Addition of Spray Foam Insulation Completes the Home's Energy Envelope, so HERS Rating Could be Conducted
Seattle, Wash November 27, 2012
Green Builder Media's VISION House exhibit at INNOVENTIONS in Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort is a case study in green building and living. Now it has been rated by a third-party RESNET Home Energy Rater, EnergyLogic, to back up its high-performance claims, and it actually produces more energy than it uses.
With the addition of BioBased Insulation® Open Cell spray polyurethane foam insulation from BioBased Technologies®, the home's energy envelope, which includes its doors and windows, is complete. The energy envelope along with the home's HVAC system and solar array make up all of the pieces that are needed to evaluate how efficient the home would be to operate if it were constructed today.
While the VISION House is an exhibit, not a real home, both Disney and Green Builder Media have worked to make it a practical and interesting teaching tool that demonstrates some of the resource efficient systems that families could choose for their home.
"The VISION House's net zero energy status comes as no surprise to us," says Green Builder Media CEO Sara Gutterman. "We hand selected the very best partners and products when putting together a model green house to show visitors that having a green home is accessible. Many of the products that help the house achieve its net zero energy score are well within reach from a price standpoint. Used together, as a system, they create a super-tight, energy-efficient house that ensures homeowners will not be saddled with budget-busting utility bills each month."
A HERS rating—fast becoming as ubiquitous as the MPG sticker on a car—analyzes how energy efficient a home is in comparison to other similar homes. It provides a measure of the energy use of the home based on its specific physical characteristics and systems. The lower the score, the less energy the home uses.
"Today, we have had 7 of the 10 largest home builders in the United States—including Pulte, KB Home, and Meritage—make the commitment to provide a HERS rating on their homes," says Steve Baden, executive director of RESNET, which administers the HERS rating. "In 2011, he reports, 40% of all houses built in the United States had a HERS rating."
In addition to providing HERS ratings for physical houses, an energy rater can model a house plan to let the builder and prospective home owner know how that house will perform when built. Modeling also allows you to compare a specific home, like the VISION House, to more traditionally built structures and get some idea of the amount of savings that specific systems or products contribute to the overall efficiency of the home.
A main contributor to the VISION House being net zero is the use of renewables, like the 9 kW Hanwha Solar PV array on this house. But a key component that the house lacked until now was a tight building envelope.
"The biggest impact in energy efficiency realized by the use of BioBased Insulation® Open Cell is that it provides an air seal for the home's thermal envelope," says Jennifer Wilson, brand manager of BioBased Technologies®. "This gives the home's HVAC system and ventilation system complete control over the indoor environment and allows the systems to work more efficiently."
"When it comes to energy efficiency, there's no silver bullet. Homeowners have to look at how all of a home's systems will work together," Wilson says. "The VISION House serves as a living classroom to educate families about these options so they can make wise choices."
Along with BioBased Technologies®, one of the latest companies to join as a sponsor of the VISION House, these companies' products also contributed to the HERS rating of the exhibit:
*High-efficiency heating and cooling system by Trane
*Ventilation systems by Panasonic
*Solar PV modules from Hanwha Solar
*Energy-efficient doors and windows from Pella
*Energy Star-qualified appliances by Bosch
*LED lighting solutions by Sylvania
INNOVENTIONS is located in the heart of Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Creativity and imagination abound as guests celebrate inspiration and the innovations that improve their lives and expand their horizons. Hands-on, interactive exhibits allow children and adults to be immersed into ideas that inform, entertain and inspire – conquer the most dangerous house in America, protect the environment from the daily waste we create, design your own thrill ride and push the limits of everyday products as we make the world a safer place. For more information on INNOVENTIONS visit http://www.innoventions.disney.com.
Epcot® is one of four fascinating theme parks located in the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Epcot® allows guests to travel to eleven countries on four continents, explore land and sea adventures, experience future technologies and journey into their imagination – all in one vacation. With its many must-see dazzling shows, interactive experiences and amazing attractions, Epcot® is truly a celebration of human achievement and discovery.
About Green Builder Media:
Green Builder® Media is the leading media company in the North America focused on sustainable living and responsible growth. With a comprehensive suite of print media, online options, demonstration homes, case studies, training and education vehicles, and live events, Green Builder Media assists building professionals and homeowners thrive in the emerging green economy. For more information, visit http://www.greenbuildermag.com.