The following is information for energy efficient design of the proposed new Library and proposed new, added, police facility. All of this information has previously been provided to those design committees, and as of 2-17-’07 none of them has responded in any way, thus it is time to reveal all to the public and see if they want energy efficient facilities, or prefer to spend mega bucks in the future for heat and cooling. Note that in the past years the previous bad proposals for a new Library and new Police facility were overwhelmingly voted down due to the grossly energy inefficient designs (designs of the dark ages).
Gilford voters, please contact those 2 committees and get their current design data, before you vote to support a total unknown. Most of us want a greatly improved Police facility, and an expanded Library, but we DON’T want an energy & maintenance disaster, such as the current town hall.
Summer cooling in NH might not seem to be a big problem, but when totally wrong expensive design leads to triple cost of cooling, and construction, it is a MAJOR problem. "Conventional and often wrong" methods triple the construction costs PLUS the outrageous cost of equipment, and is subject to all energy cost increases! Maybe worse, since occupants often don’t accept designed "cooling", they demand the silly idea of openable windows to counteract good ventilation and cooling design. Observe large, multi story buildings: all fixed windows, and most spaces with no windows! In a Police Station, windows are a liability! Windows should all be placed HIGH so no one outside can view in. The only purpose of windows should be for minimum light to find the light switch in a room! As such they can be non opening, 10 layers, and not be a severe heat loss liability.
In NH cooling can be totally free: The ground is always COLD (which is the MAJOR problem with the badly designed Gilford Town Hall, the Gilford Community Church lower level, and major police station problem). The existing police station suffers from cold ground contact at floor and back wall, which leads to condensation, wet and cold rooms. We should never suggest another building with the same bad problems (as the previous police facility committee did)!
make use of the cold ground: Raise the bottom floor off the ground, ie, a standard old crawl space, so floor can be easily insulated, and use the area below as plenum to cool and dehumidify air in summer. Simple calculations show that the cooling effect of air to ground contact in NH will greatly exceed all the cooling needs of a 4 story building. By doing this you avoid all costs of "air conditioners and between floor ducting (extremely expensive)". (Any good engineer can do those calculations: if he can’t, fire him as a total failure!)
Based on the previous FPC study, the cost of using mechanical air conditioning is not only outrageous, but requires increasing the wall heights 2 foot per level just for ducting. The resulting increased cost of siding, wall studs, and heat loss, greatly exceeds the small cost of building with double 2x4 stud walls spaced 24" or more, for insulation like the famous NH Ice houses (insulated with sawdust). With modern Fiberglass insulation in that space we can double the insulation of those old good ice houses. Is that enough? NO! Back in 1950 when oil for heating cost $.10/gallon, they thought 2x4 walls with fiberglass insulation was enough. Now heating oil costs $2.80/ gal which is soon to rise. Walls with 2x4 studs are 3.5" thick. To match heating cost of 1950 we need walls (2.80/.10) X 3.5" thick, = 98 inches thick!!! That is 8+ ft thick!!! Clearly that is more than we ever before considered, but, also, gasoline at $2.26/gal is much more than we ever considered. (Gas was $.14 when I graduated from college in 1955).
My 2005 and 2006 proposals were that we build with double 2x4 walls spaced for 24" thickness. The above indicates that I was much too low, by a factor of 4, and proposal for a building with 2x6 stud walls was off by a factor of 18!
Clearly, any new proposal must consider energy costs. Start with cooling & ventilation costs. Simply building with a "crawl space" 3' or more high, can result in base level floor 20 times warmer. In summer, filtered air blown thru that crawl space can provide all the cooling and ventilation ever needed, at cost only to blow the air. I invite ALL of you to visit the police station, or the Gilford Community Church, to feel how extremely cold their bottom floor is.
In 1958 I converted the crawl space under our house in Los Angeles to a heating and cooling plenum chamber. That provided all the cooling we ever needed in that house, simply by running the heating fan in summer. In the process I learned that many tract homes were being built that way in the mid west. Now, 49 years later, the builders and architects act as if even a crawl space is an untried, unknown feature, much less using it for cooling! Where are the modern "minds" going, ignoring what was well known in the past? At 74 am I merely a relic of the past? Surely the "new" engineers can do nearly as good as we did in the past! At the minimum, we MUST reject all town proposals for buildings which can’t at least be as efficient as the house I built (on an extremely tight budget) 32 years ago.
Walls must be very thick to contain required insulation. Again, look at the past successes: The old ice houses were built with two walls spaced 2 to 3 feet apart, with the space filled with sawdust, a good bulk insulator. Churches, such as the Gilford Community Church, were built with about 2' wide spaced double walls for insulation and soundproofing. The biggest opposition I’ve heard to very thick walls was the appearance of windows, yet I’ve never heard of any objection to appearance of the windows in churches, and no one who has visited us has even noticed the small effect our15" thick walls have on windows! Last year my suggestion for 16" or 24" thick walls was too little! Now the needed 98" thick walls also indicates that we MUST look at other heat loss areas as well.
