Domenico Feo, founder of Zehnder Nestsystems, provided a presentation to us and the Passive House Alliance of San Diego on Radiant Heating/Cooling utilizing hydronic ceiling panels, coupled with dehumidification that is incorporated into the Zehnder HRV/ERV ventilation system.
Domenico is with the Zehnder Group Italia (Italy) and is planning to soon move to California. His ComfoDew system for dehumidification has been included in the Ramona “Casa Aguila” Passive House Project. We recorded the broadcast and will broadcast his presentation nationally to all PHAUS members in a GoTo Webinar.
Domenico is full of extremely interesting information that he can pass on to us, such as why it is better to put radiant heating/cooling in the ceiling rather than in the floor, why absolute humidity is what we should be concerned with rather than relative humidity, etc.
At our Casa Aguila project in Ramona, we are working towards building San Diego County’s first Certified Passive House. Here’s a little bit about the passive design, first developed in Germany:
- It employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
- The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
- It employes high-performance windows (typically triple-paned) and doors
- It uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
- Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.
- Superinsulation and airtight construction provides unmatched comfort and even in extreme conditions.
- Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air assures superb air quality.
- A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.
- Passive building is the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings because it minimizes the load that renewables are required to provide.
We had a great time at Encinitas Ecofest over the weekend!
Yesterday, the AGB Team including Luke Morton and Brett Taylor provided a tour of the Casa Aguila, our Passive House project, to members of Passive House Association San Diego. This is the perfect point in time – just prior to the installation of insulation.
Luke is the Certified Passive House Consultant for the project, and Brett the project’s PHAUS+ Rater. From AGB, Jeff Adams, Rich Williams, and Jesse Heilig (Project Manager and Site Supervisor) lead the tour. We had a great turn out of PHASD members and nonmembers alike!
Creating a waste management plan to divert unused materials from the landfill is one of the biggest challenges a construction project faces, and it is essential in maintaining an efficient and responsible business. At our Greisman project we built plywood boxes for each recyclable material and painted them so that separating the materials comes subconsciously to those working onsite.
Jesse is our Site Supervisor / Project Manager at Casa Aquila, our Passive House project in Ramona. We sent him up to Portland last week for the rigorous training required in order to become a Passive House Certified Builder. Now we don’t have to tell him anymore how to do it! He still has to take his exam and pass it. Not an easy thing to do, it takes about 3-full days to complete the exam. Good luck, Jesse, you better pass!
Casa Aguila was on the Green Homes Tour this past Sunday, and we had a great turnout! It was nice to meet so many knowledgeable, eco-minded San Diegans. Thanks to everyone who was able to stop by our property or other sites on the tour!
Have you ever looked forward to a relaxing warm shower, only to find you need to run cold water for minutes before hot water finally arrives? Not only is it an inconvenience, but it is a significant waste of a precious resource. We were lucky enough to have Gary Klein, the nation’s leading hot water distribution expert, out at our Casa Aguila site to discuss energy and water conservation strategies. Our goal with Gary was to develop a hot water system for the project that wastes less than one cup of water while waiting for hot water to arrive at the faucet.
Domestic hot water accounts for about 30% of household energy consumption, so there is substantial opportunity to conserve energy and resources by increasing the efficiency of the hot water distribution system. An ideal system would 1) have hot water almost instantaneously, 2) have safe water (not too hot, no harmful bacteria), and 3) never run out. In larger homes such as Casa Aguila, supplying immediate hot water is a challenge because fixtures are often located far from the water heater.
We discussed installing a hot water recirculation pump throughout the house so when the fixture is turned on it has a hot water supply adjacent to it. However, then we needed to address how much water and energy would be spent recirculating and heating the water during long periods of time when no one is using the facilities, such as when the homeowners are normally sleeping. For this concern we explored the ideas of time and motion sensors, or a manual switch, so that ideally the pump would only run right before someone would need it. We look forward to testing the system!