Home Energy July Aug 2011 : Page 3

LETTERS 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702 (510)524-5405 contact@homeenergy.org www.homeenergy.org ________________ Retrofit Insulation for Concrete Slab What products or materials do you recommend to put on top of an on-grade concrete fl oor before laying fl ooring, and so on, to turn a base-ment into real living space? Decent thermal insulation would make the space much more comfortable, as would a good moisture barrier. It might reduce any radon infi ltration as well. However, it’s about 30 years too late to put foam insulation under the slab! Peter Gollon Energy Chair, Long Island Sierra Club, Long Island, New York Senior Executive Editor Executive Editor Editor Assistant Editor Design & Production Manager Technical Editors Alan Meier Iain Walker Jim Gunshinan Macie Schreibman Kate Henke Steve Greenberg Nance Matson Contributing Editor Steve Mann Copyeditor Irene Elmer Writers This Issue Peter Byrne, Emily Courtney, Pamela Evans, Elena Foshay, Roger Hahn, Todd Hoener, Marjorie Isaacson, ChaNell Marshall, Pat Fox, Paul Raymer, Rhonda Rigenhagen, Ted Shoemaker, Bob Scott, Kay Stewart, Micaela Young Publisher Advertising & Marketing Manager Controller Office Manager Fulfillment Manager O ffice Intern Tom White Carol A. Markell Jan Elkington Maggie Forti Alana Shindler Toni White Technical Editor Steve Greenberg replies: Regarding the topic of retrofi t insulation on an on-grade slab, I have a couple of thoughts: ▪ It should be closed-cell foam for maxi-mum thermal and water resistance. ▪ If you put a fl oating fl oor over it, you might get away with just rigid foam on the con-crete and the fl oating fl oor over that. Much depends on the ability of the in-sulation to keep the slab dry enough; also on how much of the space you are willing to take up with the insulation and fl ooring. You could always use the same insulation that would have gone under the slab and then pour a topping slab over that, for example, with tubing for a radiant fl oor. ERRATUM The editors did not give com-plete contact information for the authors of “Air Conditioning Best Practices” in the May/June 2011 issue (p. 38). If you have comments and/or questions about the article, please con-tact Jim Bergmann at Jim2@ trutechtools.com, or visit www. trutechtools.com. Also, look for an updated version of the article on the Home Energy web site, coming soon . Advertising Home Energy requires all advertisers to provide documentation to support any claims of product effi ciency and performance contained in ads. We welcome companies involved in residential conservation to join this select group. It includes manufacturers of conservation materials, tools, instrumentation, computer software, and effi cient appliances, and providers of technical services, training, and labor. For advertising rates, contact: Carol A. Markell, Home Energy , 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. Tel: (510)524-5405, e-mail: CAMarkell@homeenergy.org. Home Energy is published by Energy Auditor & Retrofi tter, Incorporated President, Iain Walker Executive Director, Tom White Board of Directors Karen Butterfi eld Robert Knight David Canny Mark S. Martinez Alan Meier Bill Parlapiano III Ted Pope Michael Rogers John B. Smith Iain Walker SunPower Corporation Bevilacqua-Knight, Incorporated Pacifi c Gas & Electric Southern California Edison Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory WellHome Energy Solutions GreenHomes America Johns Manville Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Turn the Water Heater Down In the article, “Combustion Appliance Testing: Why, How, When?” (Nov/ Dec ’10, p. 38) it says, “Turn the water heater down and the furnace off if conditions allow; mark settings.” Why do you do this during the CAZ test? Dean Zias Project Manager, Multifamily Apartment Buildings New York State Energy Research and Development Authority New York, New York Editorial Advisory Board Steve Baden Michael Blasnik Chris Dorsi Doug Garrett Henry Gifford Theresa Gilbride Ron Judkoff Rick Karg Courtney Moriarta John Porterfi eld Greg Thomas Linda Wigington Edward Wyatt Larry Zarker Allen Zimmerman RESNET M. Blasnik & Associates Saturn Resource Management, Inc. Building Performance & Comfort, Inc. Gifford Fuel Saving, Inc. Pacifi c Northwest National Laboratory National Renewable Energy Laboratory R. J. Karg Associates Independent Consulting eZing, Inc. Performance Systems Development ACI Scientifi c Certifi cation Systems Building Performance Institute The Ohio State University, Wooster Campus Author Tamasin Sterner replies: The reason for turning down the water heater and turning off the fur-nace during the combustion appliance zone (CAZ) worst-case condi-tions testing is so the water heater and furnace don’t fi re while the technician is depressurizing the CAZ and measuring the pressure in the CAZ with reference to the outdoors. If the water heater or furnace fi res while the technician is sucking air out of the CAZ with exhaust fans, fl ue gases could come down the fl ue pipes and chimneys due to duct leakage and other pressure imbalances. Then these fumes are in the CAZ, which is bad for the technician and possibly the residents. If the fl ue gases do come down the chimney, the technician will discover this when he or she does the spillage test (which is done after measuring CAZ depressurization but while the CAZ is still under the most negative pressure). The technician will also test to be sure the draft pressure in the fl ue is strong enough. If the water heater or www. homeenergy.org 3 Home Energy (ISSN 0896-9442) is a bimonthly publication of Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. EA&R is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the dissemination of objective information on residential energy conservation. Yearly subscription rate: $75 for six issues. Canada and other foreign countries U.S.$90, payable by U.S. money order only. Subscribe on our Web site at www.homeenergy.org. Periodical postage paid at Berkeley, California, and additional mailing office. postmaster: Send address changes to Home Energy, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. Return undeliverable Canada addresses to: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, e-mail: returnsIL@imex.pb.com. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, gratefully accepts contributions from institutions and firms interested in promoting energy conservation. © Copyright 2011, Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, grants authorization to photocopy material from Home Energy for internal or personal use under circumstances that do not violate the fair use provisions of the copyright act. For permission to reprint, write to the above address. Printed on recycled paper

