E window, without grilles, such as from Anderson, Pella, and Jen-Weld, may have a label stating a U-factor of 0.29, SHGC of 0.32, VT of 0.54, and air leakage* of 0.3. South-facing windows of passive-solar houses should have high SHGCs. 

 

* Air leakage is an optional rating, and manufacturers can choose not to include it on their labels.

 

http://www.nfrc.org/windowratings/Energy-ratings.html

http://inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Window_Efficiency2.htm

 

High R-value windows, i.e., R5 to R7, usually have low leakage rates, but they are much more expensive than standard R3 (U-factor 0.33) windows, which are mass-produced. It is more cost-effective to spend additional effort to properly install standard windows.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/choosing-tri...

 

Doors: The higher the R-Value of the energy-efficient entry door, the lower the heat loss. For example:

 

Door type

Thickness

R-value

Six-panel wood door, no window

1.5 inch

 1.5

Solid wood door, no window

 1.5 inch

 2.0

Typical fiberglass door, no window

 1.5 inch

5 - 6

Custom fiberglass door, no window

 2.0 inch

10 - 12

 

Grid-Connected and Off-the-Grid Alternatives for Houses

 

Below are three energy, CO2 emission, and cost reduction alternatives for houses; the first two ones go only part way towards the goal, the last one goes much further.

 

Alternative No. 1 is having a standard, code-designed house, with a grid-connected PV solar system of sufficient capacity to charge a plug-in vehicle. This alternative would achieve CO2 emission reductions, but would be a long way off from “net-zero-energy and near-zero CO2 emissions”.

 

Alternative No. 1A is having a very energy-efficient, Passivhaus level house, with a grid-connected PV solar system of sufficient capacity to charge a plug-in vehicle. This alternative would come much closer to “net-zero-energy and near-zero CO2 emissions”.

 

Alternative No. 2 is the same as 1A, except it has suitable systems to be "off-the-grid". This alternative would come much closer to "net-zero-energy and near-zero-CO2 emissions”, and, as a side benefit, would reduce the power industry-government complex, if widely adopted.

 

NOTE: There are 11 notes at the end of the article.

 

Alt. No. 1: Standard House, With Grid-Connected PV Solar System and Plug-in EV

 

This alternative is used worldwide, especially in Germany. Its main attraction is using the generators on the grid to supply steady, 24/7/365 energy when PV solar energy is insufficient or absent, at least 80% of the hours of the year.

 

In effect, the grid connection is a valuable, free (to the homeowner) energy service mostly paid for by the other ratepayers. To add to that free service, politicians often bestow high feed-in rates for any excess PV solar energy that cannot be used by the household. The house:

 

- Space heating and DHW consumption would be about 600 gal fuel oil x 138,500 Btu/gal = 83,100,000 Btu/yr.

 

- Electrical consumption would be about 6,000 kWh/yr, or 20,478,000 Btu/yr, equivalent to a 6,000 kWh/1,226.4 kWh/yr/kW = 4.9 kW PV solar system in New England.

 

- Plug-in EV consumption would be about 12,000 mi/yr x 0.30 kWh/mi = 3,600 AC kWh/yr, as measured to the charger, equivalent to a 2.9 kW PV solar system in New England

 

If the house is equipped with a 4.9 + 2.9 = 7.8 kW PV solar system, the house and plug-in electricity are offset; the plug-in is assumed to operate only on electricity.

 

Total Site Energy: Site energy, including the plug-in, would be 83,100,000 Btu/yr. Without PV solar systems it would have been 115,864,800 Btu/yr.

 

Investment and Energy Cost Savings: The cost of the PV system would be about 7.8 x $4,000/kW = $30,400, less subsidies. Without PV solar system, annual bills would be for electricity $0.18/kWh x 6,000 kWh = $1,080, and for plug-in 0.18 x 3,600 = $648. With PV solar system, they would be minimal, but bills for space heating and domestic hot water, DHW, about 600 x $3.50/gal = $2,100/yr. (about $2,800 before tax), would remain.

 

Alt. No. 1A: Passivhaus, 2000 ft2, With Grid-Connected PV Solar System and Plug-in EV

 

In New England, Note 8 implies the following minimum values: Basement R-20, Walls R-40, Ceiling (or roof) R-60. In colder climates, such as Canada, these values would be greater. The house:

 

- Space heating consumption would be about 15 kWh/m2/yr x 186 m2 = 2,790 kWh/yr, or 23.3 kWh/day, if averaged over 4 months. The house would consume for space heating = 2,790 kWh/yr x 3,413 Btu/kWh x 1 gal/138,500 Btu x 1/0.75 eff = 91.6 gallon of fuel oil, or 12,687,732 Btu/yr, if all the heating demand were met only with fuel oil. See Note 9.

 

- PEAK space heating demand would be about 10 W/m2 x 186 m2 = 1.86 kW, or 6,348 Btu/hr, or 3.2 Btu/ft2/h, i.e., a 2 kW electric heater in the air supply duct COULD be the heating system!!

