Skip navigation
17comments
Share conversation: Share via:

Julie Barry

May 12, 2015
11:41

Catalyst


1 |
Share via:
This is a very interesting idea, and one that has real potential for changing the building industry. It might be good to develop a couple of different demonstration houses that have varying degrees of energy usage. It has been my experience that the building industry can sometimes be slow to adopt even the best, most practical, most cost saving ideas. Having a number of different options gives even the most conservative builders a place to start. If you have a demo house that is connected to the electric grid, perhaps the reduction to fossil fuel use can be from a number of things, including Plug and Play Solar windows, which has been proposed by another contestant, and some type of electrical connections that power down devices when not in use, and more energy efficient appliances. You might find this article interesting. http://www.utilitydive.com/news/report-always-on-devices-waste-19b-in-energy-annually/396694/ Apparently "always on" devices waste $19 billion in energy annually. There has to be some cost savings in that area alone that can be realized from new building techniques and materials. Good luck. JBarry

Don Dieckmann

May 12, 2015
12:08

Member


2 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
JBarry, thank you for our first comment, and a favorable one, at that. And I haven't even finished my proposal, yet! Yes, once we complete the first "SuperHome" Demo and Training Center here in the St. Louis area, I plan on more wherever there is a need or people like you who are of the same mind (In what part of the country do you live?). Or, if someone suffering from tornado loss asks for our help to build a replacement home. I'll check out your link in a few minutes, but first a little background on this proposal: One of the many steps I took in getting to this point was helping to create a Green Building Council within the local HBA, then getting discouraged when none of the mainstream builders would support its methods, or even its goals. Because of my background in home inspections, energy consulting and audits, and home design, this became my next step. Your suggestions have inspired me on how to finish the proposal, but now I'm not sure if 15,000+ characters will be enough room for even a tenth of what I have to say. And I checked out the plug 'n' play solar windows, but one of my vendor-partners and I are already working on something better, which I will also try to share. Suffice it to say that we have hundreds of ideas to make "SuperHomes" truly zero-energy, carbon-free and immune to climate-change threats, on the grid or not.

Cristina Miclea

May 17, 2015
01:29

Fellow


3 |
Share via:
Thank you for uploading this proposal! We look forward to seeing it completed before 13 June!

Vishal Bhavsar

Jun 7, 2015
09:55

Catalyst


4 |
Share via:
Dear Team, This is excellent idea curated as proposal. Globally buildings consume > 40 % resources and contributes equivalent GHG emissions into the atmosphere. There are few points for consideration: a. There are several benefits, incentive offered by government, financial institution. Could you find these relevant for your region and incorporate it in your proposal b. There is interesting use of EPS – Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) for your homes. There is concept of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which you should consider and than evaluate whether this material creates less impact on environment. In fact, if you can do that for the proposed Super Home and show the results as compared to conventional home. This can really create impact on the users and help them make quicker decisions. c. In your proposal you have approached various stakeholders who would help you build this project. One the stakeholder is technology suppliers. There would be several suppliers that can result in Zero-energy home and they would install their demo installations in Super Home. That would lower investment into your demo project d. In the proposal you could look to incorporate flexibility in design for different climatic zones. Regards, Vishal

Don Dieckmann

Jun 7, 2015
11:24

Member


5 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Dear Vishal, Thanks for your endorsement of our proposal, and your suggestions. I will try to comment on them in the order sent: First, I want to mention that I consider the energy and resources consumed - as well as the emissions - of actual construction to be part of the overall problem, which causes the ratio to exceed 50% of our total. I want to reduce that number as well, although using traditional Portland cement in the process makes it very difficult. Considering LCA DOES make this a problem, which is why I am trying to contact the inventors of two alternate materials that require little or no heat to manufacture, that I recently saw in the media. So far no luck, and I'm beginning to wonder if they are real or a hoax. This should also answer your suggestion "b". a. Unfortunately, our non-profit status makes us ineligible for the standard incentives and benefits, but I have hopes for something special once this proposal becomes more accepted. c. Also related to "a", all of the stakeholders we have gathered so far are already committed to supplying all the product they offer at little or no charge, since they recognize the advantage of demonstrating it to a large, pre-qualified audience. This includes ICF blocks, skylights, metal roofing, LED lighting, cement, solar panels and water heaters, wind turbines, and some of the appliances. Not to be outdone by their competition, there are more than one supplier of the same products bidding against each other. d. As I touched on in "Where will these actions be taken?", once this first SUPERHOME Demo is open, we expect requests for more across the country and around the world, which we will be happy to consult on if our expenses are covered. As a non-profit, we will not take an active role, but rather help the locals who are more familiar with their unique conditions. As an example, I picture SUPERHOMEs with breakaway lower-floor wall panels in flood zones. I'll be incorporating some of this into my proposal in the next few hours. Thanks again, Don Dieckmann, CEO Better Building Institute, Inc.