Letters

Retrofit Insulation for Concrete Slab<br /> <br /> What products or materials do you recommend to put on top of an ongrade concrete floor before laying flooring, and so on, to turn a basement into real living space? Decent thermal insulation would make the space much more comfortable, as would a good moisture barrier.It might reduce any radon infiltration as well. However, it’s about 30 years too late to put foam insulation under the slab!<br /> <br /> Peter Gollon Energy Chair, Long Island Sierra Club, Long Island, New York<br /> <br /> Technical Editor Steve Greenberg replies: Regarding the topic of retrofit insulation on an on-grade slab, I have a couple of thoughts: <br /> <br /> . It should be closed-cell foam for maximum thermal and water resistance.<br /> <br /> . If you put a floating floor over it, you might get away with just rigid foam on the concrete and the floating floor over that.<br /> <br /> Much depends on the ability of the insulation to keep the slab dry enough; also on how much of the space you are willing to take up with the insulation and flooring. You could always use the same insulation that would have gone under the slab and then pour a topping slab over that, for example, with tubing for a radiant floor.<br /> <br /> Turn the Water Heater Down<br /> <br /> In the article, “Combustion Appliance Testing: Why, How, When?” (Nov/ Dec ’10, p. 38) it says, “Turn the water heater down and the furnace off if conditions allow; mark settings.” Why do you do this during the CAZ test?<br /> <br /> Dean Zias Project Manager, Multifamily Apartment Buildings New York State Energy Research and Development Authority New York, New York<br /> <br /> Author Tamasin Sterner replies:<br /> <br /> The reason for turning down the water heater and turning off the furnace during the combustion appliance zone (CAZ) worst-case conditions testing is so the water heater and furnace don’t fire while the technician is depressurizing the CAZ and measuring the pressure in the CAZ with reference to the outdoors. If the water heater or furnace fires while the technician is sucking air out of the CAZ with exhaust fans, flue gases could come down the flue pipes and chimneys due to duct leakage and other pressure imbalances. Then these fumes are in the CAZ, which is bad for the technician and possibly the residents.<br /> <br /> If the flue gases do come down the chimney, the technician will discover this when he or she does the spillage test (which is done after measuring CAZ depressurization but while the CAZ is still under the most negative pressure). The technician will also test to be sure the draft pressure in the flue is strong enough. If the water heater or Furnace fails the spillage or draft pressure test, the technician will take the CAZ out of the most negative pressure conditions (turn off the exhaust fans and maybe other modifications) and check for spillage and then draft pressure again. This is called testing under natural conditions.The technician will follow action steps if one or more tests fail.<br /> <br /> Spillover Is Good<br /> <br /> I recently read the article by Shaun Hassel, Ben Hannas, and Michael Blasnik “Energy-Efficient Homes: Predictions, Performance, and Real- World Results” (Jan/Feb ’11, p. 28).<br /> <br /> I applaud Home Energy for including an article on evaluation! I would like to see more types of articles like this where real-world results are provided (rather than relying on engineering estimates of energy savings).<br /> <br /> However, I do have one concern. In their article, they state: “Spillover, then, can make a program appear to have less impact than it is actually having.” <br /> <br /> At face value, this is correct. However, spillover is an important element of many energy efficiency programs, especially those programs that are focused on transforming the market for energy efficiency. If regulators and others accounted for the savings from spillover, these programs would be valued more highly than they currently are—and their savings (direct and spillover) would be greater than currently reported.<br /> <br /> Edward Vine Staff Scientist Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, California<br /> <br /> ERRATUM <br /> <br /> The editors did not give complete contact information for the authors of “Air Conditioning Best Practices” in the May/June 2011 issue (p. 38). If you have comments and/or questions about the article, please contact Jim Bergmann at Jim2@ trutechtools.com, or visit www.Trutechtools.com. Also, look for an updated version of the article on the Home Energy web site, coming soon.<br /> <br /> Blair Hamilton (1949–2011) <br /> <br /> Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1991, Blair Hamilton passed away on April 8, 2011, at the age of 61. Best known for having founded the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) and Efficiency Vermont, Hamilton was a visionary who was dedicated to the environment.<br /> <br /> Scott Johnstone, executive director of VEIC, said in a recent interview that Hamilton’s idea of starting a company in 1986 that would focus on lowering the cost of energy was unprecedented.“The fact was there just weren’t a whole lot of people who wanted to pay for that, or see that happen at the time,” he said.Now, 25 years later, VEIC is a private nonprofit with 200 employees, $38 million in annual revenues, and satellite offices in Ohio, Boston, and Washington, D.C. But Hamilton received much recognition in his lifetime. Among many other honors, he was named the Champion of Energy Efficiency in 2002 by the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy.<br /> <br /> Over the past 20-plus years, Hamilton also did a whole lot for the efficiency community. This included seeing to the installation of at least 30 million efficient light bulbs, according to his obituary, which was published on April 11 in the Burlington Free Press.<br /> <br /> “Blair was a visionary, a friend, a genius, and a mentor to all of us,” Johnstone says. “He left an indelible mark on the world, and he’ll be greatly missed.”

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