Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks

March EnergySmart Partner of the Month Named

Posted by Bruce Anderson, March 29th , 2007.

Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks (ESBW) has named Rice County Habitat for Humanity as its March EnergySmart Partner of the Month. ESBW is an initiative of RENew Northfield, with funding from the Northfield Area Foundation and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Habitat was selected as the March EnergySmart Partner of the Month in recognition of the group’s long-standing commitment to building energy-efficient affordable homes. The Rice County chapter is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, which is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

The local chapter has built 12 homes in Rice County since 1993. In recent years, all homes have been built using Reward Wall Systems insulated concrete form foundations and sidewalls. Combined with careful sealing of all foundation, wall and ceiling penetrations, quality windows and doors, and a high level of attic insulation, ICFs provide a highly insulated, low air-leakage building shell. Analysis of one recently built Habitat home in Faribault found that it had an extremely low air leakage rate of 0.10 natural air changes per hour. With a high-efficiency furnace and water heater, and heat recovery mechanical ventilation, the home had annual natural gas costs of $435, or about 37% that of the average Minnesota home.

Rice County Habitat for Humanity built two homes in one year for the first time in 2006. They are building two homes again this year (one in Nerstrand, and one in Northfield). Homes are built by volunteers in partnership with the owner-occupants. Simonson familyVolunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, and cash donations are also critically important to Habitat’s ongoing work. Details can be found at http://www.habitatricecounty.org/involvement/index.html.

The Rice County Habitat case study will be one of four discussed at the March 29th “Building Energy Efficiency 101” workshop at the Northfield Public Library. The case studies will be available online here after the workshop.

ESBW seeks to raise community expectations concerning the energy performance of local buildings, and will be hosting a series of local workshops:

* March 29 (repeated April 7): Building Energy Efficiency 101: Cost-Effective Home Energy Saving Strategies for the 21st Century
* May 2 (repeated June 2): Incorporating Renewable Energy Systems into Your Energy-Efficient Home: Geothermal, Solar and Small Wind Systems
* July 10 (repeated August 11): Putting It All Together: Cost-Effective Zero Energy Homes

ESBW will also be at the Saturday March 31 Northfield Home and Garden Show with information on making your new or existing home more energy-efficient.

For more information, contact ESBW coordinator Bruce Anderson.

Filed under: News, Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks

Building energy efficiency workshop March 29

Posted by Bruce Anderson, March 25th , 2007.

Plan now to attend “Building Energy Efficiency 101: Cost-Effective Home Energy Saving Strategies for the 21st Century” Thursday, March 29th from 7 to 9 PM in the Northfield Public Library meeting room. This will be the first in a series of workshops sponsored by Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks, an initiative of RENew Northfield and the Northfield Area Foundation.3.04 kW PV array

Workshop attendees will learn from local builders and other experts how to cost-effectively save energy and money whether you are building a new home or living in a drafty 19th-century Victorian. State-of-the-art building techniques and technologies will be covered, as well as utility and government financial incentives. Case studies on several new homes and older home retrofits will detail the energy efficiency and renewable energy steps taken and actual energy saving results.

The workshop will be repeated on Saturday, April 7 from noon to 2 PM in the same location. Future workshops planned include
•May 2 (repeated June 2): Incorporating Renewable Energy Systems into Your Energy-Efficient Building: Geothermal, Solar and Small Wind Systems
•July 10 (repeated August 11): Putting It All Together: Cost-Effective Zero Energy Homes

For more information, contact us.

Filed under: Events, News, Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks

Greener roofing alternatives workshop

Posted by Bruce Anderson, November 10th , 2006.

Nail guns are banging all over Northfield as replacement of roofs damaged in the August 24th hail storm continues into the late fall. If you are a home or business owner whose roof has NOT yet been replaced, or if you are a local contractor who would like to learn more about alternative roofing materials and techniques, plan to attend the “Greener Roofing Alternatives” workshop at the Northfield Public Library meeting room at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 18th.


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Filed under: News, Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks

Dealing with hail-damaged roofs: Greener alternatives

Posted by Bruce Anderson, September 14th , 2006.

Thousands of roofs will be replaced in the coming months in the Northfield area as a result of the August 24 hail storm, mine included. These will include not only residential roofs, but also the roofs of many larger commercial, industrial, institutional and public sector buildings.

Many badly damaged roofs are already in the process of being replaced, but some of us have yet to begin work, or have more lightly damaged roofs and the luxury of being able to be more deliberative about what kind of roofing material/system is used.

I have fielded several inquiries from folks interested in knowing about “greener” roofing alternatives (i.e. roof systems with lower embodied energy; systems with the EPA’s Energy Star rating; more durable systems; roofing materials made from recycled products and/or recyclable at the end of their useful life; etc.). A good primer on greener roofing options can be found in the February/March 2005 issue of Mother Earth News.
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Filed under: News, Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks, Northfield SolarWorks

Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks awarded $40,000 grant

Posted by Bruce Anderson, July 19th , 2006.

RENew Northfield and the Northfield Area Foundation are teaming up in a new initiative to build community support for incorporating energy efficiency, solar, and ground source heating and cooling technology in new and retrofit construction in the area.

Maine solar house

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Filed under: News, Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks