Utilizing Insulated Concrete Block to Building Green, Energy-Efficient Homes in Austin

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is a supe­ri­or prod­uct for build­ing an ener­gy-effi­cient home in hot and mug­gy Austin. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem pro­vides for an ener­gy-effi­cient home with con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, ther­mal mass, and a tight build­ing enve­lope. An ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin built with Bau­tex Block is com­fort­able, durable, healthy and saves both ener­gy and mon­ey.

Hot and Humid Austin Needs Energy-Efficient Homes

The hot and humid cli­mate of Austin makes ener­gy-effi­cient con­struc­tion a key pri­or­i­ty for new homes. Much of the year, the rel­a­tive humid­i­ty in Austin is above 84 per­cent. The aver­age annu­al tem­per­a­ture in Austin is 80°F. How­ev­er, between June and Sep­tem­ber, the dai­ly aver­age tem­per­a­ture ranges well into the 90s°F, and it is quite mug­gy.

The design of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin must include a tight build­ing enve­lope and mois­ture resis­tance. These com­po­nents ensure an Austin home is durable, healthy, com­fort­able. A tight build­ing enve­lope that is mois­ture resis­tant also saves ener­gy and mon­ey and is crit­i­cal to pro­tect­ing the envi­ron­ment.

Impact of Global Warming on Austin

Con­struct­ing ener­gy-effi­cient homes in Austin is essen­tial due to ris­ing tem­per­a­tures, pre­sum­ably due to glob­al cli­mate change. A study by the ATMOS Research & Con­sult­ing report­ed on how glob­al cli­mate change might affect Austin’s cli­mate. The study con­clud­ed the fol­low­ing changes to Austin cli­mate by the year 2040.

  • Sum­mer aver­age high tem­per­a­tures will increase from 93.8 to 96.9
  • The days with tem­per­a­tures above 100 will increase from 11.7 to 31.4
  • Annu­al pre­cip­i­ta­tion (inch­es) will decrease from 33.7 to 31.8
  • Max­i­mum 5‑day rain­fall will increase from 5.8 to 7.2

Energy-Efficient Home Construction Supports Austin’s Climate Program

Build­ing ener­gy-effi­cient homes in Austin is in line with the goals and strate­gies of the City’s cli­mate pro­gram. As an eco­log­i­cal­ly resilient com­mu­ni­ty, Austin has three goals for address­ing the chal­lenges of cli­mate change.

  1. By 2020, Austin’s oper­a­tions will achieve car­bon neu­tral­i­ty
  2. By 2050, Austin will pro­duce net-zero com­mu­ni­ty-wide green­house gas­es
  3. Austin will devel­op effec­tive strate­gies for resilience against cli­mate-relat­ed threats

Builders and archi­tects of homes in Austin can con­tribute towards the City’s cli­mate pro­gram by build­ing ener­gy-effi­cient homes. Ener­gy-effi­cient homes use less car­bon-based ener­gy and fuel, there­fore pro­duce few­er green­house gas­es, which are believed to con­tribute to glob­al warming1.

Building an Energy-Efficient Home in Austin

An ener­gy-effi­cient house in hot and mug­gy Austin is essen­tial to con­trol­ling ener­gy bills and pre­vent­ing mois­ture accu­mu­la­tion with­in the wall sys­tems. Fur­ther­more, ener­gy-effi­cient homes in Austin coin­cide with the City’s cli­mate pro­gram to slow glob­al warm­ing. Vital ele­ments of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in hot and humid Austin include a tight build­ing enve­lope, site ori­en­ta­tion, and the loca­tion of the win­dows, rooms, and duct­work.

Energy-Efficient Homes in Austin Need Tight Building Envelopes

A tight build­ing enve­lope min­i­mizes air intru­sion and heat gain and is essen­tial to cre­at­ing a cool and dry home in Austin. Cru­cial design com­po­nents for a tight build­ing enve­lope include a high per­for­mance air and mois­ture bar­ri­er and atten­tion to con­struc­tion details.

An air and mois­ture bar­ri­er pre­vents mois­ture intru­sion and air leak­age. Mois­ture resis­tance is cru­cial to pre­vent­ing wood rot and the growth of mold and mildew, which can dam­age the indoor envi­ron­men­tal qual­i­ty (IEQ) of a home. The enve­lope must con­sid­er all the exte­ri­or com­po­nents of the house: the walls, foun­da­tion, roof­ing, and doors and win­dows.

The Walls of an Energy-Efficient Home in Austin

energy efficient homes austin

The walls of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin are a crit­i­cal ele­ment for stop­ping heat gains and cre­at­ing a tight enve­lope. The walls of an ener­gy-effi­cient house should have a rea­son­ably high effec­tive R‑value. Ener­gy-effi­cient walls are a vital com­po­nent of a tight build­ing enve­lope of an Austin home.

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem will cre­ate a well insu­lat­ed and tight build­ing enve­lope for an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem meets the ther­mal per­for­mance set by the IRC and IBC and gives a high-lev­el of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion (R‑14) that stops the trans­fer of heat.

