Archive for the 'SWVA USGBC' Category

Home Energy Audits

100_4983This past week the local USGBC chapter held its monthly meeting at one of our member’s home to preform a live energy audit.  It was an interesting evening.  We got to see a blower door test, duct test and infrared scan.  How these test worked was interesting and eyeopening. Because this was a remodel (somewhat in progress) we expected the results to be not so great.  But what we discovered was that if you took all the holes and leaks in the home and collected them into one big hole it was equal 25% of the exterior surface.  Ouch!  The amount of energy loss was more than even the homeowner expected.

Josh, our guide/tester/teacher recommended that the first line of defense should always be the roof.  Make sure your envelope is closed by insulating the roof.  Then the second most important place was the floor and lastly followed by the walls.  So if you have to break up the job, there is the most economical priority.

To have your own energy audit done is highly recommended.  The going rate is somewhere around $1,000 but expect a significant payback.  The audit will tell you exactly where the leaks are located.


January SWVA USGBC – Firehouse #3

engine-10The Southwest Virginia Chapter of the USGBC kickoff meeting for 2009 was held at a newly built #3 Firehouse on Williamson Road.  This is a relocation of the airport firehouse #10 and the old old #3.  The location is smack dab in the middle of  the Williamson Road activities.  Coordination with the transportation department on signal controls seems to have worked out.  Traffic briefly stops when calls are answered. 

It was one of those nights in Roanoke that was on the verge of a monster snow/ice storm but instead we got 33 degree rain.  Gloomy night to be out, however since this was a tour I was looking forward to seeing, it was worth staying out in the yuck a little.  The great men and women of firehouse #3 were nice enough to let our group invade their surroundings for a tour and meeting, even during their dinner.  Thanks to them for letting us see part of their world.  We even got to witness a real call going out.

The firehouse is currently truck1in the middle of LEED certification, seeking LEED Gold.  Some of the very interesting sustainable features include:

A rainwater collection system for toilet flushing and firetruck washing,

On site Bio retention pond – small but effective check out the video of Steve explaining the system,

Bike Rack and Neighborhood integration,composter

LED lighting and sensors,

in kitchen composter and recycling,

Soy based insulation,

Video LEED education programs.

Overall the building is efficient and well organized.  It hopes to serve its occupants as they serve the public.


Energy Expo

Yesterday the Energy Expo opened in Roanoke, VA.  This is an annual event that has been growing by leaps and bounds.  I am happy to report that this year the exhibits are packed full of valuable sustainable information.  Here are a few….

Learn how to make your own rain barrel through the Western Va Water Authority.

Meet David Zachow with Direct Connect Solar and Electric to get set up with a solar system.

Even see a real live Yurt from Blue Ridge Yurt.  This is a neat structure that from the inside looks like one big baby gate.  Very quick to assemble and take down.

For my thoughts on thfuture-solar1e best of the show, it would have to be the kids from Thaxton Elementary.  These kids are getting it.  Walk up to their booth and you are greeted by six or so stations of experiments with energetic and excited kids demonstrating.  There were experiments on solar energy with small PVs, static electricity, magnetics, simple circuits and more.  While their teachers are to be applauded for making it fun, they are also teaching them important skills to understand tomorrow’s energy.  Job well done!

So if you are in the area of the Roanoke, Va, Civic Center stop by on Saturday.  It is free and you will see alot of great ideas for energy efficiency.