Low CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) Ventilation Fans, along with wall switch timers that assure the fan shuts off after a short period of time, are a great way to save electricity and help with Energy Star certification. Regular ventilation fans will vent large amounts of heated and cooled air to the exterior, due to the fan constantly running and no "flap" to seal vent when fan is not on, and this lowers the house's insulation properties causing the HVAC system to overwork, and consuming unnecessary energy. GCM chose the Panasonic WhisperGreen Select One Fan to assure maximum insulation properties of the structure, minimum use of the HVAC system, help us in our Net-Zero Energy goal, and to help us get the house Energy Star Certified. Since the ventilation fan is whisper quiet and would get occasionally left on, the wall switch timer assures the fan turns off automatically after a short period of time to assure minimum energy usage. "Low CFM" means the ventilator fan exhausts the minimum amount of interior heated or cooled air to the outside. GCM will set the ventilator fans to the lowest setting of only 50 CFM. For more info see the links below.
Panasonic WhisperGreen Select™ One Fan - Multiple IAQ Solutions, 50-80-110 CFM
Watch a Low CFM Ventilator Fan video on our GCM YouTube Channel below!
CFL LIGHT BULBS - Properly disposed of, CFL lightbulbs can reduce energy usage tremendously. For a few exterior lights, GCM went with CFL flood light bulbs that will last years, and burn very little energy. This Ecosmart (TM) CFL flood light bulb will consume only 23 watts when on, as compared to a regular incandescent flood light bulb that would consume 120 watts. This bulb is also "Eco Options" certified, a partnership between SCS Global Services and Home Depot, to "verify" the claims of products on their shelves that claim they are "green" or "sustainable". This bulb is Energy Star Certified, and the cardboard is recyclable! Please dispose of CFL bulbs responsibly; for more info see links below.
Light switch timers, as well as timers for electronic devices, are a great way to reduce energy use and "phantom power" waste. Light switch timers in the bathrooms can automatically shut off the lights, preventing lights from being left on and needlessly consuming energy.
To even further educe energy use, GCM selected wireless "smart" thermostats from Honeywell. These wireless thermostats can be controlled by Apps from your smart phone or tablet wirelessly, and lets you set the temperature exactly to your needs, as well as lower the temperature at night when many people are less active. These "smart" thermostats can help you reduce energy consumption, as well as increase the environmental quality. These Honeywell thermostats even "learn" to lower and raise the temperature according to your needs, and even sends you alerts to change the air filter, adding to better air quality and less energy consumption. More info at:
For more info, see Edge Energy's website:
To learn more about the Minneapolis Duct Blaster, see the Energy Conservatory's website:
The ducts were sealed at all connections with a mastic compound assuring minimum leakage.
Foam and tape was used at various places to seal all leaks, to make the air duct system as airtight as possible.
Many times GCM opened panels to seal from the inside, and then closed the access panel and then sealed, going the extra mile.
All the vents were sealed with a plastic film, so the vacuum pressure test could be performed.
The Minneapolis Duct Blaster with vacuum return and electronic sensors and meters, was attached to the main out of the HVAC air duct system.
GCM wanted to get maximum Energy Star Efficiency out of the HVAC air duct system, and to do that one needs to seal all cracks, and assure the duct system is as airtight as possible with minimum leakage. A great way to test that is to do a test on your air duct system, and have it professionally measured to assure there is minimum leakage.
GCM first had to seal all the leaks in the air duct system with mastic compound, sealing tape, and foam. We also bent metal edges at connection points to assure a tight fit, and to eliminate gaps and leaks between duct sections. GCM went the extra mile and even sealed from the inside at certain places. EDGE ENERGY then used the Minneapolis Duct Blaster to perform an "air duct system pressurIzation test" to measure the efficiency of our air duct system, and to certify the installation of the duct system is of the highest quality. The device pulls air through the system and uses electronic meters to assure the "leakage level" is below a certain percentage. GCM passed the test with flying colors, and got a reading of under 3% leakage. This work assures maximum efficiency of the HVAC system, reduces energy use, and assures a high air quality environment for maximum LEED points. See our letter of certification from Edge Energy below with the test results.
Fireplace has a door to prevent pollution, with ducts and air blowers to bring in exterior air, and vent warm air to rooms.
GCM designed the fireplace to be an integral part of heating the house, and chose the Heat & Glo Northstar Fireplace that is so powerful it alone could heat the house. It is a sealed fireplace with 2.7 cu. ft. interior space and puts out a whopping 51,000s BTUs.
It is EPA Certified with emission levels of just 3.25 grams per hour. It will use motors to intake air though ducts and blow warm air to rooms through vents. The fireplace will eliminate the need to run the heating unit, saving energy and reducing pollution.
All of the electrical appliances at GCM are Energy Star Certified, and the HVAC and air filtration system components are no exception. The HVAC unit is a Goodman HVAC unit that is Energy Star certified, and consumes very little energy.
Find more info on GoodmanMFG.com.
The Daikin heat pump and the LifeBreath air filtration system are also both Energy Star Certified and consume very little energy.
Find more info on the Daikin's website here, and find more info on the filtration system on Lifebreath.com here.
Not many people think "Energy Star" and roof shingles in the same thought, but shingles can play a huge role in the reflection or absorption of the sun's rays, and thereby have a huge impact on cooling the house. GCM went with the Landmark Solaris Platinum Shingles to save energy, and to be more greener. These shingles have advanced colored granules that reflect the sun's rays, and can reduce the roof's temperature by as much as 20 degrees. Less energy will then have to used to cool the house. They have a solar reflectance value of over 40% and they also reduce "thermal shock" on exterior building materials. Finally, they will help us achieve LEED certification. Read more about using tiles to be more greener here: http://www.certainteed.com/products/ROOFING/341315
GCM is dedicated to using Energy Star Efficient Certified appliances and materials wherever possible to save energy, to help achieve our Net-Zero Energy goal, to be more sustainable, and to help us in LEED and Energy Star certification.
All that hard work has paid off by GreenCasaMaryland being Energy Star Certified. (see certification below) On this page you will also find the various Energy Star Certified appliances and materials we are using, blower door tests and more, with info and links.
For hot water use, GCM went with the Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300, which is a true heat pump water heater. The Accelera 300 uses a groundbreaking design that uses a heat pump to heat the water using very little energy, and for every watt that the Accelera fan and compressor uses the equivalent of 3-5 watts of hot water are generated. The hot water is generated mainly with the heat pump, and rarely uses the electrical heat element. It also has a "vacation mode" that lowers the energy usage to a trickle. For more information on this Energy Star certified heater visit the Stiebel Elltron website here: http://www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com/accelera.html
Whole House Blower Door Test
GCM has worked hard to maximize the insulative properties of the structure to assure it meets or exceeds the new US Department of Energy air sealing requirements to help us on our goal of becoming LEED Certified and Energy Star Certified. To measure and verify the structure's good air sealing properties, GCM partner Edge Energy performed a Whole House Blower Door Test on the structure and we passed with flying colors. Above are the pictures from the test, and the Maryland DPM Certificate with test results. Read more on the USDOE Website here.
GCM selected a CFC FREE refrigerator and Energy Star Certified washer & dryer.
GCM is using LED lighting exclusively and extensively for interior lighting; here are a few brands and products we are using.
The Certainteed R19 fiberglass insulation for the attic, crawlpaces and walls is Energy Star Certified.
See our LEED section for more info.
Air was then pulled through the air duct system and the leakage was measured by a gauge, and was found to be under 2.9%, and passes the 2012 IRC. See a video of the whole process on our Videos Page.