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Recommended Energy Efficient/Sustainable Enhancements

ENERGY STAR- www.energystar.gov ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Dishwasher - ENERGY STAR qualified models are, on average, 10% more energy efficient than non-qualified models.

Refrigerator - ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators are 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard

Freezers - An ENERGY STAR qualified freezer uses 10% less energy than a new, non-ENERGY STAR qualified model

Clothes Washer - ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers use about 30% less energy and use over 50% less water than regular washers. Many qualified clothes washers also have a greater capacity than conventional models, meaning fewer loads of laundry.


Straw Bale - There are two major categories of building with strawbales: load-bearing and non-load bearing. Load-bearing buildings are generally limited to one story and are often small. If designed correctly they can require less wood than non-load-bearing buildings. Non-load-bearing buildings often use a post and beam frame with straw bales as infill to create the walls. They can be any size and shape and have multiple stories. One advantage over load-bearing is that the roof can be finished before installing the straw bales which makes it easier to keep them dry (a critical factor in straw bale construction). A carefully constructed straw-bale building has excellent thermal performance because of their combination of the bales high insulative value and the thermal mass provided by the interiors thick plaster coating.

Earthship - An Earthship is a type of passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials. These homes are primarily constructed to work autonomously and are generally made of earth-filled tires, utilizing thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. Earthships are generally off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels.
SIP System (Structural Insulated Panels) - Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are high performance building panels used in floors, walls, and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are typically made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each home. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. www.sips.org

OVE (Optimal Value Engineering) or Advanced House Framing Technigues - refers to a variety of techniques designed to reduce the amount of lumber used and waste generated in the construction of a wood-framed house. These techniques also improve a home's energy efficiency. Advanced framing techniques create a structurally sound home with lower material and labor costs than a conventionally framed house. Additional construction cost savings result from reduced waste disposal, which also helps the environment. Advanced framing actually replaces lumber with insulation material and maximizes the wall that's insulated, which improves the whole-wall thermal resistance or R-value.

ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) –reinforced concrete walls that are cast in place and left permanently as insulation. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are rigid plastic foam forms that hold concrete in place during curing and remain in place afterwards to serve as thermal insulation for concrete walls. The foam sections are lightweight and result in energy-efficient, durable construction. Insulation values of ICF walls vary depending on the material and its thickness. Typical insulation values range from R-17 to R-26, compared to between R-13 and R-19 for most wood-framed walls. The strength of ICF structures relative to lumber depends on configuration, thickness, and reinforcement. However, ICF walls are designed as reinforced concrete, having high wind and seismic resistance. http://www.forms.org/

Rammed Earth – Similar to adobe construction, a builder pounds layers of moist, sifted soil mixed with a small amount of Portland cement into removable forms. This soil is tamped down until its volume has been compacted by approximately 25 percent. When the earth is stable, the wood or metal form is removed, placed on top of the first layer of the wall, and the process is repeated. The best mixture for rammed earth contains approximately 30 percent clay and 70 percent sand, with a small amount of cement added. These components are nontoxic, inexpensive and readily available. Like adobe, rammed earth buildings have the advantage of having very thick walls that retain heat. Their thickness, or thermal mass, helps to even out temperature fluctuations between day and night, making them easy to heat and cool.

Off-the-grid - Off-the-grid homes are autonomous. They do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid or similar utility services. A true "off the grid" or "off-grid" house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services.


HERS Rating (Home Energy Rating System) A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home’s construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index. Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index score for the home.

