High Insulation- Insulation plays an important role in the
energy performance of a building. Superinsulation- insulation that maximizes thermal
resistance- is cost-effective in many parts of the country in lowering winter heat loss
and summer cooling loads. R-values which meet the codes should be considered only
the bare minimum. The payback for optimal insulation will most often justify the
Low Emission- The manufacture and installation of foam
insulations commonly involves the use of CFCs or HCFCs, both of which should be
avoided. Some other types of foam insulation offgas formaldehyde or contain harmful
chemicals. Fiberglass contains small particles that can cause respiratory irritation
when released into the air.
Recyclable & Natural Materials- Recycled newspapers and
carpets are beginning to be used as a source of insulation. Another solution being
used by many environmentally conscious designers is air kreteš, a cement-like foam which
is made of magnesium compounds extracted from seawater and mixed with dolomite and other
minerals. Clay, tile, stone, lumber, and plaster each achieve certain insulation and
temperature-lag values that should be incorporated whenever possible. The ability of
porous materials to "breathe" provides a natural insulation process that
enhances the building envelope's performance in a temperate climate.
Earth-covered Building- The earth integrated building
incorporates the natural abilities of surrounding soil and grass to help moderate interior
temperature. An earth-covered building will have a stable year round interior
temperature as compared with a typical surface-built structure.
Asbestos- Asbestos, a class of naturally occurring minerals
composed of fibrous silicates, has long been known for its insulating properties. It
is now listed as a toxic substance under TOSCA and controlled by state codes.
DOE-2 Computer Modeling
Case Studies to Research:
Recyclable & Natural Materials-
The Audubon Society, NYC headquarters was one of the first commercial scale applications
of air kreteš.
The Underground Gallery, Cape Cod, MA.
-Herman Miller- Miller SQA Facility, Zeeland, MI.
William McDonough + Partners
EPA / DOE Energy Star Program
Moore, F. Environmental Control Systems: Heating, Lighting, Cooling. New
York: McGraw-Hill, Inc, 1993.
The Ecology of Architecture: A Complete Guide to Creating the Environmentally
Conscious Building by Laura Zeiher.
Roy, Rob. Super Insulated Houses and Underground Houses. New York:
Sterling Publishing, 1994.
National Audubon Society Audubon House: Building the Environmentally Responsible,
Energy-Efficient Office. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1994.