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Results from Development of Model Specifications for Multifamily Energy Retrofits

Description: Specifications, modeled after CSI MasterFormat, provide the trade contractors and builders with requirements and recommendations on specific building materials, components and industry practices that comply with the expectations and intent of the requirements within the various funding programs associated with a project. The goal is to create a greater level of consistency in execution of energy efficiency retrofits measures across the multiple regions a developer may work. IBACOS and Mercy Housing developed sample model specifications based on a common building construction type that Mercy Housing encounters.
Date: August 1, 2012
Creator: Brozyna, K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Building America Expert Meeting Report: Hydronic Heating in Multifamily Buildings

Description: The topic of this expert meeting was cost-effective controls and distribution retrofit options for hot water and steam space heating systems in multi-family buildings with the goals of reducing energy waste and improving occupant comfort. The U.S. Department of Energy's Building America program develops technologies with the goal of reducing energy use by 30% to 50% in residential buildings. Toward this goal, the program sponsors 'Expert Meetings' focused on specific building technology topics. The meetings are intended to sharpen Building America research priorities, create a forum for sharing information among industry leaders and build partnerships with professionals and others that can help support the program's research needs and objectives. The topic of this expert meeting was cost-effective controls and distribution retrofit options for hot water and steam space heating systems in multifamily buildings with the goals of reducing energy waste and improving occupant comfort. The objectives of the meeting were to: (1) Share knowledge and experience on new and existing solutions: what works, what doesn't and why, and what's new; (2) Understand the market barriers to currently offered solutions: what disconnects exist in the market and what is needed to overcome or bridge these gaps; and (3) Identify research needs.
Date: October 1, 2011
Creator: Dentz, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Expert Meeting Report: Interior Insulation Retrofit of Mass Masonry Wall Assemblies

Description: The Building Science Consortium held an Expert Meeting on Interior Insulation Retrofit of Mass Masonry Wall Assemblies on July 30, 2011 at the Westford Regency Hotel in Westford, MA. This report outlines the extensive information that was presented on assessment of risk factors for premature building deterioration due to interior insulation retrofits, and methods to reduce such risks.
Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Ueno, K. & Van Straaten, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hydronic Heating Retrofits for Low-Rise Multifamily Buildings - Phase 1: Boiler Control Replacement and Monitoring

Description: The ARIES Collaborative, a Department of Energy Building America research team, partnered with NeighborWorks America affiliate Homeowners' Rehab Inc. (HRI) of Cambridge, MA to implement and study improvements to the heating system in one of the non-profit's housing developments. The heating control systems in the 42-unit Columbia CAST housing development were upgraded in an effort projected to reduce heating costs by 15 to 25 percent.
Date: April 1, 2012
Creator: Dentz, J. & Henderson, H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Newporter Apartments: Deep Energy Retrofit Short-Term Results

Description: This project demonstrates a path to meet the goal of the Building America program to reduce home energy use by 30% in multi-family buildings. The project demonstrates cost effective energy savings targets as well as improved comfort and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) associated with deep energy retrofits by a large public housing authority as part of a larger rehabilitation effort. The project focuses on a typical 1960's vintage low-rise multi-family apartment community (120 units in three buildings).
Date: December 1, 2012
Creator: Gordon, A.; Howard, L.; Kunkle, R.; Lubliner, M.; Auer, D. & Clegg, Z.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Predicting Envelope Leakage in Attached Dwellings

Description: The most common method for measuring air leakage is to use a single blower door to pressurize and/or depressurize the test unit. In detached housing, the test unit is the entire home and the single blower door measures air leakage to the outside. In attached housing, this 'single unit', 'total', or 'solo' test method measures both the air leakage between adjacent units through common surfaces as well air leakage to the outside. Measuring and minimizing this total leakage is recommended to avoid indoor air quality issues between units, reduce energy losses to the outside, reduce pressure differentials between units, and control stack effect. However, two significant limitations of the total leakage measurement in attached housing are: for retrofit work, if total leakage is assumed to be all to the outside, the energy benefits of air sealing can be significantly over predicted; for new construction, the total leakage values may result in failing to meet an energy-based house tightness program criterion. The scope of this research is to investigate an approach for developing a viable simplified algorithm that can be used by contractors to assess energy efficiency program qualification and/or compliance based upon solo test results.
Date: July 1, 2013
Creator: Faakye, O.; Arena, L. & Griffiths, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Predicting Envelope Leakage in Attached Dwellings (Fact Sheet)

Description: The most common method of measuring air leakage is to perform single (or solo) blower door pressurization and/or depressurization test. In detached housing, the single blower door test measures leakage to the outside. In attached housing, however, this "solo" test method measures both air leakage to the outside and air leakage between adjacent units through common surfaces. Although minimizing leakage to neighboring units is highly recommended to avoid indoor air quality issues between units, reduce pressure differentials between units, and control stack effect, the energy benefits of air sealing can be significantly overpredicted if the solo air leakage number is used in the energy analysis. Guarded blower door testing is more appropriate for isolating and measuring leakage to the outside in attached housing. This method uses multiple blower doors to depressurize adjacent spaces to the same level as the unit being tested. Maintaining a neutral pressure across common walls, ceilings, and floors acts as a "guard" against air leakage between units. The resulting measured air leakage in the test unit is only air leakage to the outside. Although preferred for assessing energy impacts, the challenges of performing guarded testing can be daunting.
Date: November 1, 2013
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Retrofit of a Multifamily Mass Masonry Building in New England

Description: Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity (MVHfH) has partnered with Building Science Corporation to provide high performance affordable housing for 10 families in the retrofit of an existing brick building (a former convent) into condominiums. The research performed for this project provides information regarding advanced retrofit packages for multi-family masonry buildings in Cold climates. In particular, this project demonstrates safe, durable, and cost-effective solutions that will potentially benefit millions of multi-family brick buildings throughout the East Coast and Midwest (Cold climates). The retrofit packages provide insight on the opportunities for and constraints on retrofitting multifamily buildings with ambitious energy performance goals but a limited budget. The condominium conversion project will contribute to several areas of research on enclosures, space conditioning, and water heating. Enclosure items include insulation of mass masonry building on the interior, airtightness of these types of retrofits, multi-unit building compartmentalization, window selection, and roof insulation strategies. Mechanical system items include combined hydronic and space heating systems with hydronic distribution in small (low load) units, and ventilation system retrofits for multifamily buildings.
Date: August 1, 2013
Creator: Ueno, K.; Kerrigan, P.; Wytrykowska, H. & Van Straaten, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Multifamily Individual Heating and Ventilation Systems, Lawrence, Massachusetts (Fact Sheet)

Description: The conversion of an older Massachusetts building into condominiums illustrates a safe, durable, and cost-effective solution for heating and ventilation systems that can potentially benefit millions of multifamily buildings. Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity (MVHfH) partnered with U.S. Department of Energy Building America team Building Science Corporation (BSC) to provide high performance affordable housing for 10 families in the retrofit of an existing mass masonry building (a former convent). The original ventilation design for the project was provided by a local engineer and consisted of a single large heat recovery ventilator (HRV) located in a mechanical room in the basement with a centralized duct system providing supply air to the main living space and exhausting stale air from the single bathroom in each apartment. This design was deemed to be far too costly to install and operate for several reasons: the large central HRV was oversized and the specified flows to each apartment were much higher than the ASHRAE 62.2 rate; an extensive system of ductwork, smoke and fire dampers, and duct chases were specified; ductwork required a significant area of dropped ceilings; and the system lacked individual ventilation control in the apartments
Date: November 1, 2013
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department