 

- DHW consumption, 2 occupants, would be about 20 kWh/m2/yr x 186 m2 = 3,720 x 3,413 x 1/138,500 x 1/0.75 = 122.2 gallon of fuel oil, or 16,928,480 Btu/yr. Because of the energy efficiency of the house, the DHW energy became greater than the space heating energy, whereas in a standard house, it is about 20% of the space heating energy.

 

- Electrical consumption would be about 2,855 kWh/yr, or 9,742,504 Btu/yr, equivalent to a 2.3 kW PV solar system in New England. 

 

- Plug-in EV consumption would be about 12,000 mi/yr x 0.30 kWh/mi = 3,600 kWh/yr, as measured to the charger, equivalent to a 2.9 kW PV solar system in New England

 

If the house is equipped with a 2.3 + 2.9 = 5.2 kW PV solar system, the house and plug-in electricity are offset; the plug-in is assumed to operate only on electricity.

 

Total Site Energy: Site energy, including the plug-in, would be 12,687,732 Btu/yr. Without PV solar systems it would have been 51,645,516 Btu/yr.

 

Investment and Energy Cost Savings: The cost of the PV system would be about 5.2 x $4,000/kW = $20,000 less subsidies. Without PV solar system, annual bills would be for electricity $0.18/kWh x 2,855 kWh = $514, and for plug-in 0.18 x 3,600 = $648. With PV solar system, they would be minimal, but bills for space heating and DHW, about 213.8 gal x $3.50/gal = $748/yr. (about $1,000 before tax), would remain.

 

Alt. No. 2: Energy Efficient House, Off the Grid, With PV Solar System and Plug-in EV

 

This alternative is becoming increasingly attractive, as the prices of PV solar systems have decreased and subsidies are generous. As battery systems become more widely used for electrical energy storage, their prices will decrease as well. Homeowners should receive the same 30% subsidy for the battery systems, as now applies to PV solar systems. The off-the-grid mode is distributed mode energy production and consumption under one roof. Till now, it was not economically feasible, now it is, especially in areas with high electric rates.

 

Single-Family or Multi-Family Housing: The off-the-grid mode can readily be applied to Passivhaus-type, freestanding houses, or Passivhaus-type housing developments; the latter would have, say 16 pre-fabricated units to a building, 4 floors @ 4 units each, using centralized systems. The building would have a PV solar system on the roof, and/or have a parking area with charging stations for plug-in vehicles and a roof covered with PV solar panels. Energy use per household would be significantly less than for a Passivhaus-type, freestanding house.

 

The use of pre-fabricated units, built under modern, factory-controlled conditions, would ensure their quality and energy efficiency, a great improvement over stick-built in the field. The units could be of less-costly, standard design, or of more-costly, custom design. With the energy-efficient foundations and basements in place, the units would be erected into a weather-tight structure within about one week, ready for finish work.

 

Pre-fab, multi-family, Passivhaus-type, housing will become more prevalent going forward. It would greatly reduce the operating and maintenance costs and improve the livability of housing for at least 50% of US households. Customized pre-fab for single-family and multi-family housing is highly advanced in Europe, particularly in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Vested interests have prevented its widespread implementation in the US for decades. Here is how this would work for a freestanding house.

 

Off-The-Grid: Flexibility is important for living off-the-grid. If one energy source is inadequate, another should be available to supplement. My starting point is a relatively NEW, freestanding house, similar to a Passivhaus, NOT grid-connected, with properly angled rooflines, proper solar orientation and passive solar features, and using about 70% to 80% less energy per square foot per year for heating, cooling, and electricity than a relatively NEW, standard, code-designed house. For living off the grid, in a near-zero-CO2-emission mode, the house would need to be equipped with:

 

- A 10 kW, roof-mounted, PV solar system + a battery system wired for 48 V output, with charge/discharge controller + an LP-fired, DHW heater with 200-gallon storage tank and DC electric heater to enable the use of PV solar energy + a system with DC pump and water-to-air heat exchanger.

- An LP-fired, 2 - 3 kW AC generator to periodically charge the batteries to about 90%, in case of insufficient PV solar energy during winter, due to fog, ice, snow, clouds, etc.

- A whole house duct system to supply warm, cool, humidity-controlled air, with an air-to-air heat exchanger to take in fresh, filtered air and exhaust stale air at a minimum of 0.5 air changes per hour, ACH, per HVAC code.

- For space cooling, a small capacity, high-efficiency AC unit would be required on only the warmest days, as the house would warm up very slowly.

- For space heating, 1 or 2 LP-fired, vented heaters, plus 2 or 3 V-120, vertical, LP storage tanks (each holds 96 gal); required on only the colder days. The tanks would also supply the LP-fired generator.

- A plug-in EV, such as a Nissan, or plug-in hybrid, such as a Chevy-Volt, would be charged with DC energy from the house batteries by bypassing the vehicle AC to DC converter (reduces inverter losses), provided the house batteries have adequate remaining storage energy, kWh, for other electricity usages.

 

Any excess electricity would bypass the already-full batteries and go to the DC heater in the DHW tank. Any excess thermal energy would be exhausted from the DHW tank to the outdoors.

 

DHW heating and space cooling would be mostly with the ample PV solar energy available during spring, summer and fall, thereby significantly reducing the LP consumption for DHW. See Note 8.

