uncomfortable | AiDomes

 Ventilation Systems

The following came from their web site:  

http://energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/SupplyVent1-17-01.pdf 

The air within homes can become stale from moisture, odors, and pollutants that penetrate the home or are generated internally by human activity and out gassing from building materials and furnishings.  A constant supply of fresh, outdoor air can provide greater assurance of good indoor air quality and improved comfort. 

In most homes, ventilation is provided accidentally when air leaks through the building envelope.  Accidental ventilation is unreliable because it is dependent on a pressure difference between indoor and outdoor spaces caused by temperature or wind variations.  Too much fresh air often enters a house during cold weather, causing uncomfortable drafts and high heating bills.  Not enough fresh air may enter during mild weather which can lead to poor indoor air quality. 

Air leakage through the building envelope accounts for between 25 percent and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical residence.  Many new homes are being air sealed to reduce this energy use.  Where tighter construction reduces air leakage and accidental ventilation, active ventilation systems may be needed to provide fresh air. 

Figure 1 shows how supply ventilation works in a small home.  Outdoor air enters through a single intake and is distributed through ducts to the living room and bedrooms.  Stale air is removed by leakage throughout the building and through exhaust fans located in the kitchen and bathrooms.  The supply air intake should be located away from sources of pollution, odor or dust—such as the ground, garages, driveways and plumbing or dryer vents.  Supply systems can be turned off when homes are not occupied. 

Fresh outdoor air is provided continuously regardless of weather conditions.  Indoor air quality is improved where fresh outdoor air, low in pollutants, mixes with indoor air, which has become stale from human activity.  Fresh air is provided to the living spaces within a house through properly sized and located vents without causing uncomfortable drafts.  Filters and dehumidifiers can be added to the system near the intake to further remove pollutants and provide humidity control needed in hot, humid climates.  Thus, they can be used safely with all types of heating and cooling equipment. 

Supply ventilation creates positive indoor pressure.  This is advantageous in moderate and hot climates because positive pressure avoids pulling hot, humid air into wall cavities where condensation problems can occur.  In cold climates, positive pressure can possibly lead to moisture problems if hot, moist air is forced into wall cavities where condensation is likely to occur.  In addition, supply ventilation systems avoid “back drafting” combustion gases from appliances and fireplaces into homes.  

Resources for this article: 

The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (Wilson and Morrill), available from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy at 510-549-9914

Moisture Control in Homes fact sheet available from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC), POBox 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116, (1-800-363-3732)

EPA Energy Star

Exhaust Ventilation Systems

To read about the Ai dome and Heat Recovery Ventilators, click on HRV.  To read the most common asked energy questions with answers, click on Energy FAQ.  To read about the Ai dome and geothermal pipes, click on GeoThermal

The following came from the EPA’s Energy Star web site:

http://energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/ExhaustVentilation1-17-01.pdf 

The air within homes can become stale from moisture, odors, and pollutants that penetrate the home or are generated internally by human activity and out gassing from building materials and furnishings.  A constant supply of fresh, outdoor air can provide greater assurance of good indoor air quality and improved comfort. 

In most homes, ventilation is provided accidentally when air leaks through the building envelope.  Accidental ventilation is unreliable because it is dependent on a pressure difference between indoor and outdoor spaces caused by temperature or wind variations.  Too much fresh air often enters a house during cold weather, causing uncomfortable drafts and high heating bills.  Not enough fresh air may enter during mild weather which can lead to poor indoor air quality. 

Air leakage through the building envelope accounts for between 25 percent and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical residence.  Many new homes are being air sealed to reduce this energy use.  Where tighter construction reduces air leakage and accidental ventilation, active ventilation systems may be needed to provide fresh air. 

Figure 1 shows how exhaust ventilation works in a small home.  Indoor air is continuously exhausted from a central fan (shown) or remote fans usually located in bathrooms.  Fresh outdoor air can be drawn into the house through remaining leaks in the building envelope.  Homes built with extremely tight envelopes may require the installation of room wall ventilation openings or specially designed windows that allow outdoor air to enter. 