Maryette Haggerty Perrault

Jun 9, 2015
11:36

Member


6 |
Share via:
dedlec - I love the optimism of trusting the market to make the educated decision to choose energy efficient and net-zero homes rather than waiting for policy and regulations to take effect. While I believe that policy does need to change, the world clearly needs definitive proof from examples such as this before building codes and the like can change. The proof that energy efficient home design is what will convince potential residents that this is the way to go. I would encourage you to expand upon the tracking and documenting of energy consumption, operating costs, etc which you mention briefly in the Timeline section of the proposal. In my opinion, this data will be crucial to selling the idea that homes can be both comfortable and energy efficient. Some other metrics that might be interesting to track include onsite waste generation, water consumption, energy production, and run hours/occupancy usage. The National Institute of Science and Technology has done extensive work in this net-zero demonstration home space and it may serve as useful precedent for your project. See their website at: http://www.nist.gov/el/nzertf/index.cfm for more information on the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility. Thanks for your proposal - I enjoyed reading it!

Don Dieckmann

Jun 10, 2015
12:40

Member


7 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Maryette - Thank you for the comment. With this proposal, I am mainly trying to open the eyes of homeowners (and builders) to the possibilities and advantages of extreme energy efficiency and structural integrity. As a former member of the USGBC, GBI and NAHB, I have a decent knowledge of the IECC, IRC, LEED, Green Globes and USGBS codes and standards, but I got tired of builders fighting instead of embracing them, so I dropped out and started my own non-profit, Better Building Institute. No codes, no standards, just ideas that together will appeal to consumers' senses of family and economics instead of politics, while also improving our environment and hopes of survival in the future. I only briefly touched on the record-keeping aspect of the project because I hope to find volunteer(s) who know a lot more about it than I do (which shouldn't be very hard). If you know of any in my area, send them my way, please. I checked out the NIST NZERTF online and looked over its blueprints, and it still uses very average construction techniques - not as efficient or durable as I would like. But to each their own. Thanks again for the comment. Don Dieckmann

Stevie Harison

Jun 12, 2015
04:54

Catalyst


8 |
Share via:
Hello from Indonesia, Good luck for your project proposal. Just review and make it completed before meet deadline tomorrow. Thank you,

B W

Jun 27, 2015
12:11

Member


9 |
Share via:
Would you be willing to duplicate this proposal in the United States Action Plan under the buildings sector? I would like to include it into my team's proposal see Unify America under United States Action Plans. My best to you!

Don Dieckmann

Jun 28, 2015
09:54

Member


10 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Hello, Brittney, Thank you for the invitation, and I will consider it while I study what you have so far, and make sure that repeating a proposal isn't against contest rules. If you know of any shortcuts to the latter, please let me know. The semifinalist list for the current Buildings contest comes out tomorrow, when I'll see if my proposal is still in the running. I'll be in touch. Don Dieckmann

Chad Knutsen

Jul 9, 2015
03:39

Member


11 |
Share via:
Your proposal, and mine are actually quite closely aligned in regards to the end result we are aiming for. One thing that might strengthen your proposal is to include some more specifics in regards to what form(s) of construction and materials you suggest. Currently it seems to be a rather open idea, as in, it gives a goal, and a method, but not enough specifics to really be clear on what actions will be taken step by step to effect the desired changes. I invite you to examine my proposal for Hempcrete + 3D printing a a demonstration house, to showcase the possibilities of replacing the concrete and cement industry with a hempcrete industry etc. https://www.climatecolab.org:18081/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1301412/planId/1305704 I would very much appreciate your thoughts on my proposal as well! Many thanks and good luck mate. Chad K.

