What went wrong with weatherization

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harry. That's strange. Haven't visited the UK very often since leaving some 50+ years ago but my limited experience of UK housing since hasn't been very impressive. Much of the UK housing stock is old and it is EXPENSIVE! also in short supply?
Visiting my sister in Farnborough (some 40 miles say from London?) in year 2000 her so-called four bed-roomer which she was trying to sell then (and I had offered to help her and my brother in law to move) for around the equivalent of $620,000 dollars was not impressive. One bedroom was no more than a box-room, it had no built in closets, one bathroom and a small extra toilet wash-basin under the stairs with a sloping headroom. There was insufficient room in the kitchen it seemed for a full size fridge, so there was a small 'camper sized' fridge with an equally small freezer below it with the door opening the opposite way! The instant hot water sytem for showers was a bit erratic and hard to use. It as summer time so no experience of winter conditions. So can't recall what kind of heating it had. Also a very; very, small attached garage but no direct access to it from house. She did not sell at the time but later for around $670,000. An equivalent house in North America at the time would IMO have cost/sold no more than half that; maybe $250,000 and in certain parts of the USA for around $200,000 or less.
Again staying at a B & B near Heathrow around 2005 I was relegated to what had probably been a council house down a side road, although it was a nice area not far from Heathrow. It was quite a surprise not having seen or lived in one of those since the 1950s! The whole house was no more than 12 or at most 15 feet wide and was attached both sides. The front door had originally opened into the front living room! But it had been walled off and been converted into one of B&B bedrooms. The staircase was narrow and the handrail was merely a strip of wood on the wall. The shower didn't work and there was no bath plug ...... but that's another story .............. There was no space on the property to park a vehicle! The whole row should have been torn down years ago.
Also stayed with old friend from school near Cheltenham. Smallish detached house, again no built in closets, pleasant area, smallish well kept garden. The small areas of grass could easily be trimmed with a push-mower. Very small attached garage. Not big enough to work on smallish car.
Visiting the big old house in Liverpool where we lived immediately after WWII which was over 100 years old when we lived there in the late 1940s, found it being converted to expensive flats. have since seen/heard each flat sells for around $300,000! No garages at all!
This all electric four bedroom and large attached garage wood frame house which we built in 1970, main construction taking about six weeks, and then finishing it ourselves cost (then) less than $40,000 (about 2.5 times my gross annual salary), including land, a well and septic tank. Now on municipal water and sewer. If built today it would have thicker walls and more insulation etc. But it has worked well and now coming up on a couple of major repair items; roof and driveway replacements at today's prices plus 40 years of pretty easy self- maintenance our annual total cost of housing, including heat/light, municipal fees, insurance etc. etc. is estimated at around say $7000 to $8000. Say around 5000 UK pounds.
Following discussions on UK d-i-y (a do it yourself group) it sounds as though insulation, use of vapour barriers, proper attic venting, air exchangers for well sealed homes and double glazing are still not universal in UK and that much of the housing is approaching 100 years old? I do recall a one floor flat of a 53 year old house being on the market in year 2000 for 130,000 UK pounds, wow, then well over $200,000?
BTW what has happened to all those pre-fabs of the post war era. how long did they last? Cheers.
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snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net says...

I find this very hard to believe. What are typical R values for walls and ceilings in the UK? How are your more efficient windows constructed? What draft proof methods do you prefer?
In most areas of the US, new homes must pass the Residential Energy Check which trades off insulation values and better windows and doors, with heating and cooling efficiency. The higher the furnace efficiency, the less unsulation you are required to have, etc.
My house (in Ohio) passed in 2005 using the 2003 ResCheck. I needed walls with R 13 cavities and R 3.3 foam panels on the outside. The ceilings are R 30 or 40, floors are R 19 over semi conditioned space, (not open to the outside air).
A friend is building a home nearby and by the 2008 standards has to have R 13 walls with R 6.5 foam panels, and R 49 ceilings, this is with a geo-thermal heat pump.
I think my home is pretty average. Are you saying the homes on the UK have R 70 walls and R 120 ceilings?
--
Dennis


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DT wrote:

Many homes in the UK are so small they can be acclimatized in the winter with mere body heat. Maybe one dog.
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On Sun, 28 Feb 2010 19:41:16 -0600, HeyBub wrote:

Insulation performance measured according to D-value? :-)
We've got two dogs and three cats, and they make for great little portable space heaters.
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If that's true, it's surely one of the stupidist examples of govt in action. What good is a higher efficiency furnace if you're then going to back off on the amount of insulation? Why save money in one place, just to throw it out in another?