The HERS Index - The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference Home. Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient. For more information, visit http://www.natresnet.org/

ENERGY STAR Certified -To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% (20% for our region) more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes. Home Energy Raters are trained to evaluate construction techniques, take key measurements, and perform inspections and testing procedures to verify a home’s efficient performance. ENERGY STAR is in the process of releasing the 2011 program. www.energystar.gov

Steamboat Springs/Routt Co Green Building Program http://steamboatsprings.net/departments/planning_department/go_green

Program Guide: http://steamboatsprings.net/sites/default/files/page/1333/GBP%20Booklet%20adoption_draft_12_2.pdf

Program Checklist: http://steamboatsprings.net/sites/default/files/page/1333/GBP%20Checklist%203_05_09_initials(2).pdf

City of Steamboat Springs' and Routt County's newly adopted Green Building Pilot Program for residential construction (excluding condominiums and large multifamily).

This is currently a voluntary program except for the requirement that a signed GBP checklist be attached to any building permit plans for single-family, duplex, or row townhome construction. There is no requirement for compliance with the GBP. However, owners and builders are encouraged to participate in the program so that they can benefit from the many advantages of building sustainably.

Several benefits of building to the merits of the Green Building Program (GBP) are as follows:

Energy Savings - A GBP home will be at least 20% more energy efficient than a home built to code.
Increased Comfort - No drafts, comfortable heating and ventilation, natural daylighting, etc.
Healthier Home - A GBP home will have greater indoor air quality than a typical home due to increased ventilation and the reduced and eliminated use of VOCs and other harmful chemicals.
Resale - Sustainably built homes have proven to have a higher resale value as well as a shorter sale period.
LEED for Homes - The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is a third-party certification program. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. There are several http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=222
Built Green Colorado - Introduced in 1995, Built Green Colorado is one of oldest and largest green home building programs in the nation. A voluntary industry-driven program of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver offered to builders across the state, the purpose of Built Green Colorado is to encourage home builders to use technologies, products and practices that result in homes that are better built and better for the environment. Built Green Colorado is currently in transition. See website for details. http://www.builtgreen.org/

NAHB Green Code - Green Certification is based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard™. There are three green certification levels available in the Guidelines – Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The National Green Building Standard includes an additional level for residential buildings, Emerald. Land Developments can earn One, Two, Three, or Four Stars. Residential buildings, remodeling/retrofit projects, and developments can be Green Certified to the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines or the National Green Building Standard as detailed below. The green levels and certifications address key green construction areas including – Lot & Site Development, Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Homeowner Education. http://www.nahbgreen.org/

LEED for Commercial Interiors - LEED for Commercial Interiors is the green benchmark for the tenant improvement market. It is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green interiors that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint. LEED for Commercial Interiors gives the power to make sustainable choices to tenants and designers, who do not always have control over whole building operations. http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=145

Blower Door Test - A blower door is a diagnostic tool designed to measure the airtightness of buildings and to help locate air leakage sites. A blower door consists of a calibrated fan for measuring an airflow rate, and a pressure-sensing device to measure the air pressure created by the fan flow. The combination of pressure and fan-flow measurements are used to determine the building airtightness. The airtightness of a building is useful knowledge when trying to increase energy conservation or decrease indoor air pollution, or control building pressures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blower_door

Duct Leakage Report - A duct leakage performance test involves pressurizing the duct system with a calibrated fan and simultaneously measuring the air flow through the fan and its effect on the pressure within the duct system. The tighter the duct system, the less air you need from the fan to create a change in duct system pressure. Testing procedures can be set up to measure only duct leaks which are connected to the outside, or to measure total duct leakage (i.e. leaks connected to the outside and inside of the house). Duct leakage measurements are used to diagnose and demonstrate leakage problems, estimate efficiency losses from duct leakage, and certify the quality of duct system installation. Two different types of performance testing systems are used to measure duct leakage; a Duct Blaster® and a Blower Door. Leaks in forced air duct systems are now recognized as a major source of energy waste in both new and existing houses. Studies indicate that duct leakage can account for as much as 25% of total house energy loss, and in many cases has a greater impact on energy use than air infiltration through the building shell. Just as important, duct leakage can prevent heating and cooling systems from doing their job properly, resulting in hot or cold rooms, and humidity problems. Duct leaks can create air quality problems by pulling pollutants and irritants directly into the house.

