Richard Rue – Building Science & Measured Performance

Air Date: 5-29-2015|Episode 370                                                                                Listen|Download

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Richard Rue the Founder of EnergyWise Structures, a company dedicated to the study, integration and application of cutting edge technology for reducing energy consumption…

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RichardRue

Richard Rue

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Richard Rue the Founder of EnergyWise Structures, a company dedicated to the study, integration and application of cutting edge technology for reducing energy consumption. The EnergyWise Analysis predicts remarkable savings (usually over 70%) of heating and cooling costs when building ultra-energy-efficient structures compared to conventional construction. The development of this program began in 1979 as the brain child of ex-NASA engineers who designed the heating and cooling systems for the original Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsules. Richard became involved early on with these engineers and participated in a house that was written up in the 1981 NASA periodical called “Spin-Off”. Over thirty years of direct work with these engineers is the foundation of Mr. Rue’s education in ultra-energy-efficient construction. With considerable research and testing, the original program for EnergyWise became a functional reality. The program evolved to keep pace with HVAC and building systems advances. The EnergyWise computer program is proprietary and was co-authored by Richard L. Rue P.E., and William B. Poucher, PhD. Richard is a past member of ASHRAE & ASTM. He served on various ASTM committees to establish testing standards in the insulation industry. Richard has been interviewed for recent articles published in RSI, Energy Design Update, Permanent Buildings and Foundations, Automated Builder and ConcreteHomes periodicals. He is a mechanical and thermal consultant, and an active public speaker for such groups as the various Home Builders Associations, the Portland Cement Association, Insulating Concrete Form Association, S.I.P. Panel manufacturers and various GEO-Thermal/HVAC manufacturers. Join us and guest Richard Rue to LEARN MORE this week on IAQ Radio!

Z-Man’s Blog:

Richard Rue -EnergyWise Structures

Prescriptive programs such as EnergyStar don’t work as well as performance programs.

Richard Rue PE was the guest on today’s episode of IAQradio. Richard is founder of EnergyWise Structures, a company dedicated to the study, integration and application of cutting edge technology for reducing energy consumption.  The EnergyWise Analysis predicts remarkable savings (usually over 70%) of heating and cooling costs when building ultra-energy-efficient structures compared to conventional construction.

The development of this program began in 1979 as the brain child of ex-NASA engineers who designed the heating and cooling systems for the original Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsules.  Richard became involved early on with these engineers and participated in a house that was written up in the 1981 NASA periodical called “Spin-Off”.  Over thirty years of direct work with these engineers is the foundation of Mr. Rue’s education in ultra-energy-efficient construction.  With considerable research, testing and data collection the original program for EnergyWise became a functional reality.  The program evolved to keep pace with HVAC and building systems advances. The EnergyWise System is revised and updated on an on-going basis.  The EnergyWise computer program is proprietary and was co-authored by Richard L. Rue PE, and William B. Poucher, PhD.

Mr. Rue’s expertise in the HVAC, insulation and energy consumption arenas represent over 35 years of involvement in diverse aspects of energy conservation:  manufacturing insulation, developing the process for spraying cellulose insulation on commercial buildings, hands-on experience with geo-thermal heat pumps, to over ten years of involvement in Laboratory testing for various manufacturers of energy related products.

Gold NuggetsNuggets mined from this week’s episode:

* Grew up in the insulation business. Father was a pioneer in cellulose insulation industry and spray-on cellulose insulation.

* Engineers are taught to believe what ASHRAE tells us however, ASHRAE is not infallible.

* Not a fan of fiberglass insulation. Prefers sprayed rockwool, sprayed cellulose or sprayed foam insulation.

* Not uncommon for 70% of the insulation value of fiberglass insulation to be lost during improper installation.

* Offers Bold Engineering Performance Guarantees:

1. Correct sizing of HVAC equipment.

2. Relative Humidity rates of 35%-50% as long as the equipment is running.

3. Comfort (using our engineered duct designs ½ -1 degree temperature variance between rooms).

4. Energy consumption for the HVAC systems.

*When selecting insulation consider: conduction, convection and radiation.