 

In winter, several days may pass with minimal PV solar energy. Electrical energy storage would be required in less sunny areas, such as New England and Germany. A 10 kW PV solar system would produce about 4.32 kWh on an overcast winter day in New England. See Note 4. This is insufficient, as the house may need about 10 kWh/d on overcast, winter days. See Note 8. The battery system and LP-fired engine-generator would be needed for 1 to 2 hours and the plug-in EV would need to use a public charger. The rest of the year, the PV solar system would have greater outputs.

 

Household Energy Management: To determine the capacity of the energy systems, list all the energy users on a spreadsheet, how much they use (amp-hours/day) and what time periods they are on and off. The sum will give the hour-to-hour energy consumption per day, or per week. Subtract the hour-to-hour PV energy generation to yield the hour-to-hour surplus (charges the batteries) or deficit (discharges the batteries). Energy consuming items can be scheduled on and off to manage the energy flows. If there is a prolonged period of no sun, the engine-generator and the batteries supplement any solar energy. Having as many DC devices as possible reduces DC to AC conversion losses.

 

Total Site Energy: Site energy, based on an assumed 3,000 miles of public charging of the plug-in, an assumed 150 hours of LP-fired generator operation, and an assumed no DHW heating with PV solar, would be 36,783,512 Btu/yr. On the grid, without PV solar systems, it would have been 51,645,516 Btu/yr. On the grid, with PV solar systems, it would have been 29,616,212 Btu/yr

 

Investments and Energy Cost Savings: An absorbed glass mat, AGM, battery system costs about $350/100 Ah. A 1,500 Ah system, wired for 48 V, sufficient for about 4 days, would cost about $10,000 installed. See Note 4. A PV solar system costs about $4,000/kW of panels. A 10 kW system would cost about $40,000 less subsidies.

 

On the grid, in a standard, code-designed house, no PV solar system, annual bills would be for electricity $1,080, space heating + DHW $2,100, and plug-in $648. Off the grid, in an energy-efficient house, the electric bills, including public charging of plug-in would be about $600, and for space heating + DHW + LP generator operation would be about $1,276, plus there would be the bonus of mostly free DHW heating and space cooling during spring, summer and fall, when ample PV solar energy would be available. See Note 8.

 

SUMMARY

 

The above alternatives clearly show to provide off-the-grid, standard (mostly energy-hog) houses with PV solar systems, and electrical and thermal storage systems, they would need to be of such large capacity the costs would be prohibitive, if "net zero-energy and near-zero CO2 emissions" is the goal.

 

As a result of better building practices and materials much more energy-efficient houses can be constructed. Such houses, equipped with efficient mechanical and electrical systems, and the lower cost PV solar and battery systems, enable more and more homeowners to “live off the grid”, plus charge one or two plug-in EV or hybrid vehicles.

 

PV systems have at least 25-year useful service lives, and battery systems, if property operated, have at least 10 to 15 year useful service lives. The homeowners will be enjoying annual cost savings for heating, cooling, electricity and gasoline for decades that are sure to increase year after year, plus they have the satisfaction of minimizing their CO2 emissions "footprint".

 

END NOTES

 

NOTE 1: If an EV travels 12,000 m/yr. at 0.30 kWh/mile, 3,600 kWh/yr., or about 10 kWh/d, would be required, equivalent to the production of a 3 kW PV solar system in New England. Gasoline cost avoided = 12,000 mi/yr. x 1 gal/28 mi x $3.50/gal = $1,500/yr. 

 

NOTE 2: Because PV solar systems have become much less costly, it would be less complicated and lower in O&M costs to increase the capacity of the PV solar system to also provide electricity to heat DHW, thereby reducing the propane for the DHW heater, instead of having an $8,000 roof-mounted solar thermal system for DHW; no tube leaks, freeze-ups, less moving parts. With a properly insulated, large capacity DHW tank, say 250+ gallons, there would be enough DHW for 5 - 7 days.

 

NOTE 3: A maximum of about 50% of battery nameplate rating is available. To prolong the useful service life well beyond 8 years, say 12 – 15 years, batteries should typically be charged to a maximum of 95% and discharged to not less than 75%; shallow cycling. Very rarely should they be discharged to a minimum of 45%, as deep cycling reduces life. Also, life is prolonged if charging and especially discharging is slow; a few amps for many hours is much better than many amps for a few hours. Depth-of-Discharge, DOD, factor = 100/(95 - 45) = 2.0.

 

NOTE 4:

- Battery charging loss is about 10% and discharging loss is about 10%, i.e., input 100 kWh, store 90 kWh, output 81 kWh. 

- Inverter DC to AC efficiency, about 25% at 2% of rated input, is about 90% from 20% to 100% of rated input.

- Minimizing DC to AC conversion by using DC devices (fans, pumps, heaters, etc.) avoids battery and inverter losses.

 

House, Passivhaus level, Low, High and Average Energy Usage:

 

House low daytime energy draw from battery for 1 hour, inverter operating at 0.2/10 = 2% of capacity = 0.2 kW x 1 h x 1/0.25 inverter eff x 1/0.9 battery loss = 0.89 kWh, or (1000 x 0.89) Wh/12 V = 74 Ah; PV solar contributes

House high daytime energy draw from battery for 1 hour, inverter operating at 2/10 = 20% of capacity = 2.0 kW x 1 h x 1/0.9 x 1/0.9 = 2.47 kWh, or 206 Ah; PV solar contributes.