Also, essen­tial in humid Austin, is the appli­ca­tion of the Bau­tex AMB 20 air and mois­ture bar­ri­er. The Bau­tex AMB 20 air and mois­ture bar­ri­er stops mois­ture intru­sion and ensures an air­tight house in Austin.

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is the superb choice for an ener­gy-effi­cient, durable and healthy wall sys­tem in Austin.

The Roofing of an Energy-Efficient Home in Austin

A cool roof of an ener­gy-effi­cient house in Austin pro­tects against solar heat gain and keeps the home and attic spaces cool. Com­mon asphalt shin­gles can absorb the sun’s heat, which will trans­fer to the inte­ri­or of a house. Roof­ing prod­ucts that are reflec­tive or that have light col­ored pig­ments that reflect the sun­light are bet­ter prod­ucts for ener­gy-effi­cient, cool roof. Cool roofs improve indoor com­fort and lessen ener­gy use and expense.

Glazing System of an Energy-Efficient Home in Austin

The glaz­ing sys­tems (doors, win­dows, and sky­lights) of an ener­gy-effi­cient house in Austin are impor­tant to achiev­ing ener­gy sav­ings. Design of an ener­gy-effi­cient house should include ener­gy-effi­cient win­dows, sky­lights, and doors fit­ting to Austin’s cli­mate zone.

Room and Site Orientation of an Energy-Efficient Home in Austin

Room ori­en­ta­tion is also a rel­e­vant design con­sid­er­a­tion of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin.

  • East fac­ing rooms have sub­stan­tial sun in the morn­ing and are cool in the late after­noon, which is suit­able for kitchens and bed­rooms.
  • North fac­ing rooms have day long sun. They are excel­lent for the liv­ing spaces like liv­ing, fam­i­ly, and din­ing rooms.
  • West fac­ing rooms get late after­noon sun, which is not good for bed­rooms and kitchens.
  • South-fac­ing rooms have low lev­els of sun­light, which is suit­able for garages, laun­dries, and bath­rooms.

Prop­er site ori­en­ta­tion (pas­sive solar design) of an Austin home is essen­tial for tak­ing advan­tage of the sun’s ener­gy. In Austin, north-south ori­en­ta­tion of hous­es lessens direct sun­light in the sum­mer (which min­i­mizes cool­ing demands) while increas­ing sun­light dur­ing the win­ter (which reduces heat­ing demands).

Ductwork Location of an Energy-Efficient Home in Austin

For an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin, locate the duct­work with­in the home’s enve­lope. Ducts placed in uncon­di­tioned areas can increase cool­ing costs by 15 per­cent. Fur­ther­more, in hot and mug­gy Austin, mois­ture will col­lect on the over­heat­ed duct­work.

The Dixon Residence - An Energy-Efficient Home in The Austin Area

green home austin

The Dixon Res­i­dence, just west of Austin in Drip­ping Springs, is an ener­gy-effi­cient and mois­ture-resis­tant Bau­tex Block home with tem­per­a­ture and humid­i­ty con­trols. The home focus­es being resource-effi­cient and sus­tain­able. These fea­tures were vital to the Dixon Res­i­dence home­own­ers who want­ed to build a green home that would allow them to live com­fort­ably with min­i­mal effort.

The home­own­er need­ed a house with a sim­ple design, that was ener­gy-effi­cient, mois­ture-resis­tant, built to last, and most impor­tant­ly, required min­i­mal effort to main­tain. This home relies on rain­wa­ter as a source of clean, fresh water as well as a ther­mal mass heat sink. The sol­id sin­gle wall design gives the home­own­er reas­sur­ance that their home with last for­ev­er” with­out need­ing exten­sive care.

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem sim­pli­fied the design and con­struc­tion of the Dixon Res­i­dence house in one inte­grat­ed wall assem­bly, which saved the home­own­er mon­ey and time. The design of the Dixon Res­i­dence pro­tects the occu­pants and allows them their own self-sus­tain­ing sanc­tu­ary in Austin.

Build­ing an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin cre­ates a healthy and durable home that reduces ener­gy use and lessen util­i­ty bills. Ener­gy-effi­cient homes also com­bat glob­al warm­ing. A supe­ri­or, high ther­mal mass, mois­ture-resis­tant prod­uct for pro­duc­ing an ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin is the Bau­tex Wall Assem­bly.

An ener­gy-effi­cient design must also con­sid­er the home’s ori­en­ta­tion, room and win­dow place­ment, and the loca­tion of duct­work in the house. An ener­gy-effi­cient home in Austin saves the home­own­er mon­ey and ener­gy and cre­ates a healthy, com­fort­able home. It also ben­e­fits the envi­ron­ment and sup­ports Austin’s cli­mate pro­gram.

Increas­ing lev­els of green­house gas­es are blamed for warm­ing earth’s tem­per­a­tures because green­house gas­es trap and hold heat at the Earth’s sur­face. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic (NOAA) reports that green­house gas­es have increased by 41 per­cent from 1990 to 2017. Coin­cid­ing with this, two sep­a­rate stud­ies by both NASA and NOAA found that the five warmest years all have tak­en place since 2010. Oth­er impacts of glob­al warm­ing include sea lev­els, more acidic oceans, and more fre­quent and severe weath­er events.