energy efficient | AiDomes

Florida Keys elevated 45’Aidome built on concrete platform, concrete columns, concrete decks and exterior concrete stairs with above ground basement. Due to increased labor costs & material costs in the Keys and the all concrete foundation with auguered footings, this foundation cost around $150,000 to install.   For a less costly foundation, Ai can design wood pilings, pressure treated wood platform, wood decks and exterior wood stairs.

The 45′ dome has two floors. The first floor of 1,461 sq.ft.contains two bedrooms and two baths. The master bedroom and bath and fourth bedroom with its private bath are on the second floor of 702 sq.ft. resulting in the dome having 2,363 sq.ft. The above ground basement is 984 sq.ft and contains spiral stairs to dome, parking and storage area.

Because of the coquina rock, the footers had to be auguered. Due to water surge the dome is elevated.

 

Building Green with Aidomes, kit homes.  The American Ingenuity (Ai) dome was green before green became a name to signify a home that was energy efficient , included solar hot water panel and utilized less building materials.

Most people today understand the serious environmental issues we now face and are actively involved in doing their part to help protect the environment in any way they can. Over the past few decades, this has caused a virtual sea-change in the way people look at new home and building construction, which has changed the construction industry forever. Building “Green” is not just an option anymore, it has become the new standard for quality builders and contractors.

In 1976 American Ingenuity realized it wanted to manufacture a housing kit that would utilize environmentally friendly materials and energy saving design features.  This desire lead to the development and patenting of a prefabricated component panel in 1983 and the development of our panelized building system.    The panel consists of center core of 7″ Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam!), exterior is ¾” thick concrete reinforced with fibers & galvanized steel mesh with interior of 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus High-Performance gypsum drywall board (which is moisture resistant, mold resistant gypsum and noncombustible).  None of the materials in the panel contain a food source for mold growth. All the panel materials are noncombustible.  To read about the history of American Ingenuity concrete dome building kits, click on History.

Due to the strength of the triangle and aerodynamic shape of the dome, it withstands 225 mph winds and F4 tornado resulting in no need to replace the roof or exterior walls; thus conserving materials.

Over time, demand for green building materials and systems have increased dramatically, so the cost of materials has now come down. Major technological advances in the materials themselves, along with advances in manufacturing them, have now made them extremely cost effective to use and in most cases they will now actually save you money over time. That, combined with the strong desire by most consumers to have environmentally or eco-friendly homes, has spurred the shift to make using these materials relatively commonplace. Today, building “Green” has pretty much become the conventional standard among quality builders.

For decades now, American Ingenuity has been one of those leaders in not just Florida but throughout the USA and internationally by bringing the latest in Green design, building methods and materials for home construction.  Ai  has been a firm advocate of building greener, more energy efficient homes. When you want your new dream home to be as green and eco-friendly as possible, we can thoroughly discuss the Ai panelized kit system.  Either assembly the kit yourself by being an owner builder or hire a local contractor. Either way consider hiring the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the workers during kit assembly.

So exactly what is green building? Green building is defined as using environmentally responsible and energy efficient materials and methods to create a home that will continue to be energy efficient throughout its lifetime. Building in this way minimizes the environmental impact of the building process and ensures that the home owner will have minimal utility bills through continued energy savings. The home will also be a healthy environment, as the use of potentially toxic chemicals and processes is minimized. This is particularly significant if your family includes children, the elderly or anyone with a respiratory condition or weak immune system.

Green Home Insulation Methods

Other advances in building greener homes are in insulating them and come in the form of improved expanding block foam insulation in the walls.  Ai utilizes seven inch blocks of expanded polystyrene insulation to cut specific panel dimensions and angles to produce the center core of the prefabricated panel.  To view energy bills showing that a 34′ dome 1,100 sq.ft. can be cooled for less than $30 in the hot Florida summer months, click on 34′ dome home.  To view info on an Aidome which won an Energy Star award, click on SC domes.

Green Home Window Installations

The windows you install are another important aspect of building Green. According to the Department of Energy, your windows can be the largest source of heat loss within your home and installing the proper windows can reduce heat loss by approx. 30% to 40%. Installing Low-E storm windows can save you even more energy. We always recommend using insulated Low-E windows at a minimum and impact glass if required in your area.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

When it comes time to choose the appliances for your dream home, this is another area in which there are many options to “build green”. Of course, choosing only energy-efficient, Energy Star® appliances, from your fridge to your air conditioning system, is the optimal way to build green while using much less energy and saving money too.