House average energy draw from battery over 24 hours, inverter operating at less than 20% of capacity = 2855 kWh/yr/365 d = 7.821 kWh, daily consumption x 1/0.8 x 1/0.9 = 10.862 kWh, or 905 Ah; PV solar contributes.  

 

PV Solar Winter, Summer and Average Energy Generation:

 

PV solar energy to battery; overcast winter day = 10 kW x 3 h x 0.16 CF x 0.9 battery loss = 4,320 Wh; battery system and generator would be needed.

PV solar energy to battery; sunny summer day = 10 kW x 6 h x 0.70 CF x 0.9 battery loss = 37,800 Wh, excess energy may be used to charge plug-in, heat sauna, hot tub.

PV solar daily energy to battery averaged over one year = 10 kW x 24 x 0.14 x 0.9 battery loss = 3,024 Wh.

 

Example of determining required battery capacity: 

 

Provided to house

10.00 kWh/d AC

 

Provided by 10 kW PV system

4.00 kWh/d AC

 

Provided by 3 kW generator

3.00 kWh/d AC

 

From DC to AC inverter

3000 Wh/d AC

 

Inverter loss factor

0.90

 

To inverter

3333 Wh/d DC

 

Wiring loss factor

0.90

 

From battery

3704 Wh/d DC

 

Battery discharge loss factor

0.90

 

From battery adj’d for discharge loss

4115 Wh/d DC

 

Autonomy period

4 days

 

From battery during autonomy period

16461 Wh DC

 

Depth of Discharge factor

0.30

low value for long life

Charge in Battery

54870 Wh DC

 

Temperature loss factor

0.90

 

Charge in battery adj’d for temperature

60966 Wh DC

 

System voltage

48 V

 

Battery system capacity

1270 Ah

 

Battery aging factor

0.85

 

Battery system capacity adj’d for aging

1494 Ah

 

 

Battery system to have 2 strings in parallel; each string with 12 batteries in series

 

Rating of selected battery

750 Ah

 

Battery strings in parallel

2

 three strings is acceptable, if necessary

Battery system rating

1500 Ah

 

Battery voltage

4 V

 

Batteries in series

12

 

Total number of batteries

24

 

 

Battery cost = 1,500 Ah x $350/100 Ah = $5,250, plus the cost of wiring, charge/discharge controller, 48 V to 120 AC inverter, mounting rack, and installation, for an installed total cost of about $10,000.

Such a 4-day event may occur only a few times during winter. At other times, PV solar generation would be greater and the battery discharge % would be less, which reduces battery capacity reduction due to aging. Energy generation would be sufficient for DHW heating (supplementing the LP heater of the DHW system) and for most of the plug-in vehicle charging.

 

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Size-Your-Off-Grid-Solar-Bat...

http://rimstar.org/renewnrg/sizing_select_batteries_for_off_grid_so...

http://www.batterysizingcalculator.com/#step3

http://www.homepower.com/articles/solar-electricity/equipment-produ...

 

NOTE 4a: If a household had a 10 kW solar system, and a highly efficient, NOT off-the-grid house, plus a plug-in EV, then the DC from the PV system could charge a 7 kWh TESLA wall-hung battery unit and the DC output of the battery would charge the car battery. In that case there would be no 10% - 15% inverter loss.

 

There would still be the normal car battery charging loss, which could be 4% or greater, in addition to the 8% "round-trip" DC loss of the TESLA unit. However, that unit would not be sufficient to charge an EV, so at least 2 units would be required. A household with 2 EVs would need at least 3 - 4 units.

 

NOTE 4b: If a household had a 10 kW solar system, and a highly efficient, off-the-grid house, plus a plug-in EV, the above system of batteries would charge the EV during the year, except during most winter hours, plus serve the whole house.

 

NOTE 4c: Using Batteries For Storing Energy Now for Later Use: Economically viable energy storage systems, other than hydro, have not yet been invented, and would take many billions of dollars and decades to deploy AFTER they are invented. At present, using batteries for energy storage during the day and using the energy at night costs about 23 c/kWh JUST FOR STORAGE, per a David Hallquist study for the DOE.

 

Chevy-Volt and TESLA: The 2014 Chevy-Volt has a 16.5 kWh battery, but it uses a maximum of about 10.8 kWh (about 65% of its capacity, a greater % on subsequent models), because the battery controls are set to charge to about 90% of capacity and discharge to about 25% of capacity. GM does this to minimize costs of its 8-y/100,000 mile manufacturer's warrantee. That warrantee is for manufacturing DEFECTS, does NOT cover performance. According to GM, the battery is expected to have a performance loss of about 15% over its 8-y WARRANTEE life, and more beyond that 8-yr life. The 10.8 kWh gives the Chevy-Volt an ELECTRIC range of about 38 miles on a normal day, say about 70 F, less on colder and warmer days, less as the battery ages.