These opening are sized and located to allow the proper amount of fresh air to enter homes without causing uncomfortable drafts and to prevent indoor pressurization.  Kitchens should have separate, manually operated, exhaust fans. 

The advantages of exhaust ventilation are control and consistency.  Moisture, odors and pollutants are removed continuously, regardless of weather conditions.  High indoor air quality is maintained due to the constant infiltration of outdoor air. 

Exhaust ventilation systems are most suitable for moderate climates.  Care must be taken during design and installation to prevent these systems from “back drafting” dangerous combustion gases from fireplaces and gas appliances into homes. 

Resources used for this article:

  1. The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (Wilson and Morrill), Available from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy at 510-549-9914
  2. Moisture Control in Homes fact sheet available from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC), POBox 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116, (1-800-363-3732)

 

Exterior stone front w wood deck2

American Ingenuity 40′ dome on full basement utilizing Heat Recovery Ventilator.

GENERAL OVERALL VIEW ON MOISTURE CONTROL, VENTING, AIR CONDITIONING/HEATING THE AI DOME

To read about the Ai dome and heat recovery ventilators, click on HRV.   To read Ai’s most common asked energy questions and answers, click on Energy FAQ.  To read about the Ai dome and geothermal pipes, click on Geo Thermal.

ADDING EXHAUST VENTILATION  IN KITCHEN (RANGE HOOD, MICROWAVE), BATHROOMS, UTILITY ROOM (CLOTHES DRYER)

Dome Exterior Waterproofing is separate from but very much tied to your Indoor Waterproofing. For Indoor Waterproofing, see HVAC/Vent Section for requirements to remove humidity/moisture/water vapor issues created every day by cooking, showering, laundry, equipment using propane or gas and other daily activities. If this moisture is not removed it will cause bubbles/blisters under your exterior paint. Vapor passes thru the dome wall and will get trapped under the paint and condense to water. This bubble water will leak back into your dome with you thinking you have a leak….when it is a water vapor issue that you have not addressed. This results in a secondary issue: the bubbles in your exterior paint have to be repaired. Ai cannot over emphasize the importance of how the installation of Broan bathroom exhaust fans & other items described in the HVAC/Vent Section will save you time and money in the long term on your exterior shell waterproofing issues.

Range Hoods, Microwaves, Clothes Dryer, and Bathrooms need to vent outside. (In some cases insulated metal ducting may be required. Check local code.)

MOISTURE REMOVAL & VENTING

Anytime we cook or shower in a residential structure a significant amount of moisture collects inside the structure. This moisture becomes visible in the form of condensation (sweat) or frost on cold surfaces, such as windows. (Less so on well insulated windows.)

The American Ingenuity Dome is an air tight structure, with some moisture (water vapor) passing thru the dome wall to the outside. However some excess moisture can remain in the home. Excess moisture can be exhausted with Exhaust Fans or Air Conditioning unit or dehumidifiers and for southern climates an Energy Recovery (ERV) Ventilator or in northern climates a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).

What happens when moisture is not exhausted or vented out of the dome?
1. It raises the relative humidity (RH) above our comfort level of about 55 to 60 percent RH, making us perceive the inside as “muggy” and supports the mold growth if not removed.
2. Bubbles can show up under your exterior paint. Moisture will escape thru the dome walls and get trapped under any paint that is not marginally breathable. The sun heats up the moisture/water vapor and it condenses as water. Prick the bubble and water will come out. If bubbles of water are left to sit on the dome, the water will pass back into the interior looking like there is a dome leak…when there is not. The issue is that moisture is not being ventilated or exhausted out of the air tight dome.

A very simple way to remove moisture is to open some windows, turn on the bathroom and stove exhaust fans. However, in some geographical areas of high outside humidity this will not work so well. Resulting in the need to install an Energy Recovery Ventilator or a Heat Recovery Ventilator or dehumidifiers. Check with your local HVAC subcontractor for methods are best for your area.

