Resources for Home Systems

Title Available As Summary Date ID Author
ENERGY SERIES: What about the Air Conditioning System?
As you begin the process of selecting the most efficient air conditioning system for your home, investigate the critical issues of system size, placement, installation, and contractor experience. Your goal is to obtain an efficient system by: sizing the system for the specific cooling load of your home; selecting and properly installing the thermostats or controls; designing a ductwork system to deliver the correct amount of conditioned air to each space; and sealing and insulating all ductwork.
Jun 9, 2014 2901-9001 (BSE-142NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What About Using Ceiling Fans?
Ceiling fans create a breeze, so room occupants feel cooler and more comfortable. With a ceiling fan running, you can raise the thermostat setting by 2 to 4 degrees during the cooling season with no reduction in comfort. Increasing the room temperature by even two degrees can cut your cooling costs 4 to 6%.
Jun 9, 2014 2901-9002 (BSE-117NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What About the Ductwork?
Air distribution or duct systems are designed to supply rooms with air that is “conditioned”—that is, heated or cooled by the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment—and to recirculate or return the same volume of air back to the HVAC equipment. Your duct system has two main air transfer systems: 1) supply, and 2) return. The supply side delivers the conditioned air to the home through individual room registers. The return side picks up inside air and delivers it to the air handler of your central system where heat and moisture are either removed or added and then delivered to the supply side. All of the air drawn into the return duct(s) is conditioned and should be delivered back through the supply registers.
Jun 9, 2014 2901-9003 (BSE-118NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about the Heating System?
The efficiency of a gas (natural or propane) or oil furnace is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), which describes the heat produced from the energy used. This rating takes into consideration losses from pilot lights, start-up, and stopping. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 80 converts 80% of the fuel it burns into usable heat. New furnaces usually rate in the mid-70s to low 80s, whereas older furnaces will be in the 50s or 60s. ENERGY STAR® qualified oil and gas furnaces have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 83% and 90%, or higher, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models. Unlike the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings, the AFUE does not consider the unit’s electricity use for fans and blowers.
Jun 9, 2014 2901-9005 (BSE-119NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Insulation?
Insulation is rated in terms of thermal resistance, called R-value, which indicates the resistance to heat flow. Although insulation can slow heat flow—conduction, convection and radiation—its greatest impact is on conduction.
Jun 10, 2014 2901-9006 (BSE-120NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about the Laundry Area?
The laundry room can be a big consumer of energy—more than 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year—and water—and a big producer of unwanted heat and humidity in the summer. It makes good sense to think about both the location and the appliances in it if you want to run an energy-efficient laundry. And there are new washers and dryers on the market now that make it easier than ever to do so.
Jun 9, 2014 2901-9007 (BSE-121NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Mold?
Mold has received a lot of attention of late because of high profile lawsuits and television news broadcasts that have highlighted the potential hazards and liabilities associated with indoor mold. What is mold? Molds, along with mildews, yeasts, and mushrooms, all belong to the kingdom fungi. Fungi are unicellular or multicellular organisms that primarily use absorption as a means to obtain energy from their environment, unlike green plants, which use chlorophyll to obtain energy from sunlight. The term “mold” describes unwanted visible fungal growth. “Mildew” is fungi that grows on fabrics or that causes plant disease. The term “yeast” is fungi that are unicellular when cultured.
Jun 26, 2014 2901-9008 (BSE-122NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about the Water Heater?
Heating water is the third largest energy expense in your home, after heating and cooling the entire space; and, it can account for 15-25% of your utility bill. It’s not hard to see why a family of four, each taking a 5-minute shower a day under inefficient showerheads, can use 700 gallons of water in a week representing a 3-year supply of drinking water for one person! There are several ways to cut down the amount you spend on heating water: a) insulate your water heater and pipes; b) reduce the amount of hot water you use; and c) turn down the thermostat on your water heater.
Jun 26, 2014 2901-9009 (BSE-123NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Windows?