 

A TESLA with a NEW 85 kWh battery has 75.9 kWh available for “range driving” and 67.4 kWh for normal driving. Warrantee is 8-y/unlimited mileage. See URL.

https://my.teslamotors.com/fr_CH/forum/forums/rated-range-85-kwh-ba...

 

Using Batteries to Store Nighttime Grid Energy for Use During the Day: TESLA markets wall-hung, Powerwall units, 7 or 10 kWh, li-ion batteries, and Powerpacks, 100 kWh. The below calculation is for the 10 kWh unit. There are battery charging losses and discharging losses, and AC to DC and DC to AC conversion losses. The TESLA 10-year warrantee is for manufacturing defects, does NOT cover performance!! The INSTALLED cost of the 10 kWh unit = $3,500 + S & H + Contractor markup of about 10 percent + $2,000 for an AC to DC inverter + Misc. hardware + Installation by 2 electricians, say 16 hours @ $60/h = $7,100, or $7,140 per this URL.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-01/solarcity-taking-...

 

Assuming “normal driving” applies, the available kWh (67.4/85) is 79%, and a 90% AC to DC inverter efficiency, and allocating half of the 8% DC-to-DC loss to the charging side (the unit has a round-trip DC-to-DC efficiency of 92%, per spec sheet), it would take 0.79 x 10/(0.9 x 0.96) = 9.144 AC kWh of off-peak grid energy to charge up the unit. During on-peak hours, one would get back 0.79 x 10 x 0.96 x 0.90 = 6.826 AC kWh to use in the house, for a minimum energy loss per cycle of (1 – 6.826/9.144) x 100% = 25.4%!!

 

If we GENEROUSLY assume the battery would have NO performance loss over its 10-yr WARRANTEE life, and one cycle per day, i.e., 3,650 cycles, and night-time cost of charging at 10 c/kWh and day-time avoided cost at 18 c/kWh, then 3,650 x (6.826 x 18 – 9.144 x 10) = $1147.03 would be the gain over 10 years. The cost of financing, PLUS any costs for O&M, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC or DC/AC inverters, PLUS the cost of depreciation are ignored. The above is a best-case analysis. Actual results are much worse, i.e., terrible.

Using Batteries to Store Daytime Solar PV Energy for Use During the Night: Assuming an 79% charge/discharge, and a 90% AC to DC inverter efficiency, and allocating half of the 8% DC-to-DC loss to the charging side (the unit has a round-trip DC-to-DC efficiency of 92%, per spec sheet), it would take 0.79 x 10/(0.9 x 0.96) = 9.144 AC kWh of off-peak grid energy to charge up the unit. During on-peak hours, one would get back 0.79 x 10 x 0.96 x 0.90 = 6.826 AC kWh to use in the house, for a minimum energy loss per cycle of (1 – 6.826/9.144) x 100% = 25.4%!!

 

NOTE: If the DC output of the solar PV system could be split with AC to the house and DC directly to the batteries, the battery inverter losses during charging would be avoided. However, the solar PV system inverter likely would be inefficient at the lower outputs, i.e., the losses of that inverter would be greater.

 

If we GENEROUSLY assume the battery would have NO performance loss over its 10-yr WARRANTEE life, and one cycle per day, i.e., 3,650 cycles, and daytime solar PV energy generated by the homeowner at 18 c/kWh, then 3,650 x (energy cost in – energy cost out) = 3,650 x (9.144 x 18 – 6.826 x 18) = $1522.87 would be the LOSS over 10 years. The loss would be larger, because the cost of financing, PLUS any costs for O&M, PLUS any capacity degradation due to cycling, PLUS efficiency reductions of part-load operation of AC/DC or DC/AC inverters, PLUS the cost of depreciation are ignored. Only in La-La Land would this make any sense.

 

NO battery exists that can be repeatedly discharged 100% (a flow battery may be the exception), i.e., the charge/discharge likely would need to be much less than 100% to limit capacity degradation and maintain a reasonable useful service life.

 

In Southern California, base rates are $0.11, off-peak, and $0.46, on-peak; which likely is THE best-case scenario in the US. But this rate ratio is only for 6 months.

 

NOTE 5: As space heating and cooling would be required for just a few days of the year, an air-source heat pump would be overkill and too expensive in this case.

 

NOTE 6: Because inverters have lower efficiencies at PV solar outputs of less than 20% of inverter capacity (occurring mostly during winter, and dawn and dusk throughout the year), the monthly energy feed-in ratio is about 4/1 in New England. In Southern Germany, further away from the equator, it is about 6/1. See monthly output from 2 monitored solar systems in Munich. In Vermont the hours of sunshine ratio is about 2.54 and production ratio is about 3.8 for fixed-axis systems. Here are two field-mounted examples, one fixed-axis, one 2-axis tracking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Vermont

 

The Ferrisburgh Vermont solar farm, 1,000 kW, south-facing, correctly angled, field-mounted, has monthly averages of 4 years of production that show the monthly energy feed-in ratio of July/December = 1.000/0.263 = 3.80, and a 4-yr average CF = 1,323,879 kWh/yr/(8,760 hr/yr x 1,000 kW) = 0.151. 

