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Building energy efficient homes begin with a good thermal and air barrier

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Building energy efficient homes begin with a good thermal and air barrier
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In this edition of Going Green, YNN's Terry Ettinger reports how building energy efficient homes begin with a good thermal barrier and air barrier.

Building energy efficient homes begin with a good thermal barrier and air barrier.

"The thermal barrier being basically the insulation levels in your walls and in your attic. The air barrier is how tight the house is. So, it’s keeping the conditioned air inside," said Kris Carr, Development Manager of Fort Drum Community Homes.

That sounds easy, but it’s not. It means using the right materials and careful construction.

"We focus a lot of effort on air sealing, all of your mechanical penetrations that we use, the insulation packages that we use also help with air sealing. Combined with a stringent test out program with blower door tests on every single home, we’re able to ensure that our houses are very tight and efficient," shared Carr.

These homes at Fort Drum in Northern New York typically use 30 percent less energy than homes built in the late 80s.

"We have the meter data to support that because all of our homes are metered and we’ve been tracking this for a long time. Our homes are also 40 percent more efficient in gas consumption based on late 80s construction standards," Carr went on to say.

But this military post has been around awhile so there are a lot of older, less efficient buildings but a special computer program helps improve their energy use.

"We monitor if the building is occupied by using sensors. We monitor outdoor temperature and indoor air temperatures. We can activate and deactivate HVAC controls, outdoor lighting controls, based on the occupancy, the time of day, time of week, time of year, and different functions will adjust to schedules we have set," said Thomas Hudon , with Utilities Monitoring and Controls Systems.

The system controls most of the buildings like barracks, dining halls, and headquarters.

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