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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Building Green Saves Green

by Mark Lewis, Archer Lion

Building a green home or remolding in a green way is more than just using recycled products. While that’s one component, building green is a holistic approach that involves many factors.

Landscaping – Planting deciduous trees on the South side of the house aids in summer cooling and when the leaves fall aids in winter solar gain.

Wall Insulation-SIPS – (Insulated concrete forms) walls, hay bale construction, and sprayed in-place foam insulation can dramatically lower heating/cooling costs.

Solar or Other Off-Grid Power – Not only are roof or free standing solar collectors cost effective, the latest geothermal and even solar window coatings can contribute to a fast payback.

Passive Solar Collectors – Using tile instead of carpet by those south facing windows absorbs heat during a sunny winter day to aid in nighttime heating.

Windows – New tech, high thermo windows (like Serious Windows) offer full window R values up to R-11 (typical wood or vinyl windows are R3-R5).

An example of these new, Net 0, or Passive Homes, is the Nauhaus Prototype. This ambitious project includes passive solar, super insulation, and Serious windows. Nauhaus is a carbon neutral urban homestead that needs no furnace or air conditioning in most climates, is 90% more energy efficient than present code mandates, and achieves a LEED platinum certification.

In Western Wisconsin, an innovative Net 0 home was just constructed in the Dunn County hills North of Wheeler. Using super insulated fiberglass Serious windows with suspended film glass packages, ultra thick insulated walls, site specific design, active and passive solar, and other energy enhancing techniques, the home is an example of how beautiful, functional, and affordable a true energy efficient home can be.

Commercial projects like schools and office buildings also benefit from these advanced energy efficiency techniques. Even in conventionally constructed buildings, Serious windows and the use of active and passive solar design can allow for downsized heating and air conditioning. The energy savings are substantial. In fact, the Empire State Building in New York is retrofitting its 6,000 windows with Serious windows and expects to achieve a 40% energy savings of 4.4 million dollars per year.

In the near future, homes and businesses will see new technologies available to lower energy costs and help America become more energy independent.

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