 

The South Burlington Vermont solar farm, 2,200 kW, 2-axis tracking units, field-mounted, has monthly averages of 4 years of production that show the monthly energy feed-in ratio of July/December = 4.936, worse than fixed-angle, and a 4-year average CF = 0.167, which is 0.167/0.151 = 10.6% better than fixed-angle, even though such trackers are claimed to be up to 45% better! In Vermont, the better performance of 2-axis, up to 21%, occurs mostly during May, June, July and August. Snow would readily slide off the panels at the steep winter angles. Such systems would be about 25% to 30% more costly and require greater O&M expenses, which will reduce any economic advantage.

 

NOTE 7: Whereas, the daily or weekly maximum solar output of Germany may be up to 60% of installed capacity, kW, during a very sunny period, it may be near zero, due to fog, ice, snow, clouds, etc., during winter. As a result, Germany's mix of PV solar systems (old and new, dusty or not, partially-shaded or not, snow/ice-covered or not, fog/cloud-shrouded or not, facing true south or not, correctly-angled or not) has a low nationwide capacity factor of about 0.10. This compares with a New England CF of about 0.12; the theoretical CFs are about 0.12 for Germany, about 0.143 for New England.

NOTE 8: The Passivhaus specifications for all climates are:

 

Space heating*

15 kWh/m2/y or less

4,758 Btu/ft2/y

Space cooling

15 kWh/m2/y or less

4,758 Btu/ft2/y

Domestic hot water

12 – 35 kWh/m2/y

 Depends on number of occupants

Primary energy+

120 kWh/m2/y or less

38,074 Btu/ft2/y

Airtightness

 0.6 ACH or less @ 50 Pascal

 

 

The above implies the following values:

 

Space heating demand^

10 W/m2 or less

 3.2 (Btu/h)/ft2

 

Space cooling demand

10 W/m2 or less

3.2 (Btu/h)/ft2

 

Total energy to site

42 kWh/m2/y or less

13,300 Btu/ft2/y

 

Window U-values

0.8 W/m2/K or less

0.141 (Btu/h)/ft2/F

 Equivalent to R-7.1

Door U-values

0.8 W/m2/K or less

 0.141 (Btu/h)/ft2/F

Equivalent to R-7.1

Air-to-air heat exchange eff.

80% or greater

 

 

 

* Applies to space cooling in warm climates.

+ The 120 kWh/m2/y is primary energy for space heating and cooling, domestic hot water, auxiliary electricity, domestic and common area electricity.

^ A 2,000 sq ft (186 m2) Passivhaus would need for space heating a 10 x 186 = 1,860 W, say 2 kW, thermostat-controlled, electric heater in the fresh air supply duct.

 

http://www.plataforma-pep.org/archivos/ph-criteria-eng.pdf?PHPSESSI...

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-025-the-passi...

http://passipedia.org/planning/building_services/heating_and_dhw/he...

http://passiv.de/downloads/03_certfication_criteria_residential_en.pdf

NOTE 9: The space heating consumption would be partially met by indoor heat sources, such as lights, cooking, computer, refrigerator, passive solar heat gains, and people, with the rest by the LP-fired space heaters; this would reduce LP consumption!! A Passivhaus-style house could have dark, stone floors that would warm up due to passive solar heat gains and would give up the heat in the evening when the curtains would be closed.

 

NOTE 10: IECC ENERGY CODES AND PASSIVHAUS STANDARDS

 

IECC Energy Codes: The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code will require more insulation, a tighter envelope, tighter ducts, better windows, and more efficient lighting than the 2009 code.

 

Blower-door testing became mandatory: The 2009 infiltration threshold of 7 ACH @ 50 Pascal became 5 ACH @ 50 Pascal for climate zones 1 and 2. It became 3 ACH @ 50 Pascal for climate zones 3 through 8. All homes in zones 3 through 8, and some homes in zones 1 and 2, will be required to have a whole-house mechanical ventilation system. Almost all houses built before 2009 have greater ACH values, i.e., they are energy hogs during summer in warm climates (such as the US Southwest) and during winter in cold climates (such as the US Northeast).

 

Passivhaus Standards: Energy-efficient, Passivhaus-level, construction requires at least 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pascal, R-40 walls, R-60 roof, R-20 basement, 85% efficient air-to-air heat exchanger, R-7 windows and doors, high-efficiency appliances and lighting.

 

An R-20 basement can be achieved by using 4 inches of 100 psi, Dow blue board (two sheets of 2’ x 8’ x 2” thick, special order at Home Depot) UNDER the 18” wide concrete footing, and 4 inches of standard, 25 psi, Dow blue board UNDER the basement slab and on the OUTSIDE of the concrete walls, and continued, at 4” thickness, up the OUTSIDE of the house walls to the roof eave. All seams, below and above ground, must be staggered and taped; exposed blue board must be covered with stucco, or with ½” PT plywood that is solid-color stained to match concrete.

 

Thus the concrete basement serves as a thermal mass that cools slowly in winter and warms slowly in summer, which reduces indoor temperature variations and the annual energy for heating, cooling and electricity. See Note 8.