Green Landscaping

Construction of your home’s landscaping and driveway provides another great opportunity to build in a way that is environmentally friendly. Regular concrete is a hard, impermeable surface that interferes with the natural circulation of water and replenishment of ground water. Because water cannot penetrate concrete, run-off problems are created. The water picks up pollutants such as gasoline and trash as it flows over the concrete and erosion can occur where it finally reaches groundwater. Use of more environmentally sound materials, such as brick pavers and crushed gravel, allows water to quickly penetrate and return to the water table. Paver bricks come in a wide assortment of colors and styles and have come down in price quite a bit recently. We strongly recommend that all of our home customers use brick pavers for the driveway and walkways.

These are just a few of the ways in which green building techniques can benefit both you and the environment.  American Ingenuity’s team of experienced staff will be delighted to assist you.

If you’re renovating or remodeling your home, the government offers significant tax credits for installing features such as Energy Star appliances and energy-efficient furnaces and windows. If you need to purchase these items anyway, it makes sense to choose energy-efficient options that can save you money both on your taxes and your future energy bills. Modern energy-efficient appliances are just as stylish as other high-end models, so there’s sure to be one that will match your home’s style and decor. If you wish to save further on your energy bills, there are also tax credits available for installing solar panels, geothermal heat pumps and windmills.

The American Ingenuity (Ai) dome is ideal for down sizing your home for retirement. Ai has ten sizes of dome kits to down size your home to: from 172 sq.ft. to 3,000 sq.ft.. Ai kits range in size from one bedroom/one bath; two bedroom/two bath; three bedroom/two bath, four or five bedroom home with 2 -3 baths.  To view plans for Tiny Homes, view Tiny Domes.     To view floor plans for all sizes of domes, click on Stock Plans.

Homes-With-Domes-Fort-McCoy-FL

34′ American Ingenuity Dome featured on Forbes Life web site

In addition to the Ai dome able to provide the reduced square footage you want, there are five other reasons why an Ai prefabricated home dome kit once assembled and finished makes the perfect retirement home.

1. Low Utility Bills for heating and cooling result because of the following reasons:

  • The exterior of an Aidome has 30% less exterior surface area for your heating and cooling to escape through than a conventional shaped box house. So almost automatically you receive a 30% savings on your heating and cooling costs.
  • American Ingenuity’s tightly sealed exterior has no wood to interrupt the insulation resulting in uninterrupted EPS insulation producing one of the most energy efficient homes available today. Expect heating and cooling bills to be half that of conventional houses or log homes in your area. If traveling to warmer climates in the winter, the thermostat can be set at 40 degrees with no concern about water pipes freezing.
  • The standard 7” EPS R28 noncombustible insulation is comparable to 11” of fiberglass batting. This means a conventional house would need at least 2×10 walls and still not meet the insulation value of the 7” EPS. To view the energy bills for a 1,200 sq.ft. dome home, click on Low Cooling Costs. To view the energy bills for 3,700 sq.ft. office domes, click on $55 a month.

2. Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior: If living in a wooded area and away from home months at a time, the dome is designed to be as safe and fireproof as possible because the dome exterior is entirely noncombustible concrete. There is no exterior PVC air form. The dome exterior is concrete.

3. Dome Exterior Walls are Super-Strong to resist high winds, tree impact & heavy snow load. A geodesic network of structural arches is created by the thick concreted seams that join the steel and fiber reinforced concrete panels

  • The Aidome concrete roof is resistant to damage from falling trees or falling branches laden with ice. There was no damage to the Brack’s 48′ American Ingenuity dome after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July of 1996. The real test came when a 115′ high, 30″ in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke a 10″ diameter branch off the tree. The tree slid off the dome and landed on a deck post driving it and it’s 16″ square concrete footer 6″ further into the ground. The insurance agent who inspected the damage to the deck conveyed his amazement about the dome’s strength with this comment, “If that had been a frame house the tree would have ended up in the basement!”
  • The Aidome concrete roof is resistant to damage from heavy snow loads. During a winter heavy snow fall, the Napolitan’s dome stood strong with the homeowners saying: “Roofs had COLLAPSED in our area under several feet of snow, but NOT OUR DOME!”
  • The Aidome concrete roof has no shingles or roofing to blow off in high winds. Ai’s dome owner’s warranty even covers F4 tornadoes and up to 225 mph winds. To view Ai’s web site file that summarizes hurricanes and other acts of nature, Recap.

