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.