 

NOTE: The full basement of an average 2,000 sq. ft. house requires about 80 cu. yd. of concrete, which causes about 50,400 pounds of CO2 emissions. Adding up to 40%, by weight, flyash to the mix will significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

 

NOTE 11: MOISTURE CONTROL IN INSULATED WALLS

 

Moisture inside walls is one of the biggest challenges of energy-efficient home building in colder climates. Such moisture will cause wood rot, mold and odor, which starts at a wall internal relative humidity of about 80%. Indoor moisture may be due to cooking, bathing, plants and many other sources. Outdoor moisture may be due to precipitation that leaks past the siding or due to soil moisture that is drawn into below-grade assemblies.

 

The Residential Exterior Membrane Outside Insulation Technique, REMOTE, manual describes in detail how to build energy-efficient building envelopes and minimize moisture issues in colder climates. The manual contains numerous drawings and images. See Figure 1.

 

http://www.cchrc.org/sites/default/files/docs/REMOTE_Manual.pdf

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/reports/rr-0410-vapor-barr...

 

Standard Stud Wall, Foam Outside of Sheathing, Fiberglass Wool in Wall Cavities: In climate zones 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, at least 2 - 6 inch (R-10 – R-30) of rigid foam board, such as Dow blue board (extruded polystyrene, XPS, R-5/inch, Perm 1, vapor retarder), all seams staggered and taped, needs to be applied to the OUTSIDE of the ½” plywood sheathing of 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 walls; OSB is not recommended for sheathing, as it is more prone to rot. Filling the cavities of a 2 x 4 wall with fiberglass wool will add a nominal R-13, of a 2 x 6 wall will add a nominal R-19. To avoid condensation inside the stud walls, interior/exterior ratios of R-values apply, based on climate zone. See page 28 of above “REMOTE” URL and below Example.

 

NOTE: Since 1987 the National Roofing Contractor’s Association (NRCA) has recommended designers use R-5.6/inch as a reasonable estimate of the actual thermal performance of polyisocyanurate insulation over the lifespan of a wall or roof assembly, because R-values are less at lower temperatures. NRCA average R-value for aged polyiso is 5.7/inch at 75 F; some manufacturers claim 6.2/inch. See URLs.

 

- R-values of fiberglass, EPS and XPS are higher at lower temperatures.

- R-values of Polyiso, including ZIP System sheathing, are lower at lower temperatures.

- Most R-value testing is at 75 F, with 50 F on the cold side and 100 F on the warm side.

- XPS should be used in colder climates.

 

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/information-sheets/info-50...

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/pdf/021181088.pdf

http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-HERS-BPI/bid/59...

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/how-install-...

 

Example: In climate zone 6 (Vermont), to satisfy REMOTE requirements:

 

For a nominal R-28 wall 3.5” of fiberglass wool (R-13) and 3” of XPS (R-15) is needed

For a nominal R-33 wall 3.5” of fiberglass wool (R-13) and 4” of XPS (R-20) is needed

For a nominal R-38 wall 3.5” of fiberglass wool (R-13) and 5” of XPS (R-25) is needed

For a nominal R-44 wall 5.5” of fiberglass wool (R-19) and 5“ of XPS (R-25) is needed

 

Indoor relative humidity conditions are ‘low’ (20% RH in winter), ‘normal’ (30% RH in winter) and ‘high’ (40% RH in winter). The worst case, 40% RH, with a dew point of 40.1 F, was chosen for below calculations.

http://andrew.rsmas.miami.edu/bmcnoldy/Humidity.html

 

The inside of sheathing temps, (T indoor – Delta T x R cavity/R total), are:

 

For the R-28 wall: 44.1 F at 42.7 at 17 F, 39.5 F at 10 F, 34.8 F at 0 F; two temps are below the dew point

For the R-33 wall: 46.1 F at 17 F, 43.3 F at 10 F, 39.4 F at 0 F; all but one above the dew point.

For the R-38 wall: 48.6 F at 17 F, 46.2 F at 10 F, 42.8 F at 0 F; all well above the dew point.

For the R-44 wall: 44.3 F at 17 F, 41.3 F at 10 F, 36.9 F at 0 F; all but one above the dew point.

 

Standard 2 x 6 Wall, Foam Outside of Sheathing, 3" Foam in Wall Cavities: A wall could have 4” XPS on the outside of the sheathing and 3” XPS, snugly fit, in the wall cavities, for a nominal R-35, and no fiberglass wool, leaving a 2.5” space (R-0.77) for wiring and piping. At outdoor temps of 17 F, 10 F, 0 F, the inside of sheathing temps would be 44.4 F, 41.4 F, 37.1 F, respectively, all but one above the dew point.

 

- Water piping and electrical wiring can be run inside the exterior stud walls. The 2 x 6 studs can have 1" x 1" cutouts for 3/4" copper tubing.

- Heat from the warm piping in the wall will increase the temperature of the cavities and drywall.

- The interior surface of the wall will “feel” warm/more comfortable, as the cold temperatures are mainly in the exterior foam.

- The exterior foam board will greatly reduce air infiltration and minimize any condensation at the exterior of the sheathing. A moisture barrier, such as Tyvek DrainWrap or 6 mil of polyethylene, must be applied to the exterior of the sheathing.

- The traditional 6 mil polyethylene vapor barrier on the interior of the sheetrock is not needed and must NOT be applied to allow a wall to dry to the interior of the house.