4. Low Exterior Maintenance: The Ai dome has less exterior maintenance than a conventional framed house. The dome’s exterior is a shell of continuous concrete with incredible durability with nothing to rot, rust, warp, be eaten by termites or be damaged by fungus, molds and insects. The exterior concrete is primed and painted with no shingles or separate roofing to blow off in high winds. Normal maintenance is to pressure wash and paint every 4-6 years. The dome’s expanded polystyrene insulation will not shrink, deteriorate, absorb moisture or relinquish its R-value.

5. Floor Plan Flexibility: The American Ingenuity dome exterior walls are self-supporting eliminating the need for interior load bearing walls to support the roof. As a result the Ai domes offer more design possibilities than conventional shaped houses. To view Ai’s stock plans, click Geodesic Dome Home Plans and scroll down the page to view the hyperlinks. If you do not see a stock plan to fit your needs, our computer aided design team can customize your floor plan to suit your lifestyle.

 

American Ingenuity, 8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge, Florida 32955-5805
Tel: 321-639-8777 9-5 Monday – Friday Eastern Time. Email GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com

Featured below is a 40′  Aidome home linked to a 30′ garage dome with 2nd floor bedroom loft.  The dome, link & loft in the cupola are 1,985 sq.ft. The 2nd floor loft in the 30′ dome is 211 sq.ft. for total sq.ft of 2,196.   This layout has three bedrooms and two baths in the dome and one half bath on the garage first floor. The loft above the garage is a bedroom.    Currently we have utility bills January through July. When we receive the August bill we will add a link to the May-August electric bills.  The dome is all electric with the AC kept at 77 degrees during the day and 76 degrees at night and on the weekend.  Below this 40′ Energy info are six years of utility bills for a 34′ dome.

40′  Aidome home linked to a 30′ garage dome with 2nd floor bedroom loft. 

Insert floor plan pdfs

Insert utility bills

Insert 40′ utility bill summary

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The following recaps various other Aidomes and their energy info:

L. Henderson of Florida called and explained he is wanting to build an Ai dome for two main reasons: 1) wind strength against hurricanes and 2) energy efficiency. His current two bedroom/two bath home built in the 70’s monthly electric bill is $250; which means the air conditioning cost is around $125 a month in hot Florida summer months.  If he built a 34′ dome he would cut is air conditioning costs significantly from $125 a month to less than $30 a month.

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in such cold climates as Canada, at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah, 3,400 feet elevation in North Carolina, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Vermont, New York and all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.  As described above It is easier to heat an Ai dome that to cool.

Klaus Kolb’s South Carolina Ai concrete dome house earned EPA’s Energy Star.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing. To view pictures of his dome home and Energy Star info, click on Earned Energy Star. He installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System. And scroll down the page.  Klaus’s total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.

One of our customers in Pennsylvania built a 40′ dome on a full basement. This is quote from them: “We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9″ thick livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a GeoThermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system. Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 ft by 73 ft mobile home while building the Dome. Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.” To view pictures of their dome and other info, click on Charles Dome.

A picture of the dome at 7,500 feet elevation showing snow is one of the flashing pictures on our home page. The dome is off the grid and has increased EPS insulation from our standard 7″ R28 to 9″ or R36. Quote from the Utah dome owners: “Our house and solar electric system have met and exceeded all of our expectations. Our home is warm and spacious. Even with nighttime temperatures below zero, a fire in the masonry heater in the evening and a full day of sun warms the house to 70 degrees F.  Our average summertime power consumption is between 150 and 200 kWh/month for 2700 square feet of living space. Wintertime consumption is somewhat higher. For comparison, our average pre-solar usage was near 600 kWh/month in our prior 2000 square foot suburban home.”  To view info about this dome at 7,500 feet elevation, click on Collar Domes.

Question:  How did the American Ingenuity dome perform during the Energy Efficiency Study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy?  Superbly. Test findings were released from a year long study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a governmental consumer agency, in cooperation with the University of Oregon and the University of Central Florida. This study compared an American Ingenuity dome with an energy efficient conventionally built structure and a super energy efficient Styrofoam house designed by Dow Chemical. It came as no surprise to us that our test dome far surpassed both the conventional house and the Dow test house in being the most energy efficient.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

34′ – 1,075 sq.ft. Energy Efficient Concrete Home linked to 22′ one car garage dome.