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) offers a voluntary testing and certification program for thermal performance for windows and residential door products with glass. The NFRC does not conduct structural characteristics, such as impact-resistance, but rather serves as a complementary program that can test the whole window (including frame) for the following characteristics: U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Visible Transmittance, Air Leakage, and Condensation Resistance (see sample NFRC label) .
Jun 30, 2014 2901-9010 (BSE-124NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What Are the Differences Between Mobile and Modular Homes?
Mobile and modular homes are factory-built and generally differ in how much of the construction occurs at the factory. The greater the work at the factory, the less labor is needed where the home will be located.
Jun 26, 2014 2901-9011 (BSE-125NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What Can Builders Do to Help Prevent Moisture Problems in New Construction?
Buildings should be designed and built to provide comfortable and healthy levels of relative humidity. They should also prevent both liquid water from migrating through building components and water vapor from being trapped in building assemblies, like walls.
Jun 26, 2014 2901-9012 (BSE-126NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What Does the Shape of the House Have to Do With Energy Efficiency?
In a home, heat energy is transferred among all materials and substances that are of different temperatures—within the building materials, inside the building itself, and outside the building envelope. The term “building envelope” refers to all of the external building materials, windows, and walls that enclose the internal space. Heat moves only when there is a difference in temperature, and it always moves from the warm side to the cool side. Heat will continue to “flow” until any touching materials reach the same temperature. However, we usually want the inside of a home to have a different temperature from the outside.
Jun 26, 2014 2901-9013 (BSE-127NP)
ENERGY SERIES: Estimating Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use
If you're trying to decide whether to invest in a more energy-efficient appliance or if you'd like to determine your electricity loads, you may want to estimate appliance energy consumption.
Jun 26, 2014 2901-9014 (BSE-137NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Appliances?
When shopping for appliances, remember that there are actually three prices to consider. The first is the one everyone considers: the purchase price. The second price is for repairs and maintenance. The third price is often forgotten, but equally important: the operating cost of the appliance. Operating cost depends on the cost of fuel (kilowatt-hour, cubic foot, therm, etc.) in your region, how much you use the appliance as well as the way you use it, and the overall energy efficiency of the appliance. Operating cost shows up on your utility bill each month for the life of the appliance. Your refrigerator, for example, may operate effectively for 15–20 years and your dishwasher for about 10 years. You'll need to consider how any given appliance will affect your utility usage.
Jun 26, 2014 2908-9015 (BSE-128NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about the Bathroom?
Did you know the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that private homes account for more than 20 percent of the energy and about 55 percent of publicly supplied water consumed in the United States? We all know that we can save water if we just turn off the tap while brushing our teeth. We also know that when we reduce the amount of hot water used we also decrease the energy needed to heat the water. But, did you know there are products that can help you save water even when you have to use water?
Jul 1, 2014 2908-9016 (BSE-129NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Caulking and Weather-Stripping?
The greatest source of wasted heating and cooling energy in a home is air leaks. If you have a pair of 6' 8" exterior doors in your home that do not have weather-stripping, you can easily have an opening of ¼" all along the edge where the doors meet. This ¼" gap adds up to a 20-square-inch opening to the outside. If you saw a hole this big in your wall, wouldn’t you want it fixed?
Jul 1, 2014 2908-9017 (BSE-130NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Dishwashers?
It may come as a surprise that washing a load of dishes in the dishwasher uses less water than doing the same number of dishes by hand. (Dishwashers also do a better job of killing germs, because they use hotter water than you would normally use if washing by hand.) For each cycle, an ENERGYSTAR qualified dishwasher model uses about 4 gallons of water; a non-qualified model uses about 6 gallons.
Jul 1, 2014 2908-9018 (BSE-131NP)
ENERGY SERIES:What about House Design and Room Location?
While a good heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and other energy saving features can provide you with a comfortable indoor environment, it is even more efficient to prevent heat from entering the house in the first place. By designing a house with the right shape and orientation, and strategically locating rooms, you can save on energy costs for cooling and heating. If renting or purchasing, look for these same features in an existing home.
