Top Green Projects & Products from USGBC

The USGBC recently concluded what has been identified as the “best green building conference and expo in the world.” Held in Toronto, attendees could participate in 105 educational programs, 6 summits from affordable housing to green jobs, or meet thousands of exhibitors and view their innovative products over the four day event.

ACME has selected a few of the products and projects that caught our attention and our appreciation.

BuildingGreen’s Top 10 Products for 2012

“…As we scout out new, innovative products for GreenSpec and Environmental Building News, every year we present the Top 10 Building Products as selected by our editorial team. This year we are awarding the top 10 products of 2012. That is not a typo. Though we discovered these products over the previous year, they are produced by forward-thinking manufacturers that are addressing fundamental building needs for 2012 and beyond.”

ACME Panel has a favorite:

Mitsubishi ductless heat pumps and variable-refrigerant-flow systems

Ground-source heat pumps (which use water or glycol) provide energy-efficient heating and cooling — but they require deep wells or a nearby water source, and they are expensive. Ideally, air-to-air heat pumps (also known as “split” systems) can lower the initial cost while providing similar performance, but these systems often don’t operate well at very low temperatures. The Mitsubishi ductless heat pumps are a leap forward in air-to-air efficiency, almost rivaling ground-source at a fraction of the cost. They can be used in multifamily and hotel applications, where custom setpoints and even submetering may be desirable, and they work well even at very low temperatures — a limitation on air-to-air heat pumps in the past.

Praise for SIPs

Southface Energy Institute is a nonprofit organization that for more than 30 years has promoted energy-, water-, and resource-efficient workplaces, homes, and communities throughout the Southeast.

SIPs are one of more than 100 environmental features in the Energy and Environmental Resource Center built by Southface Energy Institute in 1996. “I’d like to see SIPs used more in production building, especially when windows and doors can be pre-cut at manufacture,” says Mike Barcik, director of technical services for Southface, in an article by Natural Home & Garden.

The LEED 2011 Project of the Year

This ultra-efficient 1,500 sq. ft. GO Home, built by GO Logic in Belfast, ME, was only the 12th project in the U.S. to be certified under the rigorous Passive House energy efficiency standard. The European-inspired standard relies on a super-insulated and well-sealed building enclosure, along with passive solar design, to drastically reduce the amount of energy needed for heating or cooling. This is the second consecutive year a home built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) has received the award.

Visit the SIPA web site to learn more.

SIP-wrapped house is first Passive House in Hudson Valley, NY

The three bedroom house uses 10 percent of the energy of a standard US house. Without geothermal, wind, or solar panel systems, buildings meeting Passivhaus (in the US, Passive House) standards must be super-insulated and primarily heated by the sun and the people occupying the building.

Visit smartplanet to learn more.

Newsletter – July 2011

FloydFest X kicks off this weekend, and we are especially excited for this year’s festival!

Floydfest X

As you may have heard, we have helped Across the Way Productions, the organization that makes FloydFest happen, build their new headquarters by donating our SIPs and labor. This new building has helped them move out of the trailer they had been working in for years

FloydFest's new HQ donated in part by ACME Panel Company

Read below to learn about how our SIPs help the new HQ building save energy. We have proof – a blower-door test was performed on the building, and we discuss the results in the following article.
ACME Panel Company is proud to sponsor FloydFest, Across the Way Productions, and many other local arts groups.
Joe Fortier
ACME Panel Company

ACME Panel saves:

Blower Door Basics

Blower Door

Leaky homes are hard to heat and hard to cool. The only way to know whether your home is leaky or tight is to measure its air leakage rate with a blower-door test. An energy-efficient house must be as airtight as possible. Many older homes are so leaky that one third to one half of the home’s heat loss comes from air leaks
Nick Hanson of R-Value Construction, LLC donated his services to perform a blower-door test on the new FloydFest headquarters. With our donation of structural insulated panels and our crew putting up the shell for the headquarters, we were able to get them out of an ancient mobile home into a green building. This test proved that the building, made with ACME structural insulated panels, is 48% MORE energy efficient than an equivalent new structure made with traditional stick-built framing!
There are at least two reasons to conduct a blower-door test on an existing house: to determine how leaky it is, and to help locate and fix the leaks.

How does the blower-door test work? It’s actually fairly simple. The professional home energy auditor (Nick in our case) will set up a blower door in your home. In most cases, the blower door will be placed in the front doorway area.
The purpose of the blower door is to pull out all of the air from the inside of the house (a process more formally known as depressurizing the home). What does this do? Well, when you pull out all of the inside air, the outside air will rush into the house through any leaks that exist, exaggerating the leaks and making them easier to locate and measure.
Once the blower door is running, the energy inspector will go from room to room. What he’s doing is checking for these leaks. He’ll make a note of all of the areas where outside air is coming into the house. He’ll be able to analyze what needs to be done to seal up the leaks in the most efficient manner.
This type of energy check allows your home’s air-leakage rate to be calculated which determines exactly how much damage your home is suffering from air leakage. This will give you a clear picture of how much energy is lost to these leaks.
Our blower-door test came out great with a score of 0.33 ACH (air changes per hour). When you tighten a house more than 0.25 ACH, you have to add a mechanical air exchanger to ventilate the house – these take the stale air out, recover the heat or cold from it, and transfer it to fresh, clean filtered air from outside. So why would you want to first tighten a house and then turn around and ventilate it with a fan? For several reasons:

  • Leaky homes don’t provide dependable volumes of fresh air. In a leaky house, air infiltration rates are very high in some conditions (when it’s cold outdoors and when it’s windy) and very low in other conditions (when outdoor temperatures are mild and there is little wind).
  • Leaky houses tend to be over-ventilated in zones that are leaky and under-ventilated in zones that are relatively tight.
  • Air leakage through wall and ceiling assemblies can lead to condensation, mold, and rot.
  • Leaky homes are uncomfortable.
  • Tight homes use much less energy than leaky homes even taking into account the electrical energy used for ventilation.
House leaks

The blower-door test is just one of many tests that R-Value Construction can perform. However, it is one of the most crucial tests that can be done. Sealing up the leaks in your home is one of the more significant things that you can do to make sure that you have the most energy-efficient home possible. Building your new home or addition with ACME structural insulated panels is another sure way you can get a home that uses 50-60% less energy for heating and cooling.
A blower-door test can cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the size of your structure, and will pay for itself. There are multiple quality energy auditors in the New River Valley including: R-Value Construction and Energy Che