(use arrows on right and left side of main picture to view other photos in the gallery)

PDF for Downloading & Printing

Online Viewing – Opens in Browser

An American Ingenuity 34 ft in diameter Dome Home with 1,075 sq.ft
can be cooled for less than $27 a month during Florida’s Hottest Months

Energy Efficient Concrete Home in Florida.  To view Annual Electrical Bill Charts for a Florida 34′ Ai Dome Home, click on links at bottom of this article named Ai Domes Dome Home Electric Use. The dome home is totally electric with 1,075 sq.ft. and Ai’s standard R-28 insulation.  For example the 2015 SUMMARY below shows that the annual costs were $187.94 to air condition & heat the 1,075 sq.ft. Florida Dome Home in 2015. The following describes how we came to this conclusion.

In February, 2015 no Heat or AC were used, therefore the cost to run everything else in the all electric home (dishwasher, washing machine, stove, microwave, dryer, water heater, refrigerator, television and lights) was $36.73. To determine the monthly Air Conditioning cost, we subtracted $36.73 from each month’s electric bill to get that month’s Heating or Air Conditioning Costs.  The thermostat is kept at 76 degrees when the owner is home and 79 degrees when not home. (The electric water heater is manually turned on prior to use).

To obtain the home’s 2015 monthly average Air Conditioning costs, we averaged the five hottest month’s AC costs.  The five hottest months were May thru September making total air conditioning costs of $132.87 divided by five resulting in a monthly average cost of $26.57 to air condition 1,075 sq.ft. during Florida’s hottest months.   FYI – The Aidomes are even more energy efficient when heating is required instead of cooling. When cooling, kilowatts have to be used to overcome heat generated from clothes dryer, dishwasher, computers, stove, refrigerator motor, sun light, etc. When heating the heat generated from these heat sources is used.  Ai’s 3,700 sq.ft. office domes can be cooled for less than $85 a month in the hot Florida summer months.

These are the annual recaps for the years 2010 through 2015 for this 34′ dome home.  Each recap lists the 12 months in each year and what it costs each month for heat or air conditioning:

2010 Summary Electric Use

2011 Summary Electric Use

2012  Summary Electric Use

2013 Summary Electric Use

2014 Summary Electric Use

2015 Summary Electric Use

To view the individual Florida Power and Light electric bills for 2013, 2014 & 2015.  click on the three links below for each year.

2013 Florida Dome Home Monthly Electric Bills

Jan.-April
May-August
Sept.-Dec.
 

2014 Florida Dome Home Monthly Electric Bills

Jan.-April
May-August
Sept.-Dec.

2015 Florida Dome Home Monthly Electric Bills

Jan – April
May-August
Sept.-Dec.

These photos are of a 45′ Geodesic Dome Home built in North Carolina on a basement.
(To view other dome photos, please check out the other photo galleries on the left hand Main Menu)
 
Click pictures once to stop, click twice to enlarge.

The first floor of this 45′ geodesic dome home has 1,476 sq.ft.  The second floor has 560 for dome total of 2,036. The basement square footage is 1,471 for a total sq.ft. of 3,507.   This dome owner chose to design a custom dome floor plan with a large kitchen and living room on the first floor with the entire second floor of the dome dedicated entirely to the master bedroom, master bath and master walk in closet.

Normally a 45′ dome can be designed to include four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths versus this dome is only one bedroom with master bath and two half baths.  Each dome owner customizes their floor plan to fit their lifestyle and desires. Ai is happy to work with each person to design their dome plan to fit their dreams.

Floor Plans in PDF format.  Open by clicking on the PDF below or

download to your computer by right clicking and saving to your computer.

First Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan
Basement Floor Plan

(your browser may allow you to rotate the picture
by right clicking in the picture after it’s open and selecting.)

Heating & Air Conditioning an Ai dome.  Ai dome winner of Energy Star Award.

snow Kolb beautiful

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home linked to 27′ garage earned Energy Star rating.