Don Dieckmann

Jul 10, 2015
08:34

Member


12 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Hi, Chad, and thanks for the comment. I read your proposal long before starting my own, along with all the others in "Buildings", and tried to do some research on hempcrete (or hemcrete by some sources). The only reference that had anything useful was Wikipedia - all the others either took me to unrelated company sites or blogs that had been taken down. What I have learned so far is that hempcrete has about 1/20th the compressive strength of concrete, so must have a frame to support it. Since I decided not to use any wood as structural components, concrete is still the hands-down logical choice for both structural integrity and air-sealing. And since basic hempcrete floats, it's not a good choice in flood zones. I AM interested in its use as insulation material, but since my preferred building method is Insulated Concrete Forms, the polyfoam panels that create the concrete forms is already present. Also, polyfoam is recyclable both before and after its use in ICF's, while hempcrete is not, and like wood, will release its stored carbon if it ever burns. And finally, since hemp is illegal to grow in the U.S. it would have to be imported, which will increase both its price and carbon footprint. If the laws ever change, I will re-examine hempcrete as a building material. In the meantime, good luck to you, and please keep me posted on your proposals and progress. Don D.

Chris Krusa

Aug 6, 2015
11:41

Member


13 |
Share via:
I just added my vote for your proposal. I found it very meaningful and right on target to further reduce carbon emissions which is my primary goal.

Kay Ahaus

Aug 16, 2015
08:45

Member


14 |
Share via:
I will be glad when you build my family this home. You've got my vote. On mission in Costa Rica, we built buildings with valdostas and concrete walls. The walls slipped in between steel posts or the valdostas. Building went quickly,and construction of walls and roof took less than a week. No wood was used in the frame of the building. These structures were cool in the hot weather. Don't know about the temperatures in the homes in winter, but they were most comfortable in summer without air conditioning. If we each could reduce our personal carbon foot print by 40%, this world might just have a chance of survival. Keep going, Don. Kay Ahaus

Kay Ahaus

Aug 16, 2015
08:36

Member


15 |
Share via:
I've always thought your ideas were really innovative and exciting, Don. The whole idea of using this little energy for the home and still living extremely comfortably and even stylishly is quite stimulating. Bill Ahaus

Chad Knutsen

Aug 16, 2015
05:02

Member


16 |
Share via:
We are developing a high compressive strength mix called Hempstone, which will meet or exceed the strengths of concrete, while maintaining all the benefits of hempcrete. (micronized particles of hemp and lime will play a key role in this). I still have issue with the widespread use of and production of concrete and cement, as these processes alone contribute at least 5% of global Co2 emissions. Not to mention, concrete only has a lifespan of approximately 100 years, whereas hempstone and hemp mortar etc can last for hundreds, or even thousands of years. Just look at the roman aqueducts and roads that are still in place being used today in some cases... As for the floating of hempcrete, our hempstone will be significantly more dense, which will negate the floating concern. As for the burning of hempcrete: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeW6kuZgPY4 good luck with that ;) Also, since Hemp is now legal to grow in Colorado, Oregon, and Kentucky (more states coming soon no doubt). Also right across the boarder in Canada, there is a ton of hemp being produced, which is relatively easy to acquire. The prices are falling steadily. You brought up great points, fortunately, the solutions are there, and collectively we have the ability to resolve these issues. I appreciate you taking the time to read my proposal: https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1301412/planId/1305704 and adding your thoughts!

Don Dieckmann

Aug 17, 2015
12:37

Member


17 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Chadith (Chad K.), I'm still researching the pluses and minuses of Hempcrete or HempStone, and am still sitting on the fence. Hemp-based products seem to be one of the greenest building materials available, and I like its ability to absorb CO2 and resist mold, fire and termites, but it still doesn't appear to have the structural integrity and air-sealing properties of concrete. Since I really believe in ICF construction as the most durable and energy-efficient envelope material, I wonder if hemp plastic could replace EPS foam as the insulated form, while a denser version of Hemp Stone could replace the concrete. It would be the best of both worlds, and maybe both materials could be 3D-printed as you propose. Let's continue this conversation beyond the judges decision on a winner. Don