Post Content

Dan Hubbell Photo

Daniel Hubbell

Marketing & outreach intern, Department of Energy Resources (DOER)

View Dan's Bio

Every now and again I hear a homeowner utter the phrase “A man’s home is his castle.” In some ways it’s a comforting thought. Coming home after a long hard day at work is a cathartic experience. Closing the door is like raising a proverbial drawbridge; all the world's problems are locked outside. I suspect, though, that many homeowners wish their windows and walls didn’t also draw comparisons to the drafty stone castles of yore. Especially in older buildings of all kinds, energy and heat can leak like a sieve. It’s something that should worry anyone concerned with their home energy bills or greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, what if it was possible to get ten times the insulation that most old buildings have, without even changing the building facade? 

Vacuum_insulation_for_web
Installing vacuum insulation

Meet vacuum sealed insulation. Per square inch, it provides just that: ten times the insulation of conventional products. It was one of the ideas on display at the "Das Haus" Pavilion, which was open to the public last week in Cambridge. Sponsored by the German American Midwest Chamber of Commerce, the travelling pavilion shows off innovations based on the German "Passivhaus" model for building construction that are just entering the United States. Started by two professors in Darmstadt, Germany back in the ‘80’s, the movement has had a lot of time to incubate, and the results were on display in a pavilion tucked away in an MIT parking lot in Cambridge last month. 

 

 In addition to the vacuum packaging, other features like triple paned windows, LED lighting, energy smart appliances, and solar electric (photovoltaic or “PV”) cells were all on display in and on the structure, which also boasts an excellent ventilation system to keep rooms from feeling too stuffy. While any one upgrade would probably stand out as a good investment, put together the technologies help create a building that consumes 90 percent less energy. With buildings consuming 54 percent of energy in Massachusetts, that could create huge energy and greenhouse gas emissions savings.

Passivhaus
Heat leaking from a Passivhaus on the right and a conventional one on the left

Amidst a crowd of Massachusetts businesspeople, curious legislators, and the occasional homeowner, "Das Haus" showed off the potential value of these new technologies to U.S. markets. For anyone keen on new construction or a retrofit of existing properties, don't hesitate to check out the “Das Haus” website.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Celebrating Earth Month with State Facilities posted on May 26

Celebrating Earth Month with State Facilities

It has been a very busy spring at state facilities across the Bay State in recognition of Earth Day. This is a collection of many of the energy and environmental-themed events across state government and public higher-education that occurred around Earth Day 2017: At Massasoit   …Continue Reading Celebrating Earth Month with State Facilities

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $450,000 for Woodstove Rebate Program posted on Apr 28

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $450,000 for Woodstove Rebate Program

WORCESTER – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $450,000 in funding for the 2017 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program, which provides rebates to homeowners who replace older, inefficient woodstoves with cleaner, EPA-certified wood and pellet stove models that use less fuel and reduce energy costs. The announcement   …Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Announces $450,000 for Woodstove Rebate Program

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Programs posted on Apr 25

Programs Follow Release of Inter-Secretariat Working Group Report BOSTON – April 20, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a suite of six new programs aimed at increasing affordable access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs. The programs build upon the efforts of the   …Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Announces Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Programs