Typical AC Ductwork Design:  The following info pertains to the chart below:

An air handler is the inside unit that forces cool air into the house. An air handler needs to have a plenum if installing two or more intakes.  A Plenum is a foam box made of special materials that are flame retardant designed for connecting ductwork at the bottom or top of the air handler also for splitting ductwork.  Cut a hole in the plenum to accept ductwork.  It could be done for an air intake grate or exhaust vents.  When installing an air intake in the second floor (Intake is where you put your Air Filter.  It is easier to put the air intake grate in a second floor knee wall.  Knee walls are usually large enough to support multiple duct work.  The grate size will be determined by the size air filter you want to install. Intake ductworks are about 10 to 12 inches large. Exhaust ductworks are usually 6 inches. (Exhaust is where the air comes out of vents in your walls, ceilings and even floors).  Ductwork can be run in interior walls or drop ceilings between floor joists and in knee walls.  If running ductwork in interior framed walls, the walls may need to be wider than normal to support the ductwork.  It is recommended that you install two Intakes one in the upper floor of your house and one in the lower floor of your home. The upper Intake will remove humidity and hot air and dust from the upper floors. The closer you have the Intake to a room, the cooler that room will be. The lower intake is doing the same job as the upper intake removing dust, moisture and hot air. Air needs to exit out of each room, your HVAC subcontractor may have you put a grill above a door or have a space below your door for air to exit rooms.   Mini-split ductless heat pumps can be installed in the dome.

 

AC 2

 

Where are the AC and Heating Ducts installed in the dome? The ducts can be run in the interior walls, second floor joists, and behind the second floor perimeter knee wall.  Above is a HVAC diagram showing typical way system works.  Contact your local HVAC subcontractor for specific needs and air flow to rooms in your dome home.  Or ductless AC/heating units are available.

Ai does not specify which heating and cooling units to use within its domes because the needs vary by regions of the country. Heating and cooling systems that are practical or common in your area can be used in the dome. We have had clients use radiant heat in the floor. We have also had clients’ incorporate large spans of glass to let in the passive heat; usually this is not practical, as the dome is so energy efficient. The large amount of glass just lets in hot or cold air. Our clients have had great success with solar hot water heaters.

For a system that is best for your area, consult a local air-conditioning contractor. All types of systems will work but it would be important to consider what type of fuel is readily available, what type of units can be serviced locally and your own preferences. However, keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome, you can reduce the required size of your air-conditioning and heating system by about one third. Also the cost of heating and air conditioning will also be about half that of typical houses in your area and therefore the savings provided by super efficient units will be less. It is economical to select efficient systems but not very expensive systems.

Q: Are electric vents necessary at the peak of the dome as well as in the bathrooms to prevent moisture buildup?

A: Yes due to the tightness of the dome, water vapor from cooking, showering, doing laundry, breathing, etc. needs to be removed from the dome. Electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms, in laundry room and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor.  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway or door dormer framed wall or a hole can be cut in the concrete panel. Instructions in the Dome Kit Assembly Manual.  A heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator will probably need to be installed to remove excess water vapor. To view our web site info on heat recovery ventilators, click on HRV.

Can the smaller American Ingenuity domes be cooled or heated without central air conditioning or furnaces? Yes. The smaller sized American Ingenuity domes have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it could be practical for you to use only a window air-conditioner and a space heater.  Please check your local building code, some building departments require a permanent heat source to be installed which does not allow a wood stove or fireplace as the permanent source.

What air conditioner size do you recommend for your domes?

34’ Dome: 1 ½ Ton

40’ Dome: 2 Ton

45’ Dome: 2 ½ Ton

48’ Dome: 3 Ton

Tell me about a ground water heat pump. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is extremely efficient as it uses the constant moderate temperature of underground water to both heat and cool, instead of using outside air, it uses water from a well or underground loop to transfer heat through a concentric copper coil located inside your home. Besides being more efficient than air-to-air unit, it can produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.  Mini-split ductless heat pumps are available. Ask your local HVAC subcontractor what units he prefers.

Can Ai’s Domes be cooled without an air conditioner? Yes. Because the Ai dome is so super insulated, our clients who do not prefer air conditioning, have found the interior of the dome to be cooler than a conventional house.

  • Of course you would want to install windows and doors opposite of each other so that air will flow through the dome.
  • In the hot summer months, you may want to install a window AC to cool some areas and draw out moisture.
  • Standing fans can be used to move the air.
  • Install awnings out from the dormers and entryways to keep the sun from beaming into the dome.
  • To help maintain a cooler interior temperature you may want to consider installing underground cooling pipes which will bring air into the dome that has been cooled by the earth. To learn more about this read about Energy Efficiency under advantages.
  • Plus you can install pipes in the slab to run cold water through. A 45’ dome needs about 2 ½” in diameter cooling pipes that are buried 5’ deep and go out about 20’. You angle the tubes where condensation can be pumped out.