In many homes & buildings, air leaks around windows, doors, and sometimes even through walls, are a big cause of heat loss. I built my house here in 1975, using Ambassador Homes to prefab panels for floors, walls, and roof. That reduced costs to 1/3 expected, and speeded erection to 11 days instead of expected 3 months. There were fit problems, which I guessed were minor. But the next winter, when I compared heat we were putting into it against calculations, and found loss was 3 times expected, I assumed there must be a gap between roof and wall, letting hot air escape. My long detailed calculations showed the gap had to be, 1/2", which was unbelievable. But the next summer, when the final siding reached the roof, we found the gap varied from 1/4" to 7/8", (which we caulked tight!) Today we find in all good construction the walls are protected from air intrusion on outside with Remay or Tyvek and on inside with at least 6mil. Polyethylene vaporbarrier, and all joints at top & bottom of walls well caulked.
Even most doors and windows are now made with excellent air seals. BUT, where they insist on openable windows, cost limits them to no more than 2 or 3 layers of glass, at best the insulation of a wall 1" thick, .01 times as much as needed. Add a "storm" window and you get the effect of another 1/2", and then can’t open it. In the homes of the rich, who care not about heating costs, they use many large fixed "picture" windows, rarely more than 1 or 2 glass layers. In my home, with 300 sq ft of "picture" windows, for great views of the lake & mountains, it would seem extravagant, except that all of them are 8 layers thick (2 glass and 6 Mylar layers), an insulation better than 2x6 fiberglass filled stud wall. Depending on how you get it, glass can cost from $.50 to $3 per sq ft. (We got it for $.50). The Mylar film cost us $.02 per sq ft, and I have enough in stock to offer it FREE for added insulation in all windows of new Library and extended Police Facility.
In homes we place windows for the view, and also daytime light. In a Police Facility, employees are too busy to be distracted by outside views: like in the Church, windows must be placed high so no one can be distracted by something outside. The same applies to a Library, where the only reason to be there is to find and/or read books or research matter. Since most adults often find they can only go to the Library when it is dark, there must be enough electric light INSIDE for them THEN. The cost of adequate flourescent lighting for 24 hours a day is far less than cost of heat loss through usual windows. Observe our current very nice Library, with many windows covered by stacks of books: I’m sure no one would demand that the books be removed so they can see out the window!! The heating and ventilation system in that nice Library is seriously flawed, which should instruct designers of a replacement to avoid all the problems, not duplicate them! As we often joked at Hughes Aircraft Co., about new projects "we are not going to repeat any old mistakes: we’ll just make all new ones!" Well, the 1st part should be our objective, and the 2nd part be avoided.
In extended Police facility, it is essential that all windows (if any) must have lowest part no lower that 6'2", must be at least 8 layers of glazing with at least 6 being at least 1 mil Mylar (making it impossible to break through), and outside trim may not form a sill wider than 1", for safety. Windows are only to provide a bit of light for finding the light switch (not needed if light switches are marked with small night light or better.)
In the new Library, all windows must have lowest part no lower than 6', so no outside distractions can degrade the reason for being there. Lighting must be adequate (but not excessive as many contractors try to force on you to raise their profits), for easy reading at any time: early morning, overcast days, dusk, and at night. Windows must all be fixed, not openable, so that the designed ventilation system will not be defeated by capricious acts of occupants. All windows must be insulated to no less than R 18 value. All entry/exit doors must be triple: an entry foyer between two doors, the inner of which must have a backup insulating door. All entry doors must have a small window in them, adequate to allow a person 3' tall to see another person on the other side.
The previous silly "architects" for police facility wanted you to waste mega $$ on outrageously priced foam insulation and steel stud construction. All known foam insulations cost 6 to 10 times fiberglass for same insulation, and are of value ONLY when there is a severe space restriction. Steel studs increase cost over 2 times, and are dangerous in a fire, since they collapse at temperatures far below what wood structures survive (look at the 9-11 twin towers collapse due to steel folding at temperatures wood would take!). Stick with proven fireproof fiberglass, at lowest cost per insulation value!
I have detailed drawings of all recommendations here. I will make copies of any of them for anyone, as I have previously done for the Library and Police facility committee, or, anyone can visit me (make an appointment) to go over them in detail. I will try to get copies put in this document soon.
Jack Stephenson Retired Senior Staff Engineer (Hughes Aircraft Co.)
22 Hook Rd., Gilford, NH 03249 293-8526 John@warmlite.net