Materials Sourced within 500 Mile Radius (ie. beetle kill wood) In most green building programs there are points given for materials sourced within a certain radius. For our region, beetle kill products, stone, and building products that are sourced or fabricated within the local region have a reduced carbon footprint and are therefore recognized as such in many programs.

Fiber Cement Siding Fiber- Cement siding is composed of cement, sand, and cellulose fiber that has been autoclaved (cured with pressurized steam) to increase its strength and dimensional stability. The fiber is added as reinforcement to prevent cracking. The planks come in 5¼" to 12" widths and 5/16" and 7/16" thickness. This product is available from several manufacturers in a variety of textures that are said to provide the appearance of wood. Fiber-cement siding should be more durable than wood and it is termite-resistant, water-resistant, non-combustible, and warranted to last 50 years.


Greenhouse - On site greenhouses provide sustainability of food source with less impact on the environment due to lack of transit. There are several types including types that are operated by renewable energy, prefabricated, recycled/salvaged materials that are used in the construction.
Permeable Driveway/Walkway - Porous pavement is a permeable pavement surface which contains a reservoir underneath. The reservoir holds the surface runoff, allowing it to slowly infiltrate into the subsoil. This allows the water to receive some natural filtration treatment. Porous pavement can mimic traditional asphalt or concrete but is manufactured without the fine, dense materials and incorporates hollow spaces that allow for water infiltration.


Insulated Foundation - Foundation insulation is used primarily to reduce heating costs. In addition to reducing heating costs, foundation insulation increases comfort, reduces the potential for condensation and corresponding growth of mold, and increases the livability of below-grade rooms. Insulating basement walls raises the surface temperature of the wall and the floor above. Insulating crawl space walls or the floor above increases the floor temperature of the space above. Insulating slab-on-grade foundations increasing the slab floor temperature. In all three cases foundation insulation improves the comfort of the habitable space. Foundation insulation installed during original construction is usually more easily installed properly and less expensive than when retrofitted. Foundation insulation can often result in smaller and therefore less expensive heating equipment. Foundation insulation makes a basement more attractive for future owner conversion to finished space. Heat loss from an uninsulated, conditioned basement may represent up to 50 percent of a home's total heat loss in a tightly sealed, well-insulated home.


Heat Recovery Ventilator- A system designed to provide continuous or timed ventilation throughout a home and recover the heat carried in the exhausted stale air. A heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) is similar to a balanced ventilation system, except it uses the heat in the outgoing stale air to warm up the fresh air. A typical unit features two fans—one to take out household air and the other to bring in fresh air.

Programmable Thermostats- Allows for automatic adjustment of the home’s temperature, saving energy when homeowner is away, sleeping or during peak energy use times.

ENERGY STAR-Furnace - ENERGY STAR qualified oil and gas furnaces have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 85% and 90%, or greater, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models

90% or Higher Energy Efficient Boiler - A high-efficiency boiler runs hot water and heating through the home, but it saves money, wastes less energy and produces fewer carbon emissions than a standard boiler.

Heat Pump - ENERGY STAR qualified heat pumps have a higher seasonal efficiency rating (SEER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) than standard models, which makes them about 8% percent more efficient than standard new models and 20% more efficient than what may be installed in a home. A heat pump is a device used for either the heating or cooling of a space by transferring hot and cold between two reservoirs. A heat pump can act like an air conditioner, transferring heat from inside to out, or like a heater as it transfers exterior heat to the interior.

ENERGY STAR A/C - ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioners have a higher seasonal efficiency rating (SEER) than standard models, which makes them about 14% more efficient than standard models.