Jul 1, 2014 2908-9019 (BSE-132NP)
ENERGY SERIES:What about Moisture?
Air is made up of a mixture of gases including oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. It also contains water vapor—water in the form of a gas. The temperature of the air determines how much water vapor it can hold: warm air can hold more than cool air. When the air is saturated, it cannot hold any more, and any extra water vapor will condense into liquid form.
Jul 2, 2014 2908-9020 (BSE-133NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Radiant Barriers?
Reflective insulation systems are made from aluminum foils with a variety of backings such as roof sheathing, kraft paper, plastic film, cardboard, bubble wrap, etc. The resistance to heat flow depends on the direction of heat flow with this type of insulation most effective in reducing downward heat flow and requiring an air space next to the reflective side. Reflective systems are usually located between roof rafters, floor joists, or wall studs. Reflective insulation placed in walls or on the attic floor must be perforated to allow water vapor to pass through it.
Jul 7, 2014 2908-9021 (BSE-138NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Refrigerators and Freezers?
Your refrigerator is the only appliance that works continuously in your home 24 hours a day. In most households, the refrigerator is the single biggest energy consuming kitchen appliance. According to ENERGY STAR, replacing a refrigerator bought in 1990 with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model can save enough to pay for lighting an average household for nearly four months.
Jul 2, 2014 2908-9022 (BSE-143NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about the Roof?
Roofing is more than shingles, tile, or metal. A roof system consists of several components, properly assembled to provide the appropriate shelter for a structure. These include structural elements, moisture barriers, and possibly insulation or ventilation.
Jul 2, 2014 2908-9023 (BSE-134NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What about Ventilation?
“Ventilation” is “the natural or mechanical process of supplying conditioned or unconditioned air to, or removing air from, any space.” “Infiltration” is the uncontrolled leakage of air through cracks and gaps in the building envelope, especially around windows and doors. Infiltration deals with uncontrolled situations. In our homes we want to be able to control air movement.
Jul 7, 2014 2908-9024 (BSE-135NP)
ENERGY SERIES: What is the Whole-House Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency?
The whole-house systems approach looks at the entire house as an energy system with interdependent parts. Like a human body, when one part functions poorly it affects the performance of the entire system. For instance, the benefits of an energy-efficient air conditioner are lessened when a duct system leaks, windows don’t close tightly, the attic is uninsulated, and humid summer breezes are drifting in under the door.
Jul 7, 2014 2908-9025 (BSE-136NP)
Urban Stormwater: Terms and Definitions Sep 5, 2013 426-119 (BSE-78P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 1: Rooftop Disconnection Sep 5, 2013 426-120 (BSE-93P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 2: Sheet Flow to Open Space
Sheet flow to open space (SOS) is a group of best management practices (BMPs) designed to disperse concentrated runoff to sheet flow into filter strips or a riparian buffer. An SOS reduces runoff volume and associated sediment and nutrients that are carried with it (see figure 1). It is used as a stormwater treatment practice in both urban and rural areas. This practice is often used after another treatment practice to disperse or eliminate runoff. In a few cases, an SOS can be used as a pretreatment to remove small amounts of sediment via a vegetated filter strip — prior to a bioretention device, for example.
Sep 6, 2013 426-121 (BSE-83P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 4: Soil Restoration
Soil restoration (SR) is the technique of enhancing compacted soils to improve their porosity and nutrient retention. It includes biological (worms) and mechanical aeration, mechanical loosening (tilling), planting dense vegetation, and applying soil amendments. Soil amendments involve the spreading and mixing of mature compost into disturbed and compacted urban soils (see Figure 1).
Sep 6, 2013 426-123 (BSE-80P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 5: Vegetated Roofs
A vegetated roof (VR) is a best management practice (BMP) that reduces stormwater runoff and pollution. Vegetation and media create a permeable system on a previously impervious surface. The VR intercepts rainfall and filters runoff while reducing the volume and velocity. Vegetated roofs consist of a waterproofing barrier, drainage system, and engineered growing media. There are two types of VRs: intensive and extensive. Intensive vegetated roofs are deeper and heavier, while extensive vegetated roofs are shallower, lighter, and more common (see Figure 1). The type of VR determines the amount of maintenance necessary to maintain the vegetation.
