In today’s ever-growing marketplace, there is continuous development of new HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) technologies to increase the quality of life for us. Sadly enough, the base necessity of shelter, which is the largest single investment that most of us will make in our lifetime, is still built and based on existing technology which is thousands of years old. With the current need for energy efficient, healthy and comfortable indoor living environments, environmental and safety concerns, we need to rethink our approach to shelter. To boot, modern buildings have life spans which equate to less than the life span of an individual.
Our quality of living has improved with respect to convenience. With passing generations, respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis have become much more prevalent. Even the weather has become more severe as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes occur with a much higher frequency than in the past. Humanity is seeking comfort and security in their homes.
As a result of these concerns, a drive to provide much more safe, sound and comfortable living environments has been born. Through years of research into materials and methods, old and new, the new home concept has evolved. This concept integrates the durability of concrete, proven by the ages, with the environmental considerations of a modern world. It brings with it today’s comfort of a controlled HVAC indoor climate with an indoor environment that rivals that of yesteryear. It provides the strength to protect us from disaster, and can isolate us from an overpopulated society. It has the flexibility to integrate new HVAC technology, yet utilizes the skills of our ancestors to construct. Permanent, safe, comfortable, healthy, environmentally friendly, and cost efficient to build – that’s the new home concept.
Homes built utilizing the new home system, are proven HVAC energy saving buildings, lowering heating and cooling costs substantially with shorter-term paybacks, a tighter building envelope, more efficient materials and a large thermal mass. In the end, this means that your furnace will only have to supply about half the heat output when compared to conventional framing. And when you include new home construction methods, energy required for space heating/cooling can save you as much as 78% on your yearly energy bills.
The Real R-values: You may have heard people talk about how the materials used in new constructions actually increase the thermal performance of the walls. As engineering studies have estimated, if you insulate a framed wall enough, you would have to fill the walls with fiberglass insulation, as well as install vapor and moisture barriers. The reason is that the framed assemblies are losing out on the savings associated with thermal mass, lower air infiltration and conducted loss through the structural members.
More efficient materials: Fiberglass insulation is a network of tangled fibers, which allows air movement through the batts, resulting in heated air being expelled through the insulation rather easily.
Add ventilation requirements, humidity and the fact that heat rises, and you get a significant amount of outward pressure on the exterior insulated layer, much like a hot air balloon. New constructions provide an air tight seal around the entire perimeter of the building, trapping your heat in. It consists of closed plastic cells that prevent air movement in or around the cellular structure. This consideration alone equates to a saving of approximately 42% of your heating/cooling requirements.
Air infiltration: According to engineering estimates, 38% of heating and cooling costs goes to correcting the temperature of air that leaks through gaps in the building envelope.
Thermal Mass: The thermal mass of concrete evens out the temperature fluctuations by absorbing and storing heat, much like a heat sink. During sunny warm winter days, or during periods when the heating system is operating, the concrete components store large quantities of heat. This heat then radiates back into the interior space at night and during periods when your heating system is not operating. This means your heating plant does not have as much demand on it. According to engineering simulations, this can enhance your savings by at least 19%, and when combined with S.M.A.R.T. heating technology that takes advantage of off-hour rates, you can effectively save over 24% on your heating bill. An added bonus is the security of knowing that if a power outage were to occur, your home would stay comfortably warm for several days.
Conclusion: Yes, the HVAC technology has improved our quality of life.