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net says...

and
units
heating
It just sets a *minimum* standard for BTUs per square foot to ensure a reasonably efficient home. You can always build to a higher efficiency. That required efficiency has risen over the years. REScheck is pass/fail, there is no fudging by the building department. The REScheck software generates a score and it must reach a certain BTU/sf, depending on where you live. The scoring page states "pass" or "fail". If you don't pass, you don't get the building permit. If you pass by 20%, so much the better.
You can download REScheck or run it on the web. It works in near real time, you change the window sizes in one room, for instance, and a new score appears. You can experiment with different options to see what you would rather do. If you want lots of huge windows, you are going to need higher insulation. Judging from what my friend has been going through it would be extremely hard to pass the latest versions with an 80% furnace in my area.
http://www.energycodes.gov/rescheck/
It also offers pre-approved packages. As long as you meet each insulation level and window U factor, the home passes automatically. I couldn't use this approach with my home, since part of it was existing and I added a second story addition. Since I had a few areas which were less than the specified insulation or U factors, I had to increase the insulation in other areas to pass.
--
Dennis


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On Mar 1, 9:10am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It is a good question to be asking ...........' Why spend money on energy losses when, by a much larger investment at today's prices one could reduce it considerably?'
But it can be a matter of current 'economics'. Living, as we are, in a typical 1970s stick built, fully paid for, North American house, we might be able, say, to cut our energy costs in half . Oh goody, eh?
But do so would either mean selling and building/buying a newer better insulated house etc. and/or gutting this one entirely and rebuilding it! Both alternatives would be costly. At least $50,000 to $100,000.
To get any 'significant' savings in energy costs one estimate of the cost would require one to amortize something of the order of at least $50,000 (maybe more) at an annual of cost of around $6000, in order to reduce our annual energy cost from around $3500 per annum by 50% or $1750.
In other words $6000 per year (next 10 years) to save $1750; it's not economic!
A similar situation can exist with a motor vehicle; e.g. the 2002 model V6 we have at the moment, originally bought for operating a small business does not get very good gas mileage. But at this stage it is driven so little that fuel consumption is not a significant cost factor. So again it is not economic to replace it until it becomes absolutely necessary. If one were a 'travelling salesman' , for example,. then gas mileage could be a most significant factor.
In the meantime one can do some normal things to improve one's existing home; without getting involved in any of those governemnt subsidized schemes, which, in Canada anyway, seem to require masses of bureaucracy! Declaration of ones income for last few years, address, blood type of your first born, when you last visited the USA and how many times per week you and your spouse (or significant other) get it on! Well that is a 'bit' of an exaggeration! But the previous time we had taken advantage of a government funded 'Better insulation scheme' it ended up in my income tax!
Seriously though: The governemnt of Canada have just ceased offering an incentive that provided, on expenditures of up to $10,000 a maximum subsidy of $1,350 (13.5%). Considering that at least 50% of any $10,000 insulation upgrade may be labour, a better course in our case was to buy the materials and o the work ourselves, as convenient (and from time to as material was on sale?). That subsidy/incentive (now no longer available) on say $5000 was 15% on anything over the first $1000, so on $5000 = $600! So, an overall cost of say $4,400 in order to make some slight reduction, maybe $50 per month? in energy costs. That does seem a little more economic although the $50 per month reduction may be a bit optimistic.
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`The whole problem is that Americans pay far too little for their fuels of all types.This has led to them squandering the world's resources. If your fuels price doubled (and they will) the economics of fuel efficiency would become apparent. The time to do it is now because the cost of insulating your house is also related to fuel price. In ten years fuel will cost four times what it is now. Only if you have "future proofed" your home will you be saved. My home is future proofed, I have 2 feet of insulation in my walls and roof and need no furnace at all. I wonder how the cost of houses in DC or New York compares with SEast UK?
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harry wrote: (snip)