Radon Mitigation System - Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Air pressure inside a home is usually lower than pressure in the soil around a home's foundation. Because of this difference in pressure, the home acts like a vacuum, drawing radon in through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon also may be present in well water and can be released into the air in the home when water is used for showering and other household uses. In most cases, radon entering the home through water is a small risk compared with radon entering the home from the soil. In a small number of homes, the building materials — such as granite and certain concrete products — can give off radon, although building materials rarely cause radon problems by themselves. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels; about 0.4 pCi/L of radon is normally found in the outside air. EPA recommends fixing the home if the results one long-term test or the average of two short-term tests show radon levels of 4 pCi/L, or 0.016 WL, or higher.
Whole House Ventilation - The process of supplying fresh air to a living space and exhausting stale air, either by natural or mechanical means in order to maintain air quality.

Conditioned Crawl Space - Conditioned crawl spaces perform better than vented crawl spaces in terms of safety, health, comfort, durability and energy consumption. Conditioned crawl spaces also do not cost more to construct than vented crawl spaces. Crawl space venting is generally viewed as good practice despite the obvious moisture problems that occur when outside air with a dew point higher than interior crawl space surface temperature is permitted to enter a crawl space. Unvented, conditioned crawl spaces with insulation on the perimeter solve this problem. Unvented, conditioned crawl spaces with insulation on the perimeter perform better in terms of safety and health (pest control), comfort (warm floors, uniform temperatures), durability (moisture) and energy consumption than passively vented crawl spaces with sub floor insulation. For more info on this and more visit: www.buildingscience.com

Zoned Heating – Allows heat to be delivered to individual areas of the home when needed. Usually a system of more than one thermostat electrically connected to a control panel which operates a number of dampers in forced air heating/cooling system. Conditioned air is then distributed to various parts of the home as needed. Most systems can be installed in new or existing homes to achieve total indoor comfort. This allows for reduction in heating and cooling to an unused part of your home, and can substantially reduce energy bills.


No/Low VOC – Paint (Green Seal Certified Product) – Previously, most conventional paints contained high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that produced a breathable gas when applied. The VOCs diminish air quality, and may be detrimental to one’s health. Low- and no-VOC paints release no, or minimal VOC pollutants, and are virtually odor free. Paints, adhesives, and other protective finishes are often formulated with solvents (or VOCs) to improve performance and durability. Additionally, paint cleanup often requires toxic solvents that release additional VOC pollutants. However, increased awareness of possible health risks and overall air quality concerns has led to a demand for products lower in VOCs. Many stains and clear finishes for floors and cabinets are also commonly available. VOC levels are expressed in pounds per gallon (lbs/gal) or grams per liter (g/l). Interior paint is given a Green Seal if it has a VOC content less than 50 g/l (for flat sheen) or 150 g/l (non-flat sheen).

Carpet (Green Label Certification) - Green Label Plus Sets Higher Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

The Green Label ensures customers they are purchasing among the lowest emitting carpet products on the market. The Green Label Plus is designed for architects, builders, specifiers and facility managers who want even greater assurance that carpet products meet stringent criteria for low chemical emissions. To receive Green Label Plus certification, carpets must undergo a 14-day testing process that measures emissions for a range of chemicals and is administered by an independent laboratory. The test methodology was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Cabinets (Green Seal Certified Product)- In 2006, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) created the Environmental Stewardship Program to help cabinet manufacturers demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and help consumers easily identify environmentally-friendly products. After meeting certification requirements in areas of air quality, product and process resource management, environmental stewardship, and community relations, cabinet manufacturers can display the ESP seal on their products. The ESP seal helps identify cabinets and cabinet manufacturers who are committed to protecting the environment. Nearly 150 cabinet manufacturers have already earned ESP certification and more are on their way to completing the review process. www.greencabinetsource.org

Air Tub - An Air Tub system works on the introduction of air into the water to create a bubbling effect.

