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  Building Characteristics

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Tables 1 - 4: Types of Buildings (focus on housing) in the North American Inventory

Tables below are a summary of building characteristics in heating only climates (cooling not evaluated) – Bean’s CYA - all statements general in nature –  your mileage may vary.

Table 1: Type 1 Building - Terrible & Built to Code
(old buildings built by craftsmen who have been dead a long time)

Table 2: Type 2 Building - Traditional & Built to Code
(buildings built by retired craftsmen or currently being built by the craftsman's students for a population that thinks aesthetics, size and bling trumps energy and indoor environmental quality)

Table 3: Type 3 Building - Transitional & Built to Above Code
(a growing segment of homes built by the student of retired craftsmen who have an above average understanding of building science and who serve a more discerning client base; examples include Energy Star, Equilibrium and R2000 etc.)

Table 4: Type 4 Building - Terrific & Built to Future Codes
(the forefront of housing but not to be confused with "bleeding edge" as the materials and methods of construction are well known and have been around since the late 70's...for the client who places energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality above other priorities; example would be PassiveHaus or R2000 on steroids).
 

Table 1 :Type 1 Building - Terrible & Built to Code (terrible referring to thermal performance not material quality or quality of workmanship both which were very good back in the day...)
Copyright © 2011, Robert Bean, free use granted provided credit is given with link to this page.

Item 

Characteristics

Complexity of HVAC and plumbing

low tech

Flux (cold & very cold climates) Btu/hr/sf

> 30

Insulation

poor

Mean radiant temp. (MRT) w/o  radiant  htg.

significantly lower than room air temperature

Air leakage, ACH50

> 7.0

Vapour control – see contaminates below

none

Windows (glass and frame)

low grade - single or dbble pane

Consideration for window to wall ratio

none

Consideration for window performance

none

Consideration for orientation 

none

Lighting and appliance efficiency

poor

Greatest energy load

comfort then DHW (negligible ventilation)

Ventilation approach

dilution with leakage and mechanical openings 
and natural ventilation (mechanical openings 
and natural ventilation should not be confused as a bad thing...properly placed and manual controlled double hung windows worked!)

Ventilation

exhaust

exfiltration or bath/kitchen fans

make up air

none - infiltration

HRV/ERV

none

Source control of contaminates

none

Contaminates

more internal sources: lead in paint, asbestos and formaldehyde in insulations, VOC's from finishes, radon; moisture not a concern as enclosures had high storage capacity and easily dried out, wetting ≤ drying and heat energy used to assist in drying. Note: Due to age of Building VOC emissions from finishes are low unless Building recently renovated without regard to VOC’s.

Supply air filtration

house insulation filtered air leaks, relied on filters supplied w/ air handler, < MERV 4

Renewable energy

none

Non renewable energy use and concerns

the more the merrier, burn baby burn

Relative house size

small to modest

 

Table 2: Type 2 Building - Traditional & Built to Code
Copyright © 2011, Robert Bean, free use granted provided credit is given with link to this page.

Item 

Characteristics

Complexity of HVAC and plumbing

low to medium to high tech

Flux (cold & very cold climates) Btu/hr/sf

20-30

Insulation

low to medium

Mean radiant temp. (MRT) w/o  radiant  htg.

somewhat lower than room air temperature

Air leakage, ACH50

4.0-7.0

Vapour control – see contaminates below

poor to better

Windows (glass and frame)

standard to better

Consideration for window to wall ratio

none to some

Consideration for window performance

none to some

Consideration for orientation 

none to some

Lighting and appliance efficiency

poor to better

Greatest energy load

comfort then DHW then ventilation

Ventilation approach

dilution with leakage and mechanical openings 
and natural ventilation (mechanical openings 
and natural ventilation should not be confused as a bad thing...properly placed and manual controlled double hung windows worked!)

Ventilation

exhaust

exfiltration or bath/kitchen fans

make up air

none, infiltration or through furnace

HRV/ERV

a few with use of R/A plenum for distribution

Source control of contaminates

none

Contaminates

more internal sources: lead, asbestos, VOC's from finishes, CO, radon; moisture becomes a concern as enclosures have less storage capacity and dry less easily, wetting ≥ drying but heat energy still available for drying. Note: Due to age of Building VOC emissions from finishes are typically low unless Building recently renovated without regard to VOC’s.