- The stud wall, including sheathing, will be much warmer than a standard stud wall without external foam, and will attract much less water vapor on colder days, and will need much less "drying out” time on warmer days than dense-packed cellulose in 12” thick double walls. See next section. The foam in the stud wall will need minimal "drying out" time, as it absorbs almost no water vapor.

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/bareports/ba-1308-moisture...

 

Standard 2 x 4 Wall, Cellulose in Wall Cavities and on Exterior: The humidity within various wall designs was measured for a year. The results indicate a 2 x 4 wall with 3.5” of cellulose (R-13) in the cavities and latex paint vapor retarder, with 4.3“ of cellulose (R-16) on the exterior of the sheathing, would result in internal RHs of up to 80% for only a few hours of the year. The exterior of the cellulose layer would have house wrap on the inside and outside. Adding more external cellulose would reduce internal RHs, as the cavity wall would be warmer. This wall has the disadvantage of not having 2.5” for wiring and piping, as would the above-mentioned Alternative Example wall.

 

http://www.cchrc.org/sites/default/files/docs/CelluloseSnapshotFina...

 

Double 2 x 4 Walls With Cellulose In Cavity: Building a 12” wall with an outer 2 x 4 wall, plus an inner 2 x 4 wall, studs staggered, creates a thermal break. The entire space, filled with densely packed cellulose (R-3.5/inch), creates 3 heat flow paths:

 

R-path 1 = 1.5" wide with R-3.5 for outer stud + {(12 - 3.5) x 3.5 R/inch = 29.75 for cellulose} = 33.25.

R-path 2 = (8 - 1.5) = 6.5" wide with 12 x 3.5 R/inch = 42.

R-path 3 = same as R-path 1.

 

However, on cold days, the indoor moisture gets drawn towards the inside of the sheathing. It condenses or freezes on the cellulose close to the sheathing and on the sheathing, which is the coldest surface, because inside the wall, the temperature is below the dew point or below freezing! Dense-packed cellulose may become, by weight, up to 30% water in North-facing walls with indoor RH of 40% in wintertime.

 

- The dew point would be 12 - (65 - 40.1)/{(65 - 17))/12} = 5.78 inch from the sheathing wall at 17 F outdoor temp, and 6.57 inch at 10 F outdoor temp.

- The freezing points would be 3.75 inch, and 4.80 inch, respectively, from the sheathing wall.

- The conditions would be worse for Paths 1 and 3, as they have lesser R-values.

- The R-values of damp and frozen cellulose are less than of dry cellulose.

- Thicker walls with densely packed cellulose are slow to dry on warmer days.

- Water piping and wiring cannot be run inside the exterior stud walls, as it might freeze.

- The interior surface of the wall will not “feel” warm/more comfortable, as the cold temperatures are mainly in the cellulose.

- The cellulose, mainly recycled newspaper, absorbs water, would mold, unless treated with borate to make is mold resistant, but the sheathing, a structural component, if not enough dried on warmer days, will mold and rot.

 

Conclusion: XPS foam insulation on the OUTSIDE of the sheathing combined with fiberglass wool or XPS foam in the stud wall cavities, as shown in the above example, is the superior, long-term approach for high R-value walls.

 

NOTE: A thin layer of spray foam applied to the interior of the stud wall sheathing and the sill area “to reduce air infiltration” on new houses, with the rest of the stud wall cavity filled with fiberglass or cellulose, must allow the wall and sill area to dry to the interior of the house, i.e., no polyethylene moisture barrier applied at the inside of the dry wall, plus no moisture barrier applied to the outside of the sheathing and sill area, to allow the sheathing and sill area to dry towards the exterior. On retrofit jobs, with existing moisture barriers, these requirements would be costly to implement.

 

NOTE: Attics usually have very high humidity, up to 90%, as water vapor is lighter than air and gable vents often do not provide enough ventilation on windless days. A layer of spray foam applied to the rafters and roof sheathing must allow the roof sheathing to dry to the exterior of the house, i.e., no tarpaper, ice and water shield, or other moisture barrier must be applied under the shingles!

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Comment by Willem Post on June 11, 2017 at 7:49pm

Paula,

Thank you for your comment.

People could use high density cellulose in the stud cavities, which is shredded newspaper that has been treated so insects do not eat it.

Comment by Paula D Kelso on June 11, 2017 at 3:36pm

So you're saying our 37 year investment in our 1850's Maine farmhouse may not be the best when we put it on the real estate market soon....

But it has ambience, doesn't that count for something.

Not all things new and green are the best for the environment.

Take that polystyrene insulating foam board, from Wikipedia:

Production

Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. In expanded polystyrene, these are usually hydrocarbons such as pentane, which may pose a flammability hazard in manufacturing or storage of newly manufactured material, but have relatively mild environmental impact.[citation needed] Extruded polystyrene is usually made with hydrofluorocarbons (HFC-134a),[36] which have global warming potentials of approximately 1000–1300 times that of carbon dioxide.[37]

Non-biodegradable

Discarded polystyrene does not biodegrade for hundreds of years and is resistant to photolysis.[38]

Not poo-poo'ing the case for higher energy efficiency, just mentioning that nothing is ever a win-win.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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