Low Flow Plumbing: In the basic sense, these devices use less water while accomplishing the same outcome. Toilets, showerheads and faucets that use low amounts of water while maintaining adequate water pressure. Facts: The average American uses 74 gallons (280 liters) of water per day, one-third of which splashes down a flushing toilet [source: Steinfeld and Anderson]. An older toilet may swallow up to 7 gallons (26.5 liters) per flush, though federal law now calls for 1.6 gallon (6.1 liter) low-flow models in new homes [source: Nash].

Low Flow Toilets – Older toilets can use 3.5 gpf (gallons per flush). Changing to a 1.6 gpf model will reduce one person’s annual water use from 27,300 gallons to 12,500 gallons, according to the Federal Energy Management Program.

Dual Flush Toilet - These toilets offer two flushing options. One uses .8 gallons for liquid waste and solid waste uses 1.6 gallons of water, depending on the flush.

Composting Toilet - An aerobic processing system that treats excreta, typically with no water or small volumes of flush water, via composting or managed aerobic decomposition. This is usually a faster process than the anaerobic decomposition at work in most wastewater systems, such as septic systems.

Low Flow Faucets - Low-flow faucet aerators can cut the water usage of faucets by as much as 40% from 4 gallons per minute to 2½. If an aerator is already installed on the faucet, it will have its rated flow imprinted on the side. This should read 2.75 gpm (gallons per minute) or lower.
Low Flow Shower Heads The term “low flow” is generally defined as a showerhead with a water consumption rate of 0.5 to 2 gallons per minute (gpm).
Materials Sourced within 500 Mile Radius (ie. beetle-kill wood) In most green building programs there are points given for materials sourced within a certain radius. Beetle-kill products, stone, and building products that are sourced or fabricated within the local region
Sustainable Flooring (Green Label Certification) – flooring such as cork, bamboo, recycled content are typically more sustainable than traditional wood floors. Must have certification.
Salvaged/Reclaimed Wood Flooring/Components –sourced within a 500 mile radius. Local sources like Home ReSource in Milner frequently have salvaged building products available such as flooring and cabinets.

Built-in Recycling Center A built-in recycling center or holding area is a location within the home that conveniently holds sorted recyclables until picked up or taken to a collection point.

Built-in Composting Center – As with the built-in recycling center, it is a built-in container for collecting compostable materials and located within the home that is conveniently for collection. In our region, bear-safe containers must be used if kept outside.

Natural/Xeriscaping - Natural landscaping, also called native gardening, is the use of native plants, including trees, shrubs, groundcover, and grasses which are indigenous to the geographic area of the garden. Natural landscaping is adapted to the climate, geography and hydrology and should require no pesticides, fertilizers and watering to maintain, given that native plants have adapted and evolved to local conditions over thousands of years. However, these applications may be necessary for some preventative care of trees and other vegetation in areas of degraded or weedy landscapes. Xeriscaping utilizes native/perennial plants with low water needs.

Fencing: Composite & Plastic Recycled Content – (ie. Fiberon, Trex-type brands) Wood-plastic composite (commonly abbreviated as WPC) is a composite material lumber or timber made of recycled plastic and wood wastes. See Recycled Content Decking too.
Drip Irrigation - Drip irrigation, also known as trickle irrigation or micro-irrigation, is an irrigation method which saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. - http://www.essortment.com/home/irrigationintro_siqm.htm


On Bus Route – In many green building programs, points are given if the property is located on/near public transportation. Use of public transportation is viewed in most programs as positive, because of reduced carbon emissions from vehicles on the road.

Decking - Recycled Content (Trex Type) - Wood-plastic composite (commonly abbreviated as WPC) is a composite material lumber or timber made of recycled plastic and wood wastes. Its most widespread use is in outdoor deck floors, but it is also used for railings, fences, landscaping timbers, cladding and siding, benches, molding and trim, window and door frames, and indoor furniture.

Green/Vegetative Roof - a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. (The use of “green” refers to the growing trend of environmentally friendly and does not refer to roofs which are merely colored green, as with green roof tiles or roof shingles.)