Excess humidity can also be removed by the cooling coil of the air conditioning unit. This will work well if the weather permits an AC to be run. What happens when an A.C. runs is the water dripping from the A.C. coil is carried outside in a PVC drain line. The air conditioning unit will usually do the job if the unit is not over sized. What will happen if the A.C. unit is over sized, it won’t run long enough to get the moist air dried out giving you that “muggy feeling.” So be certain when installing the A.C. not to go bigger in size but a little smaller so you’re A.C. will run just long enough to remove the moisture. See A.C. Size doc in this section.

The other way to remove moisture is to install a Heat Recovery Ventilator. Although an (HRV) can be effective in the summer months, when it will take heat from incoming fresh air and transfer it to stale air-conditioned exhaust air, it’s most popular in colder climates during the winter. If the temperature falls below about 20° F, however, frost can build up inside the exchange core. To handle this, a damper closes off the cold airstream and routes warm air through the core. After several minutes, a timer opens the fresh-air port and ventilation continues. A typical HRV for residential use might move as much as 200 cfm of air, but the fan speed can be set to suit the air quality in the home. For example, a slow to medium fan speed may be adequate for normal living, while a house full of guests might require the highest setting. Controls are available for intermittent and remote operation. HRVs are ideal for tight, moisture-prone homes because they replace the humid air with dry, fresh air. In climates with excessive outdoor humidity, an energy-recovery ventilator is more suitable. This device is similar to an HRV, but dehumidifies the incoming fresh airstream. See doc in this section named “How a Heat Recovery Ventilator Works.”

INSTALLATION OF DUCTING TO CONNECT EXHAUST FANS TO EXTERIOR VENTS

After the second floor joists, edge beams are installed and interior walls are framed in but before the wallboard is installed: install flexible, galvanized metal ducting through the inside walls, joist spaces or drop down ceilings to connect exhaust fans to exhaust vents.

Possible Solution: One end of the ducting will be connected to the exhaust fan installed in the following locations:  Framed wall in each bathroom; In wall behind clothes dryer in the utility room; In walls by stove hood & microwave in the kitchen (may require insulated metal ducting. The other end of the ducting will be connected to the exterior vent which will be located in exterior dome panel or in a framed wall under an entryway or dormer.

To install the Vent, a hole can be cut in the exterior dome panel just do not cut within 8” of the center of a seam. Or the vent can be installed in a framed wall under an entryway or dormer.

  • To route the ducting, do not ever cut a 6” hole in 8” joist. See your local code. Code may allow a hole to be cut in one or two joists but not in 3-2×10” joists to get to a framed wall. Never cut a hole in an edge beam or trimmer. Go up and over an edge beam or trimmer. If there is no knee wall on the second floor, install a box cavity over the ducting.
  • The following 6” Round Wall Vent from Home Depot has been used by some dome owners. Master Flow 6 in. Round Wall Vent – WVA6. For use as the outside sidewall termination of kitchen and bath fans, range hoods, microwave venting, dryer exhaust systems. All-aluminum construction. Free flow damper flap moves with airflow. Seal exterior flashing to help limit leakage.

BATHROOM EXHAUST FANS: BROAN AUTO-VENT FANS 

Dome owner quote: “I have seen no moisture problems yet and I think one key is I put in the relatively expensive Broan auto-vent fans  that automatically come on when moisture is high in the bathrooms.”

BROAN Sensaire® technology is a hands-free solution to fighting excess humidity and possible mold problems. It detects rapid increases in moisture levels at the ceiling, where steam and humidity naturally rise, and automatically turns the fan on. With a fan this quiet, we included automatic shutoff to save worry, and money. BROAN Sensaire® technology is a perfect solution for high traffic bathrooms, the kids’ bathroom, or for anyone who leaves the house before humidity is properly vented.