Supply air filtration

relied on filters supplied with air handler,
< MERV 4, some after market upgrades

Renewable energy

some solar thermal including GSHP connected to hydropower and nuclear power systems

Non renewable energy use and concerns

burn baby burn but with tinges of guilt based on grey  definition of sustainability

Relative house size

modest to large to very large

 

Table 3: Type 3 Building - Transitional & Built to Above Code
Copyright © 2011, Robert Bean, free use granted provided credit is given with link to this page.

Item 

Characteristics

Complexity of HVAC and plumbing

High to medium

Flux (cold & very cold climates) Btu/hr/sf

10-20

Insulation

medium to high

Mean radiant temp. (MRT) w/o  radiant  htg.

lower to near room air temperature

Air leakage, ACH50

2.0-3.0

Vapour control – see contaminates below

better to good to very good

Windows (glass and frame)

better to very good

Consideration for window to wall ratio

optional to standard practice

Consideration for window performance

standard practice

Consideration for orientation 

some to standard practice

Lighting and appliance efficiency

better to high efficiency

Greatest energy load

DHW or comfort then ventilation

Ventilation approach

built tight ventilate right & natural ventilation

Ventilation

exhaust

bath/kitchen fans - intermittent

make up air

through air handler

HRV/ERV

HRV/ERV - dedicated - continuous

Source control of contaminates

some to strict control

Contaminates

shift from internal to external source: radon, ozone, PAH's and CO; moisture a concern as enclosures have less storage capacity and dry less easily, wetting > drying, there is still some mechanical heat available for drying.  Lower VOC's from finishes.

Supply air filtration

MERV 6-12 with optional gas/odor filter

Renewable energy

some photovoltaic's, solar and geo thermal including GSHP connected to hydro and wind power, nuclear

Non renewable energy use and concerns

sustainability is clear goal, concerned about today and past practices

Relative house size

large to modest

 

Table 4: Type 4 Building - Terrific & Built to Future Codes
Copyright © 2011, Robert Bean, free use granted provided credit is given with link to this page.

Item 

Characteristics

Complexity of HVAC and plumbing

medium to low tech to no tech

Flux (cold & very cold climates) Btu/hr/sf

< 10

Insulation

very high

Mean radiant temp. (MRT) w/o  radiant  htg.

at or above room air temperature

Air leakage, ACH50

> 0.6 < 2.0

Vapour control – see contaminates below

very good

Windows (glass and frame)

very good

Consideration for window to wall ratio

standard practice

Consideration for window performance

standard practice

Consideration for orientation 

standard practice

Lighting and appliance efficiency

very high efficiency

Greatest energy load

DHW then ventilation then comfort

Ventilation approach

built tight ventilate right & natural ventilation

Ventilation

exhaust

HRV/ERV

make up air

HRV/ERV

Source control of contaminates

strict control

Contaminates

more external source: radon, ozone, PAH's and CO; moisture a concern as enclosures have no storage capacity, wetting > drying, & there is essentially no mechanical heat available for drying. VOC's strictly regulated. More natural low or essentially no VOC finishes

Supply air filtration

MERV 8-12 with optional gas/odor filter

Renewable energy

photovoltaic's, solar and geo thermal including GSHP connected to hydro and wind power, nuclear. Goal is to eliminate on-site  combustion and compression. May be net-zero energy and very close to net-zero energy.

Non renewable energy use and concerns

sustainable practices and very concerned about past practices & bleeding waste

Relative house size

modest to small

 

Presented as part of 2011 COMFORTECH  - Indianapolis, In. This presentation looked at hybrid heating and cooling systems and the quirks created by mixing air with hydronics when using dual purpose water heaters, boilers, heat pumps, furnaces, fan/coils and radiant cooling and heating. Thanks to the fine folks from Penton Media Inc. and show sponsors including Uponor for the opportunity to present this content. We suggest you download before opening due to the file size.

Version 1 - September 21st, 2011 (11 mb)

Version 2 - September 22nd, 2011 (9 mb)

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