Doug Rye, Licensed Architect  -  Phillip Rye, Licensed Civil Engineer

 

 


 
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Energy Efficiency 

  1. What are some advantages and disadvantages of various home energy sources?

  2. What is the best residential HVAC guide?

  3. How do I handle my outside basement wall insulation?  

  4. What is the highest rated HVAC unit?

  5. What is the best radiant barrier roof insulation?

  6. Can you tell me about some energy saving devices for air conditioning?

  7. What do you know about noise control and sound insulation products?

  8. What do I need to know about designing an HVAC duct system for my home?

  9. What can you tell me about fireplaces and saving energy?

  10. What are the benefits and risks of geothermal energy?

Other Frequently Asked Questions Include

  1. How do I insulate a building that is a pole barn covered with sheet metal or a sheet metal storage building?

  2. What are the benefits of foam insulation?

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Doug Rye, Licensed Architect
Phillip Rye, Licensed Civil Engineer


 


  1. What are some advantages and disadvantages of various home energy sources?

1) Solar energy:  The initial cost is too high and there is no efficient way of storing the solar energy for sustained usage.
2) Gas or propane:  They are not as efficient as electric energy and you have the possibility of carbon monoxide (CO) problems.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, non-irritating gas that is produced from burning fossil fuels. There are an average of 534 deaths annually in the United States from CO.  This does not include the thousands of visits to the emergency room for CO poisoning symptoms.  I saw an article just the other day with the following title, "The Big Sleep: Dont close your eyes to Carbon Monoxide".  Carbon monoxide is a very serious problem and can put your and your family at risk of CO poisoning.

3) Electric:  Electric energy is more efficient than solar or gas and has no harmful by-products.  The only disadvantage to electric energy is that you have no heat during a winter power outage.  Back to Top

  1. What is the best residential HVAC guide? The best residential HVAC guide is the American Refrigeration Institute (ARI) Manual.  All quality systems are rated by the ARI and you should not use any system that is not ARI rated.  Back to Top

  2. How do I handle my outside basement wall insulation? I always prefer insulating on the inside of the basement wall.  If you insulate on the outside, you must use some type of rigid board, which can absorb water and is in contact with the elements of nature.  Back to Top

  3. What is the highest rated HVAC unit? The highest rated HVAC unit is the geothermal heat pump system.  A geothermal heat pump can save up to 60% over the conventional system.  
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  4. What is the best radiant barrier roof insulation?  If there is duct work in the attic, a radiant roof barrier is really preferred.  By lowering your attic temperature by 20F to 30F you can really increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC system.  Some people refer to a radiant roof barrier as attic insulation foil-type.  Back to Top

  5. Can you tell me about some energy saving devices for air conditioning?  History shows that most devices for air conditioning are a hoax.  The efficiency of the system and well-designed duct work are the key.  Back to Top

  6. What do you know about noise control and sound insulation products? One of the best noise control products I know of is cellulose insulation.  I am a licensed architect and I first learned of cellulose as a sound proofing product.  I was consulting on houses next to train tracks and the builder was using cellulose for sound-proofing.  I later learned that cellulose was a superior insulation in addition to a sound control product.  Back to Top

  7. What do I need to know about designing an HVAC duct system for my home?  The most important thing you should know is that the size of your HVAC system CANNOT be estimated.  It is imperative that a computer program be used to size the heating and cooling load for each room of the house.  Back to Top

  8. What can you tell me about fireplaces and saving energy? Most fireplaces are energy wasters.  Fireplaces can provide a lot of heat, but for the area that it heats and the amount of wood or gas that it uses, it is not very efficient. In a new home constructed as I teach, there is no need for a supplemental heat source.  The only reason to install a fireplace is for aesthetic reasons.     
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  9. What are the benefits and risks of geothermal energy? To my knowledge,  there are no risks of using geothermal energy.  Some of the benefits include:  super high efficiency, NO pollution, no outdoor equipment, longer life expectancy (average 22 years), and can save you hundreds of dollars every year.  Back to Top

  10. How do I insulate a building that is a pole barn covered with sheet metal or a sheet metal storage building?  You can spray the insulation directly on the steel assuming that you are using damp spray and not loose fill insulation. Of course, it would not stick if it were not damp spray. If you are framing using 2x4 studs, you would insulate just like a conventional home.  You may also spray it on the ceiling. As an example, dip a paper napkin in a glass of water and throw it on a smooth wall. It will stay there for 50 years if left undisturbed. Same concept.  Back to Top

  11. What are the benefits of foam insulation?  Foam insulation is definitely a great insulating product.  However, it is not cost effective to date.  There are people that use foam in their homes and are happy with it, but it just isn't worth the extra money when you have a great product like cellulose. Foam insulation does not have the same fireproof, roach-proof, and sound proofing benefits as cellulose.  Back to Top
     

 

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Copyright June 11, 2011 by Doug Rye and Associates.  All rights reserved. This document may not be copied in part or full without express written permission from the publisher. All violations will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.