Looking for Energy Efficiency Information

I'm considering building a new home on an empty lot next to my existing home. It would be my new residence and I would sell the home I am in now. Since the existing home is old and very inefficient, I am particularly interested in building a very energy efficient home. I am just beginning to research energy efficient construction methods and and hoping that some of you can steer me toward some websites that will help educate me on energy efficient construction methods and materials.
Thanks in advance for your help.
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Frank,
You don't mention where you live, and what types of thing specifically you have to work through. For example, I'm in Iowa and the house I just built is out in the middle of a field. The wind is horrible, so it's important to me to have a house that's very tight, and control the air exchange with a air-to-air unit. I built with ICF, considerd SIPS but choose not to, the dealer ended up being an a$$, his loss.
What kind of heating load will you have? Is the radiant barrier in the attic an option for you? Do you have room for geo thermal? If so, is it really the way you want to go? I didn't use geo since the payoff with ICF is almost at the expected life of the geo unit. Do you want radiant heat in the floor, if so, there's some very specific things to do that will help with efficency.
Check out the Building Sciences and Oak Ridge National Labs research work. Is there a university close, check with their Extension office on the latest research driven methods. Go to the home shows with your eyes wide open...lots of ideas...but also lots of crap and everyone has the best product. Vinyl window/sidning salesmen are great...but I wouldn't have either. It's a choice.
My point here is many will have answers, and it's your job to pick an choose what will work for you. I think there's many quality products out there, and you just have to be diligent and start googling your way around.
I'm still working on our house that my wife and I are building, and we started with many of the same questions you have...so I've been where you are not long ago. We'll be drywalling next Tuesday...so that's a great milestone to hit. We've done ALL the work ourselves, including the ICF's. Wouldn't have it anyother way.
Reply back with additional information or off line and I'll be happy to share what I've picked up along the way.
Good luck,
DAC

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Good idea since energy prices seem to keep going up, up, up!
Of course you would want thicker walls and more insulation. The higher the R-Value the better. And windows can be double or triple pane.
An electric water heater can be 30% of an electric bill. Might want to check out solar water heating systems. Search google.com for solar water heating.
Then new Energy Star heating systems can be so efficient, the flue is PVC plastic and not metal!
Here is a good site for saving energy in general (Energy Star)... http://www.energystar.gov
Then searching google.com for Energy Star homes gets a ton of web sites... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Energy+Star+homes
A search for Energy Star windows gets a lot of sites as well... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Energy+Star+windows&btnG=Google+Search
Energy Star appliances... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Energy+Star+appliances&btnG=Google+Search
Energy Star heating... http://www.google.com/search?num &hl=en&safe=off&q=Energy+Star+heating&btnG=Search
"Frank Taco" wrote in message

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Also look at your utilities, at least for links and ideas. I have delt with:
http://www.avistautilities.com / http://www.energycodes.gov / http://www.energy.wsu.edu / http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/info/index.html http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/ http://www.newbuildings.org / http://hes.lbl.gov / http://advisor.lbl.gov / http://www.eebestpractices.com /
Those will get you a long way. Of course they have more links...
Richard Reid, LC

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Frank Taco wrote:

We're just finishing our first full year in our SIP home and I am very, very impressed with it's efficiency. We used 4" exterior walls (urethane, not styrofoam; better R value and nicer esthetics I believe) and 6" roof panels (rather than 8" which the polylstyrene would require for similar R value). We have a 110,000 BTU 90+ Energy Star furnace (RUUD), and only a single zone 3 Ton AC for 3,800+ sq ft. We are on track for paying $350-$400 in total heating costs this winter (at $1.667/gal). When it's partly sunny and at least 50 and no cooler than 38-40 at night, the house gets up to 75 - 77 and we can usually go without the furnace all night due to the incredibly low heat loss even though we have an abundance of glass on one wall. The windows are low E, argon filled. The balance of the house is electric including 80 gal hot water energy star Kenmore, well pump, etc. etc. Electric runs $65 (Oct) - $210 (July) per month.
Link for more details and photos of construction (not elaborate; single page to give you an overall idea of the construction):
http://home.earthlink.net/~mikefrandson/NewHouseRelease.htm
One other suggestion is to research everything and leave no question unasked. Good luck!
StLousMike
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Thanks to all of you who replied with suggestions and comments. That's a ton of great information to get me started.
DAC, I'm in eastern Washington state. Daily lows right now in the lower 20's, highs in the low 30's, which is fairly typical for much of the winter here with occassion dips into the teens and single digits. Dry climate with relatively little wind. I would be building in an older neighborhood on a 50' wide x 100' deep lot. Lots of mature pine trees keep the lot partially shaded.
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Looking at the IRC (I don't know if Washington is using this code or not) you are probably in Zone 5 which would require R-38 in the ceiling, R-19 in the exterior walls, and R-30 in the floor (if over unheated exterior) or R-10 for a basement wall. (Those are the minimums.)
As one commenter pointed out, R vales are misleading; especially in the attic where it's most important. What is known is that porous insulation such as fiberglass & and cellulose, allows heat too rise through it and this slight airflow draws cold, outside air into the insulation. (Convection).
In this process, the colder it gets outside, the greater the convection, and the lower the R values drops (in a study published by Oakridge National Laboratory.)
Truthfully, the published R values on insulation is under ideal, testing conditions, in sealed cavities and in dry air (which is almost never seen in real-world conditions. For example, an R-19 wall (actually R-18 or R-17 after installation - due to compression from 6 inch or 6.5 inch expanded thickness into a 5.5 inch cavity) will drop to an R-9 value at -18 deg F. (A more realistic figure would be R-14 at 19 deg F.) Anyway, the R value does drop due to air infiltrating the insulation; up to 1/2 when you need it most.
http://www.monolithic.com/plan_design/rfairy/index.html
Much of the money spent for high values of insulation is actually wasted in a cold climate. A better choice is to consider ICF or rigid foam (both have certain drawbacks not readily apparent), or best, sprayed-in-place foam (which does not suffer from these defects.) It does cost more, but remains constant when exposed to very cold temperatures (unlike fiberglass & cellulose) thereby returning it's extra cost faster than conventional insulations. It's hard to beat a conventionally framed home insulated with spray-in-place foam. Excellent R values, seals all points of infiltration (excluding windows, doors and intentional air ducts).
There are several websites available on "green" housing, some (in Washington) require NO extra energy to heat or cool (mostly solar and passive) but they are documented. Energy efficiency STARTS with the design of the home (the layout facing south has the greatest effect.) Super good insulation and efficient doors and windows (a very large source of loss) and your well on your way to recovering every extra dime you put into it. (Don't overlook the solar aspect as it has a very important part in dropping (or raising) energy costs if ignored in the design phase. Roof overhangs, placement of glazing, mass storage (masonry walls), solar panels, all these and so much more all play a part. (In an unrelated example, I seen a show on cable where FedEx has an entire hub (large building) powered by solar and actually sells electricity back to the local utility.
I would say a good payback is 10 years. (Wishful thinking but energy costs are only going to go up in the future, so in ten years, you very well could see a full return.)

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For information on ICF go to www.futurestone.com or www.nudura.com. With the thermal-mass of the concrete you will get walls that perform up to r-50. That's better than any other type of construction.

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I'm finishing my ICF house and only hope for the r-50...but not banking on it. Here's an article that indicate different findings <http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/research/detailed_papers/thermal / results.html>. Beware of the hype surrounding ICF or SIP constrution methods.
At one site one time I was reading that in a typical 2x6 construction in the mid 11's was the BEST anyone could get assuming the insulation was installed PERFECTLY. I choose ICF for the sound deading abilities, and to stop the air infiltration. Regardless, ceiling insulation is increadibly important and I'll be putting in 14-16 inches of cellulose.
DAC

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Good comments, you might consider using a open cell spray in foam it the rafters of the house. Creates an envelope to hole in or keep out heat. If you use ICF and don't do something significant in the attic you are just moving the energy problem from the wall to the roof.
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wrote:

Here is how I did my house with SIPs.
http://www.asberry.net/home_building.htm
--Andy Asberry-- ------Texas-----
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These sites could be useful to you: http://www.vinylnewsservice.net / http://www.vinylinfo.org / ------ Frank Taco wrote:

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Here's an excellent one that home builders use: http://toolbase.org/index.aspx Check the tabs "Green Building", "Zero Energy Homes" and "Energy Efficiency" to start.
TKM
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Frank, Check out these web sites: www.forms.org/ or www.indianaconcretehomes.com
Brian
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I suggest you also look at www.futurestone.com for information about building with NUDURA ICF. Because of the thermal mass of the concrete you can up-to achieve R-50 performance in your walls.
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