For the SURE HOUSE, Sustainability means consuming significantly less energy than a typical home. How is this achieved? First, the building envelope is designed to reduce what is known as energy demand, the amount of energy required to run the house regardless of the efficiency of the appliances and mechanical systems. Second, the equipment used to run the house must be sized to match this demand while using the least amount of energy possible.
SURE HOUSE: Educating the public on energy efficiency technology
A wide range of new technologies exist on the market today that can significantly reduce energy use, but for many of them the upfront cost has hindered widespread popularity even though the return on investment is often quite low. What is especially difficult is the commitment to installing house-wide energy efficiency scheme where every energy sink is carefully chosen to maximize whole house efficiency. It is easy to install efficient light bulbs or maybe spend a little extra on a fancy refrigerator, but the typical home builder does not have the patience to research the best technologies and assess the benefit from a higher investment even though it may be advantageous to them financially. The problem in this situation involves education of the public and one of the goals of the SURE HOUSE is to provide an example of a simple yet comfortable home that introduces some technologies that are readily available to the public as well as an innovative and resilient PV hot water system with potential for integration into the coastal housing market.
SUstainability Means: Using the Most Efficient Technology Available
What are some of the appliances you will see in the SURE HOUSE? Here’s a quick overview of some of the things you’ll find in the SURE HOUSE that contribute dramatically to a low energy budget.
Heating and Cooling: Daikin Skyair Heat Pump with Zoning Kit
In addition to requiring a low amount of energy to heat and cool the home, the SURE HOUSE will be using a highly efficient heat pump to heat, cool, and dehumidify the space. This heat pump will utilize a zoning kit that will give it the ability to control the temperature in each room. By controlling only the specific areas needed energy demand and costs will decrease dramatically.
ERV: Zehnder Novus 300
While a traditional home wastes its exhaust air, the energy recovery ventilation system utilizes its energy to precondition incoming air. The ventilation unit uses very low power and is highly efficient in recovering heat that would otherwise be wasted, saving both energy and money. This system raises the level of indoor air quality and reduces the amount of HVAC equipment.
PV Hot Water
An important detail to consider when creating an energy efficient house is how to create hot water. The SURE HOUSE uses a solar electric (PV) system to heat the water first without having to waste money or electricity. The PV hot water system takes up very little space, requires very little maintenance, and is completely environmentally friendly. Paired with the AirTap Hybrid water heater, the hot water system is highly efficient and will provide the owners with hot water without draining their wallet.
Washer and Dryer: LG Ultra Large Capacity Turbowash
The SURE HOUSE is utilizing a large capacity Turbowash washing machine and a hybrid dryer. The Turbowash is extremely quick, saving time and energy with every load of laundry, while still offering innovative features such as steam cleaning and an anti-vibration system. The hybrid dryer combines conventional heating with a heat pump to recover lost heat and reduce energy demand. By using a heat pump to preheat the incoming air the dryer doesn’t need to waste as much energy, which creates a more efficient system.
The Technology is Here:
What Are You Waiting For?
So there you have it – a sneak peek into how the SURE HOUSE achieves sustainability through low energy usage. Not everything about building an energy efficient house has to be difficult like constructing an intelligently detailed Passive House building envelope. A little extra research and upfront cost can go a long way to lower your energy bill given the technology on the market today.