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Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment

University of Minnesota NorthernSTAR Building America Team convenes partners

December 13, 2011DanConservationComments Off

The University of Minnesota-led NorthernSTAR team is advancing efforts to bring researchers, builders, and owners together around two broad objectives: 1) to develop retrofit strategies for existing homes that achieve 15% to 30% energy savings and ensure safety and quality of the home, and 2) design and produce new homes that use on average 30% to 50% less energy, while improving air quality and comfort, reducing construction time and waste.  The team recently convened a wide array of partners to focus on two key aspects of the DOE Building America program’s MN Focus:  Improving foundations and windows.

Foundation heat loss represents a significant opportunity and challenge for both new and existing homes.  Foundation insulation is a viable and cost-effective means of achieving significant envelope conservation in colder climates for both new and retrofit applications and will be a critical need in meeting the Building America energy targets in a cost effective manner.

Windows have a very important impact on heating, cooling and air leakage in homes.  Windows are critical components of both new and existing homes in meeting the Building America energy targets in a cost effective manner. Understanding the impact of high performance windows on HVAC system sizing and cost is another important aspect of determining cost effective energy upgrades. Understanding when refurbishing old windows or using attachments instead of replacement in retrofit situations is clearly relevant to Building America goals as well.

At each workshop, participants representing industry, research, and government gathered to hear presentations from experts on current technologies, challenges, and opportunities, share knowledge, and build consensus on needed research and cost-effective strategies.

For more information on these workshops, or to learn more about the IREE-supported Minnesota NorthernSTAR Building America Team, please contact Pat Huelman or John Carmody. Materials from expert meetings and other Building America meetings and webinars are located at their web site.

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