*The EnergyStar program was created by architects not engineers.

* Considers EnergyStar version 3 to be more problematic than prior versions.

* Prescriptive programs such as the EnergyStar program don’t work as well as performance programs.

* Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV), Heat Recovery Ventilators and Whole House Dehumidifiers are not automatically necessary when a home is engineered correctly. In southern climates ERVs are many times not effective. Newer HVAC equipment with high SEER ratings has less (as much as 22%) dehumidification capability than older (10 SEER rated) units.

* Dilution of indoor air is a good solution for indoor air pollution however, dilution of indoor air with outdoor air isn’t the total solution. According to the EPA as much as 50% of the nation has outdoor air that is so polluted it can be more harmful than the indoor air you’re trying to dilute.

* ASHRAE 62.2 doesn’t properly account for window, doors and penetrations in moisture prone rooms (baths and laundry rooms). 1 CFM for every 100 square feet of conditioned space and 7.5 CFMs per each bedroom + one is a formula which doesn’t always work. Great filtration and ventilation on demand is a great solution.

* 80% AFUE efficient furnaces are more efficient than 90% AFUE efficient furnaces because higher efficiency furnaces have an extra motor on the combustion chamber that consume more electricity than the furnace saves in gas. Recommends 90%+ efficiency furnaces for use in encapsulated attics.

* Unless the heating load is significant and matches up well with the size of the gas furnace, I’m not a big advocate of gas fueled equipment. New heat pumps discharge air between 100°F-105°F and were seeing a lot less complaints versus when they were putting out 90° heat.

* Comfort is dependent upon humidity levels. Oversizing HVAC units is bad. It’s much more difficult to control humidity with single speed equipment. Dislikes single speed HVAC equipment because it is sized based on worst case scenarios. Advocates furnaces and condensers with variable speed fans and condensers. Air-conditioning systems must run 8 minutes before it removes the first drop of moisture, that’s why oversized systems that short cycle are the kiss of death.

* Framing in a like manner to building sound absorbing walls with 2×6 headers, 2×6 baseplates and 2×4 studs on 24″ centers with sprayed foam, sprayed cellulose or sprayed rockwool insulation is cost effective and ultra energy efficient.

* If you flip it upside down, will it float? Super insulation doesn’t work without a good air-infiltration prevention package. Recommends using 35 year vinyl-acrylic siliconized caulking, with inspections by a qualified inspector. The labor and material cost for an EnergyWise air-infiltration package on a 3,000-4,000 square foot home is $300-$400.

* Advocates use of open cell or closed cell spray foam insulation for attics, saves ½-1 ton of cooling capacity and 30% savings on mechanical usage cost.

* Advocates use of Honeywell duct mounted and wall mounted CO2 sensors, which sense CO2 and other gases for the ventilation on demand system.

* Advocates the use of a DMH 900 Air Purification System which includes HEPA filtration, UV lights and VOC removing filters (activated carbon and potassium permanganate media). VOC removing filters are used to cleanse the air of household cleaning products.

* 40,000 homes built to EnergyWise standards, only 8 comebacks on warranties. Comebacks were the result of underperforming HVAC equipment.

* The EnergyWise Program is for new construction, once the sheet-rock goes up it’s too late.

* Shift toward variable speed condensing units and fans.

* The utility cost for Al Gore’s 14,000 square foot mansion in TN is $2,500 per month while the bill for a similarly sized EnergyWise home in the same area is $300 per month.

* “It’s not what you don’t know that will get you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”       Mark Twain

In today’s society where the tendency is to weasel out of responsibility, Richard Rue has made EnergyWise a successful business by accepting responsibility and standing behind his company’s engineering specifications.
Today’s music: Energy Conservation for Kids, Horizon Utilities YouTube

Trivia: Name the world’s first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for commercial use?

 Answer: APS-1 plant in Obninsk, Russia

Radio Joe & Z-Man signing off

 

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