In 2011, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center completed a Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit of its director’s residence—its oldest most energy inefficient building—with the help of TE Studio. The residence was originally built in 1973. It used to be heated with 17 cords of split, dried oak firewood. It was extremely leaky—during a home audit in 2007, it would not achieve 50 Pascals of pressure during the initial blower door test. It eventually achieved a 0.45 ACH50 reading.
We provided initial consulting and retrofit designs for this project, which was later executed with the help of many volunteers. The home was just recognized by ACI as the 9th in the country to meet the 1000 Home Challenge, and as the first project in Minnesota to do so.
Find the official letter of recognition from ACI below the break.
Want to learn about Passive House retrofitting? Tim Delhey Eian will be showcasing a recent Passive House retrofit project in the TwinCites—the MinnePHit house in a presentation on Saturday, May 5, at 2pm in Bay A at the 4-H Building; MN State Fair.
Thinking about building or remodeling a home, or want to know more about energy efficient technology to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your heating and cooling bills? Tim Eian has focused his architectural skills on incorporating the latest technology in energy efficient new and remodeled homes, which use a tiny fraction of most houses.
This presentation at the North Hennepin Community College highlights the “MinnePHit House” project in South Minneapolis—a deep energy reduction project that turns a 1935 house into a Passive House home.
Time: 10 – 11 AM
Location: North Hennepin Community College CLA 133
At TE Studio we are fortunate enough to attract some pretty incredible people. Most recently, we were commissioned by a couple from South Minneapolis to bring their mid-30s home into the 21st century of performance. A brief description of their family reads like this:
Two grown-ups, three girls, two dogs and eight chickens. A 1935 neo-Tudor in Minneapolis, MN. A passion for the planet.
You can see where we are going with this. With ground-breaking in sight, we are looking to make a Passive House retrofit. “Ze Germans” call it EnerPHit—as in energy efficient passive house retrofit.
This means some significant changes—most noticeably to the building envelope, or those bits that separate inside from out. TE Studio is providing the design for this winter coat. We are looking to sustainable materials in an effort to cut the heating demand to about 12kBTUs, or about three hairdryers going at the same time. 9-1/2″ i-Joists will be screwed to an air-tightened sheathing layer on the outside of the current shell, and dense-packed with cellulose insulation for an R-value of 44. Since we are also adding to the back of the house we decided to design a new “hat” for the home. A trussed hip-roof will provide R-77 of cellulose insulation. Even the basement will be insulated to R-values in the 30s. Combined with an airtightness goal of 1.0 ACH50 or better, this retrofit will meet the requirements set forth in the current draft of the EnerPHit standard. According to the German Passiv Haus Institute, this is the first EnerPHit project in North America.
Mechanical ventilation is a good idea for most buildings, but it is essential for any high-performance building. We designed an ERV-based whole house system with an efficiency rating of over 90%. This means that the precious heating energy will remain inside the envelope while the occupants are supplied with outside air year-round. We are able to recycle the home’s existing boiler and continue to heat the home with in-floor heat. The same boiler will also provide hot water. This project demonstrates the amazing potential of a high-efficiency design for existing homes in a cold climate through a great amount of recycling of what is existing—paired with carefully selected sustainable materials and methods for the retrofit and what is new.
The design is complementary to the building’s origins and surroundings. An open first floor plan will provide much needed space for the family, and offer a connection with the backyard. On the second floor we are adding bed rooms for the kids and an additional bath. At just over 2,000 finished square feet (counting the basement), this is no mansion for 5 people and two dogs, but with its well organized layout, it will be incredibly functional.
We are very excited about this project. The owners are offering updates on the project at http://www.minnephithouse.com
Only one question left to ask: What do the chickens think of this?
I will be at the Corcoran Park Neighborhood Sustainability Event tomorrow, February 12, 2011. From 11 am – 12.30 pm I will be lecturing on Deep Energy Reduction Retrofitting. You can find out how a retrofit can bring 21st century performance to your home.
3334 20th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Open to the public.
Martin Holladay at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com kicked off another fabulous subject on their blog entitled: Energy Efficiency Retrofits: Insulation or Solar Power?
As a certified Passive House Consultant, I am partial to the insulation. However, Martin makes a good point when comparing the two approaches. As the discussion goes, many points about this subject are being addressed. This is my reply:
Other selling points
by Tim Eian, TE Studio
Our firm has been working to get a viable DER business off the ground for the last two years. We practice in an extremely cold climate (MN). After the first year, we found that there were not enough selling points to overcome the first-day cost—and even calculations favoring a DER approach in the long run may not entice owners enough to go into debt—let alone their banks who cannot begin to understand what DER actually is and why it would create value and equity.
Year two has been more successful for us, as we have been focusing on more immediately tangible advantages of indoor environmental quality and health, as well as comfort (a big thing in a cold climate) and survivability. In addition, we are trying to single out the DER measures as Read more →
I’ll be talking about Passive House and Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit at the Duluth Energy Design Conference on Wednesday, 2/24/2010
The Passive House talk starts at 10.30, the Deep Energy Reduction Retrofit talk at 1.00 pm.
Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center
Click on this link to contact the organizers about attending the event.