Sustainability

Bautex Insulated Blocks Create Energy Efficient Buildings

The whole-building systems approach in con­junc­tion with inte­grat­ed project delivery (IPD) is the most modern design method for con­struct­ing an energy efficient building. The whole-building approach treats the structure as one energy system with inter­de­pen­dent parts. Each part affects the per­for­mance of the entire system (the whole-building). The whole-building system approach and IPD ensures the entire team of building pro­fes­sion­als is informed and under­stands all the factors that affect energy use in the building: insu­la­tion and air infil­tra­tion, climate, site con­di­tions, appli­ances and elec­tron­ics, lighting, heating and cooling, water heating, and windows, doors, and skylights. Utilizing the IPD approach to construct an energy efficient building reduces utility and main­te­nance costs, lessons noise, improves dura­bil­i­ty, increases comfort, and creates a healthy and safe indoor envi­ron­ment. Today’s energy efficient building also aims to prevent the destruc­tion of the ecosystem and reduce the use of natural resources like water, land, raw materials and energy. Designers, con­trac­tors, and building owners now recognize that opti­miz­ing a building’s energy effi­cien­cy requires a whole-building systems approach and inte­grat­ed project delivery.

Con­struct­ing a modern energy efficient structure begins at the design phase. During the design phase, the building team (archi­tects, engineers, devel­op­ers, con­trac­tors, owners, and the build­ing’s occupants) examine the project’s goals, the con­struc­tion materials, systems, and assem­blies. As a team, they set goals for energy effi­cien­cy, per­for­mance, and creative use of the space. Each member of the team is involved in all facets of the building’s design and con­struc­tion. It is also important that team members under­stand each other’s issues and concerns and are ready to assist outside their specialty. Whole building design treats the building process as one project, not a col­lec­tion of separate projects. The building team must consider many factors in the design an energy efficient structure.

  • The design should make efficient use of natural resources and energy sources such as water and electricity
  • The building design should minimize waste and materials by creating the smallest possible facility for the intended application
  • The project must meet Lead­er­ship in Energy and Envi­ron­men­tal Design (LEED) standards, Inter­na­tion­al Green Con­struc­tion Code (IgCC) and Energy Star require­ments for sustainability
  • The design of the structure should easily allow for future retrofitting
  • The design should eliminate the use of hazardous, non-biodegrad­able materials and chemicals that may cause pollution
  • The design should utilize envi­ron­men­tal­ly sound raw materials that require little main­te­nance and con­tribute to long-term sustainability

The ultimate goal of energy efficient whole-building con­struc­tion is to create a zero-net-energy building — a structure that consumes no more energy than its renewable energy systems produce. For a building to achieve zero-net-energy, it must be a tight structure with con­tin­u­ous air and moisture barriers through­out the building thermal envelope*. The ASHRAE 90.1 and the 2015 IECC, in fact, require con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion in both res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial struc­tures. Wrapping a building’s envelope with a layer of CI, along with air and moisture barriers increases the effective R‑value**, elim­i­nates thermal con­vec­tion and provides a com­fort­able indoor envi­ron­ment. Other features important to a zero-net-energy building are energy efficient appli­ances, heating and cooling, water heating and home elec­tron­ics. Building ori­en­ta­tion, window placement and a renewable energy source, like solar panels on the roof, are also essential to a zero-net-energy building. A zero-net-energy building uses no more energy than it generates by utilizing con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, air and moisture barriers, energy efficient appli­ances and mechan­i­cals and elec­tron­ics, and a renewable energy source.

Benefits of an Energy Efficient Building

An energy efficient building benefits the envi­ron­ment, saves money and is com­fort­able and safe for the occupants. Energy efficient buildings are good for the envi­ron­ment because less energy con­sump­tion means fewer emissions of green­house gases, a known cause of global climate change***. An energy efficient building saves money through lower electric bills. They also save money because energy efficient buildings have better per­form­ing ven­ti­la­tion systems; therefore may require smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment. Addi­tion­al­ly, energy efficient buildings have fewer drafts and less chance of mold and rot. An energy-efficient building is good for the envi­ron­ment and a proven best practice for a high-per­for­mance building.

Bautex Wall System Creates Energy Efficient Buildings

The Bautex Wall System is made with insulated concrete blocks that produce energy efficient exterior walls that con­tribute towards a zero-net-energy building. They are also an ideal material choice when imple­ment­ing the whole-building systems approach to con­struct­ing an energy efficient building. Bautex Wall System also exceeds the codes and standards of the ASHRAE 90.1 and 2015 IECC for con­tin­u­ous insulation.

Utilizing the whole-building systems approach when con­struct­ing a modern energy efficient structure combines energy-efficient con­struc­tion, appli­ances, HVAC, water heating, home elec­tron­ics and lighting along with a renewable energy system. Energy efficient con­struc­tion saves energy and money. In fact, energy-efficient buildings in America use 35 percent less energy than typical buildings. For more infor­ma­tion on utilizing insulated concrete blocks in the whole-building design process visit Bautex Wall System.

*The envelope of a building is the thermal barrier that controls the flow of heat, moisture, and air between the interior and exterior of the structure. It includes the walls, roof, windows, and doors.

**The effective R‑value of a build­ing’s wall assembly is its resis­tance to conduction.

***Reducing energy use helps the envi­ron­ment because much of the energy comes from burning fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels has caused an excessive buildup of green­house gases, which has created global warming. Adverse impacts of global warming are extensive. A few of the impacts include rising sea levels due to increas­ing rates of glacial melting, more acidic oceans due to increas­ing carbon dioxide levels, and more frequent and severe weather events.