No, we pay something close to what it actually costs. You folks in the nanny states pay that, plus the confiscatory taxes your government imposes because they think they know better than you do what is appropriate.
-- aem sends...
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And talk about squandering, it's the govts that take the money in the form of high energy taxes that then squander it away on more nanny state projects.
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wrote:

Where did you visit? Much of the U.S. doesn't need much insulation. I bet if you visited a recent minnisota house, you'd find insulation superior to any brit house. Their requirements dwarf yours.
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t> wrote:

I haven't been to the UK except on a plane connection, but I've lived in both Germany and Minnesota. (roughly same latitude)
There is just no comparison. The biggest difference is inflitration. Minnesota houses were built like a sieve, air almost blows through them. The German houses showed how tight you can get with proper attention to construction detail - they had so few air changes per day (not per hour) that most people open windows to ventilate. (yeah, seems counterproductive, but humidity would build up) The German windows really seal and really insulate, while being operable (tilt or close).
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net> wrote:

So these superior Germans who build these tight houses never heard of heat recovery ventilators and instead leave the windows open? Maybe they should come to the USA. My friend bought a 5 year old house that has one.
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On Mon, 01 Mar 2010 08:46:51 -0800, TimR wrote:

As someone who lives in Minnesota, I agree 100%. Modern-build houses aren't nearly as bad, of course, but there's an awful lot of old housing stock around still.
Our place was built in 1949 - walls are just 2x4" frame, which doesn't provide a lot of space for insulation, and I don't think there was ever any kind of sealing done where the wooden frame meets the concrete foundation walls. Windows are all single-glazed French-style with 8x10" panes, so they leak air quite nicely too. It's very much typical for this area (and probably 200 miles in any direction), though.
cheers
Jules
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On Wed, 3 Mar 2010 18:19:25 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

If you visit a construction site most likely you're not looking at 1949 practicies. I would bet that most new construction in MN is airtight as hell.
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Well, these houses were built on 4x2 frames. The exterior was clad with feather edged boards, looked like some sort of fibre bonded cement. Lots of scope for infiltration (air leaks) and only had poorly fitted mineral wool isulation. The iside was clad in 1/2" what we would call plasterboard. I couldn't figure out what kept the walls square and rigid. The heating was incredibly primitive, air exchange gas heaters in the basement and massive water storage heaters for domestic hot water. Windows single glazed. The concrete poured for the basement was not cured and very little reinforcing. The roofs were clad in what looked like tarred paper. We build better garden sheds in the UK.
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On Sun, 28 Feb 2010 04:56:39 -0800, harry wrote:

As someone who used to live in the UK and now lives in the US, I agree - US houses generally built big and with comparatively little insulation, with the heating left to pick up the slack.
Things *are* getting better (not only better insulation, but better heating systems too), but slowly. It gets down to about -30F in the winter here, and we probably spend about $1200/year on heating (and that's running things at 65F during the day and 60F at night; lots of folk prefer their homes to be considerably warmer).

One day I'll have to replace the siding on our house - and the windows are due replacement, too. As we've got deep soffits, I'm toying with the idea of making the exerior walls thicker and so giving an extra 3-4" of insulation.

There certainly seem to be a lot around that are heavy and with poor handling and quite inefficient engines. That does seem to be changing too, though - and I see various vehicles that are no different to European counterparts, just sold under a different brand name.
cheers
Jules
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I would certainly like to replace my ( single pane ) windows with storms.
As I understand it, you get "tax credits" for your costs. I'm a SeniorCitizen living pretty much on Social Security. I don't have enough income to pay federal taxes. So Tax Credits would be useless to me.
wrote:

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HeyBub wrote:

--
If it didn't work and couldn't be made to work, the current administration
seems to demand more of it.
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