Sep 6, 2013 426-124 (BSE-81P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 6: Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting (RWH), also known as rainwater harvesting systems or cisterns, are devices that intercept, divert, store, and release collected roof runoff from rainfall for later use as an alternative water supply (see figure 1). RWH can also be designed to provide runoff reduction benefits. Therefore, it is classified as a best management practice (BMP) for treatment of urban stormwater. Because of its dual purpose and benefit, RWH is often classified as a sustainable urban BMP.
Sep 6, 2013 426-125 (BSE-90P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 7: Permeable Pavement
Permeable pavement (PP) is a modified form of asphalt or concrete with a top layer that is pervious to water due to voids intentionally created during mixing. PPs include pervious concrete, porous asphalt, and interlocking concrete pavers. These materials are used as stormwater treatment practices in urban areas. They are used in place of traditionally impervious surfaces to allow infiltration and storage, thus reducing runoff (see figure 1).
Sep 6, 2013 426-126 (BSE-84P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 8: Infiltration Practices
Infiltration practices provide temporary surface and/or subsurface storage, allowing infiltration of runoff into soils. In practice, an excavated trench is usually filled with gravel or stone media, where runoff is stored in pore spaces or voids between the stones (see figure 1). These systems can reduce significant quantities of stormwater by enhancing infiltration, as well as provide filtering and adsorption of pollutants within the stone media and soils. Infiltration practices are part of a group of stormwater treatment practices, also known as best management practices (BMPs)
Mar 2, 2012 426-127 (BSE-85P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 14: Wet Ponds
Wet ponds (WP) are ponds or lakes which provide treatment and storage of stormwater. The water depth is set by a structure known as an outlet structure. Wet ponds are probably the most well-known best management practice for treatment of stormwater. Because of their size, they are usually designed to include storage above the normal pool elevation. This added storage can provide reductions in downstream flooding and assist in protecting stream channels. They tend to be large; in some cases, they can become a passive community amenity (See Figure 1).
Sep 9, 2013 426-133 (BSE-79P)
Best Management Practice Fact Sheet 15: Extended Detention Ponds
Extended detention ponds (EDs) are dry detention ponds that provide 12 to 24 hours of runoff storage during peak runoff events (see figure 1). Releases from the ED ponds are controlled by an outlet structure. During a storm event, as the discharge restriction is reached, water backs up into the ED pond. The pool slows flow velocities and enables particulate pollutants to settle. Peak flows are also reduced. ED ponds have the lowest overall pollutant- removal rate of any stormwater treatment option, so they are often combined with other upstream, lowimpact development (LID) practices to better maximize pollutant-removal rates. Due to their placement at the exit point of the watershed, ED is often the last opportunity to treat stormwater before it is discharged to a stream. Because of its low treatment performance, an ED should be viewed as the treatment option of last resort.
Sep 9, 2013 426-134 (BSE-82P)
On-Site Sewage Treatment Alternatives Sep 21, 2015 448-407 (CSES-116P)
Virginia Tech – U.S. Forest Service September 2015 Housing Commentary Part A: Current Data
The housing market typically slows this time of year. Thus we should look at upcoming data on a long-term basis and not by monthly data reports. September's housing data was truly mixed based on a monthly basis – permits, new sales, and construction spending all declined. Starts, existing sales, completions, and spending increased. On a regional perspective, the data was similar.
Dec 11, 2015 ANR-170NP
ENERGY SERIES: What about Landscaping and Energy Efficiency?
Landscaping has always played an important role in modifying the home environment for thermal comfort. Throughout the history of civilization, housing has been designed to offer protection from the most severe conditions imaginable. Until the invention of mechanical cooling and heating systems, people relied heavily on their ability to modify their surroundings to deal with extreme climates.
Jul 7, 2014 BSE-145NP
Pesticide Applicator Manuals Nov 17, 2011 VTTP-2