Metal – Metal roofing is typically more light weight, more portable and durable than other roofing types. Sheet materials like stainless steel, copper, zinc and aluminum are inherently durable; the oxidization of the base material forms a protective patina. Copper and Zinc details have historically been proved to last upwards of 100 years with little or no maintenance. Some residential and commercial grade metal roofing usually lasts from 50-100+ years, depending on the type. They are fire and spark resistant, hail resistant, wind resistant. Painted metal roofs are usually snow-shedding. As soon as the ambient temperature rises a couple degrees, the snow usually just slides off. For this reason metal roofing is ideal for homes in northern or mountain regions. Metal is readily recyclable and many products are available with 95% recycled content. Installation is more labor efficient and metal roofing products require very little or no maintenance.

On-demand/Tankless– While traditional hot water heaters must keep a water storage tank consistently heated, tankless water heaters heat water only when needed.
ENERGY STAR rated Hot Water Heater - Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in a home. High efficiency water heaters use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models.
Hot Water Recirculation Pump- Innovative hot water recirculation systems deliver hot water to fixtures quickly without waiting for the water to get hot. Rather than relying on low water pressure common in most water lines, recirculating systems use a pump to rapidly move water from a water heater to the fixtures. A recirculating pump rapidly pulls hot water from a water heater while simultaneously sending cooled-off water from the hot water lines back to the water heater to be reheated. In addition to having the convenience of hot water on-demand, the system conserves water and can save energy.
Thermal Blinds - Thermal blinds are composed of layers. In each slat there are cover materials pressed around a foil that reflects heat. It's this core that gives thermal blinds their ability to assist temperature control.


Double Pane - Double paned windows have several key advantages over standard windows. Among these are better insulative properties, noise reduction, and ease of cleaning. Double paned windows can also protect items in the house from sun damage. Double paned windows consist of two facing glass panels set in a frame, separated by a small space ½ inch to ¾ inch (12.7 - 19.05 mm) wide. The void might be filled with air or nontoxic gasses like argon which can improve insulation.

Low-E - Low emissivity is a quality of a surface that radiates, or emits, low levels of radiant energy. Low-emissivity (Low-E) glass has a thin coating, often of metal, on the glass within its airspace that reflects thermal radiation or inhibits its emission reducing heat transfer through the glass. A basic low-e coating allows solar radiation to pass through into a room. Thus, the coating helps to reduce heat loss but allows the room to be warmed by direct sunshine.

ENERGY STAR Lighting Package - The Advanced Lighting Package designation applies to lighting packages, for new home construction, that consist of a minimum of 60% ENERGY STAR qualified hard-wired fixtures and 100% ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans where installed. ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures meet strict EPA guidelines for energy efficiency and quality, producing warm, long-lasting light without slow starts or annoying flicker or hum. Fixtures that have earned the ENERGY STAR come with a two-year warranty, double the industry standard. Qualified ceiling fans offer a minimum 30-year motor warranty and 2-year component warranties. It is estimated on average a home can save more than $170 per year in energy costs just by installing ENERGY STAR Advanced Lighting Package because ENERGY STAR qualified lighting uses about 75% less energy than standard models.

Energy Efficient Lighting - Qualified LED recessed down lights can decrease energy use by 75 percent or more. By replacing the five most frequently used light fixtures in your home with ENERGY STAR qualified models, you can save $70 each year in energy costs. An ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

ENERGY STAR ceiling fans – Energy Star ceiling fans with lights are 50% more efficient than conventional fan/light units, saving you more than $170 in energy costs over the fan's lifetime. See ENERGY STAR Lighting Package

Argon/Krypton Windows - When insulating between the layers of glass filling the space with a less conductive, more viscous, or slow-moving gas minimizes the convection currents within the space, conduction through the gas is reduced, and the overall transfer of heat between the inside and outside is reduced. Argon is inexpensive, nontoxic, nonreactive, clear, and odorless. Krypton is nontoxic, nonreactive, clear, and odorless and has better thermal performance, but is more expensive to produce. Krypton is particularly useful when the space between glazings must be thinner than normally desired. A mixture of krypton and argon gases is also used as a compromise between thermal performance and cost.