Install high cfm fans in all bathrooms and kitchen vent fans as well. One or our dome owners had this advice: “I tied my bathroom vents to the HRV which has a humidistat that kicks it into high gear when the bath humidity hits it.”

GENERAL INFO ON HEATING, VENTILATING, AIR CONDITIONING THE DOME

The Geodesic Dome by American Ingenuity, Inc. due to its insulation not being separated by wood, 30% less surface area and R28 insulation, produces a super-insulated home that is air tight.

One dome owner in South Carolina, had his dome tested for energy efficiency by an independent testing company who submitted the results to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) EPA designated the structure to be ENERGY STAR and certified the dome using 61 percent less energy than a comparable conventional built home.

Small 22’ & 27’ Aidomes can be heated with a relatively small Kerosene heater, wood stove or fire place and cooled with small window type air conditioning units. Building Code has changed in some states (CA. & Fl.) where an AC is not required but a permanent heat source is required. Which means a wood stove or fireplace is not acceptable. Code will accept baseboard heaters as permanent heat source.

It is recommended to combine these locally installed heating/cooling units with exhaust fans connected to exterior vent,  heat recovery ventilator and a central ceiling fan at the highest point of the open space in the dome for even temperature distribution in the dome. Aidomes 36’ or larger require Central air conditioning/heating for even distribution of cooling and heating.

To remove hot air, stale air and moisture off the second floor, install an upper air intake ducting behind 2nd floor knee wall with grill and filter in the knee wall. See HVAC diagram in this section.

Conventional Insulated Flexible Galvanized Ducting installed in between joists is used as air ducting in combination with standard, adjustable outlet registers.

Mini Split Air Conditioning Systems can be installed in the dome which have the compressor and fans outside. These units are very energy efficient with “registers” in each room so temps can be set separately and work automatically. See separate doc in this section about Mini-splits.

The following came from the EPA’s Energy Star web site:

The air within homes can become stale from moisture, odors, and pollutants that penetrate the home or are generated internally by human activity and out gassing from building materials and furnishings.  A constant supply of fresh, outdoor air can provide greater assurance of good indoor air quality and improved comfort.

In most homes, ventilation is provided accidentally when air leaks through the building envelope.  Accidental ventilation is unreliable because it is dependent on a pressure difference between indoor and outdoor spaces caused by temperature or wind variations.  Too much fresh air often enters a house during cold weather, causing uncomfortable drafts and high heating bills.  Not enough fresh air may enter during mild weather which can lead to poor indoor air quality.

Air leakage through the building envelope accounts for between 25 percent and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical residence.  Many new homes are being air sealed to reduce this energy use.  Where tighter construction reduces air leakage and accidental ventilation, active ventilation systems may be needed to provide fresh air.

Figure 1 shows how a balanced ventilation system works in a small home.  Fresh air enters the home through a single intake and is then distributed through ducts to the living and sleeping areas.  Stale air is removed from the home through a separate exhaust duct with inlets typically located in the bathrooms.  The kitchen has a separate, manually operated exhaust fan located in the range hood.  These systems can operate continuously or only when home are occupied.  The supply and exhaust fans are equal in capacity to maintain indoor pressure balance.

In severe climates, balanced ventilation systems can be equipped with a heat exchanger that recovers most of the heating and cooling energy from the exhaust air.  There are two types of heat exchangers: sensible and total.  Sensible heat exchangers recover dry heat.  They are well suited for cold climates and are becoming common in many parts of Canada and the northern United States.

Total heat exchangers transfer heat and moisture for additional humidity control.  They work well in both cold and moderately humid climates, and can help prevent moisture-related problems.  Balanced ventilation systems can be used safely with all types of heating and cooling equipment, but are more expensive than other ventilation systems (exhaust and supply ventilation).

Resources for this article:

    1. The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (Wilson and Morrill), available from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy at 510-549-9914
    2. Moisture Control in Homes fact sheet available from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC), POBox 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116, (1-800-363-3732)

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.

Pre-Construction Consulting 

This page is being revised.