Does the HVAC diagram come with the Building Plans? No. The installation and routing of the heating and cooling ducts, electrical wiring and plumbing pipes can best be determined on site by the person making the installation. Ai has found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.

Do American Ingenuity’s building plans meet the new building codes requiring air exchangers? We are not sure what your code requires, if there is a minimal air exchange from the outside to inside, that requirement would best be fulfilled with an air to air heat exchanger sometimes called a heat recovery unit or energy recovery ventilator. These ventilation systems bring in fresh air and minimize the loss of heating and air conditioning. Please check with your local HVAC subcontractor.

What types of Ducts does your company recommend? Collapsible plastic inner and outer liners have insulating material between the inner and outer liners and a spiral wire that holds them round. Because the dome is all one cooled or heated space (no attic), the ducting does not need to be insulated. Sometimes building departments require insulated ducts.

How do you move hot air from the second floor to the first floor? In a vertical wall near the top of the dome install a bathroom exhaust fan that can be turned on to move hot air to the first floor. Use dryer ducting for the exhaust fan ducting. It extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out on the first floor. See above description describing possible  HVAC ductwork diagram.

How can I calculate the BTU requirements for Ai Domes? You can calculate the approximate amount of heat required for the different size Ai domes by:

  • Determine the difference in temperature from outside to inside. Say inside is 70 outside is -30, T= 100
  • Look up the Exterior surface of the dome you want to calculate (on back side of Price list) 40’ dome =2,645
  • On the bottom of same Specifications sheet get the K value for the insulation. 9″ K=0.0278
  • Multiply all of these numbers together. 100 x 2,645 x 0.0278 = 7,351 is the BTU’s required to make up what escapes through the dome surface.
  • Do the same thing with the windows. T= same, Add up the areas. For a double pane use K=0.3 or what ever the mfg. specifies.
  • Do the same thing with the floor and its insulation.
  • Add the three BTU values together and that is the approx. heat loss.

Heat & Cool Smartly: Save Energy, Save Money

Replacing old cooling and heating equipment with more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment is one way to save energy and money. However, your home’s heating and cooling equipment is part of a larger system. Heating and cooling your home smartly can include properly maintaining your existing equipment, using a programmable thermostat, finding and sealing air leaks, tightening up your ducts, and more. To view governments Energy Star web site, click on Energy Star.

Repair or Replace?
Changing out old cooling and heating equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified models can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent.  Learn more about each cooling and heating product from links in the left column.

Finding the right contractor: 10 tips

10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor

1. Study up – Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

2. Ask for referrals – Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.

3. Call references – Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor’s installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.

4. Find special offers – A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you’ll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.

5. Look for ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

6. Expect a home evaluation – The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn’t always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.

7. Get written, itemized estimates – When comparing contractors’ proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it’s not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

8. Get it in ink – Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It’ll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

9. Pass it on – Tell friends and family about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

10. Get the ENERGY STAR Guide – For complete information on keeping your home comfortable year-round, get the ENERGY STAR   1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Maintain your Equipment: A Checklist
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Use a Programmable Thermostat
Use an ENERGY STAR qualified model to adjust the temperature of your home when you are home or away. With proper use of the four pre-programmed temperature settings, you can save about $100 each year in energy costs.

Duct Sealing
It’s common to find gaps between duct joints, whether a home is new or old. Seal and insulate ducts that are exposed in areas such as your attic or crawlspace to improve your system’s efficiency and your own comfort.

Seal Air Leaks and Add Insulation (Home Sealing)
Air leaks in your home and a poorly insulated attic can lead to significant home comfort problems and high energy bills. By properly sealing those air leaks and adding insulation, you can improve comfort and cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Consider a More Efficient Ceiling Fan
Upgrade to a more energy-efficient ceiling fan. ENERGY STAR qualified models are up to 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans, with the most potential energy savings coming from those that include lighting. In the winter, set your fan to turn in the clockwise direction to help efficiently distribute warm air throughout your room.

Help Protect the Environment
Individual actions at home can add up to a lot of pollution prevention. If just one in ten households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep over 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.