ENERGY STAR Windows (rated for our climate) - ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights can reduce energy bills up to 15% while helping protect the environment. ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights keep your home’s temperature consistently comfortable. Many ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights have a special coating on the glass that is like sunscreen for your house.

Heat Mirror Coated - A type of window insulation film that is transparent to light, but highly reflective to heat.

Triple Pane -Three panes of glass, means six surfaces of windowpane. This in turn means more surfaces for low-e coatings that can keep the thermal energy produced indoors where it belongs and not heating up the air outside the home. There are also insulation benefits to triple glass windows because of the two internal fill spaces rather than just one as in double paned. These spaces are filled with air, argon or sometimes krypton and work to stop heat transfer, as well as cutting down on noise.
Tinted glass and tinted window films have long been used in commercial buildings to reduce heat gain through windows. Improved, lightly tinted windows are becoming more common for the residential market in southern (cooling-dominated) climates.

Solatube – This device captures sunlight on the rooftop and redirects it down a reflective tube into interior spaces. The tubing will fit between rafters and will install easily with no structural modification. At the ceiling level, an attractive diffuser spreads the light evenly throughout the room.

Geothermal/Geo-Exchange - Geothermal heating and cooling uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes and businesses with 40% to 70% less energy than conventional systems. While conventional furnaces and boilers burn a fuel to generate heat, geothermal heat pumps use electricity to simply move heat from the earth into buildings, allowing much higher efficiencies. Geothermal energy is extracted from a reasonably constant earth core temperature of 54º to 56°F. Running a thermal loop to this constant core temperature by drilling wells vertically or horizontally allows for this heat transfer to a medium in pipes. These pipes contain fluid from which either cooling or heating is extracted. Cooling is easier to extract as general refrigerant in a typical home conventional cooling system is at 54°F. Geothermal heat pump technology relies primarily on the earth’s natural thermal energy, a renewable resource, to heat or cool a home or commercial building. www.geoexchange.org

Active Solar - Active solar technologies are employed to convert solar energy into usable light, heat, cause air-movement for ventilation or cooling, or store heat for future use. Active solar uses electrical or mechanical equipment, such as pumps and fans, to increase the usable heat in a system. Solar energy collection and utilization systems that do not use external energy, like a solar chimney, are classified as passive solar technologies.

Passive Solar - Passive solar technologies are means of using sunlight for useful energy without use of active mechanical systems (as contrasted to active solar). Such technologies convert sunlight into usable heat (water, air, thermal mass), cause air-movement for ventilating, or future use, with little use of other energy sources. A common example is a solarium on the equator-side of a building. Passive cooling is the use of the same design principles to reduce summer cooling requirements.
Solar Photovoltaics - Electric-Photovoltaics (PVs) are arrays of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity. The photovoltaic effect refers to photons of light knocking electrons into a higher state of energy to create electricity. These are frequently seen on rooftops or freestanding and are positioned to maximize the time they face the sun throughout the year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics

Solar/Thermal Hot Water- Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors are defined by the USA Energy Information Administration as low, medium, or high temperature collectors. Low temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming pools. Medium-temperature collectors are also usually flat plates but are used for creating hot water for residential and commercial use. High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production. Solar thermal energy is different from photovoltaics, which convert solar energy directly into electricity.

Wind Turbine - Wind turbine is a rotary device that extracts energy from the wind. If the mechanical energy is used directly by machinery, such as for pumping water, cutting lumber or grinding stones, the machine is called a windmill. If the mechanical energy is instead converted to electricity, the machine is called a wind generator, wind turbine, wind power unit (WPU), wind energy converter (WEC), or aerogenerator.


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