Historical Buildings Weatherization

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・Architecture ・MLA ・6 Sources

Weatherization is a easy way of improving comfort, energy efficiency, air high-quality as well as the durability of a building. It entails two simple measures, mainly, air sealing and insulation. Both methods are critical and assist in energy efficiency and pursue the tightness of the air which takes precedence. In the weatherization of buildings, some of the simple issues which are raised include the friendliness of the constructing constructions to the ecological needs or the loose houses which have inefficient heat and air circulation. The constructions of buildings contain local and renewable materials. Most of the buildings are constructed locally by tradesmen with a excessive degree of craftsmanship seen in most structures today. These buildings are built with thermal comfort containing porches, high ceiling, double hanging windows and other features. The homes and business districts are developed compactly with walkability being the main idea and allowed exercise with an increased opportunity for social interaction. Old buildings are leaky in terms of air tightness (Van Hoesen, John, and Letendre, 633). Most of the homes did not have air conditioning until the late mid-1950’s. moreover, most of the gaskets, sealants and smart air barriers were not installed either had they have been developed. It has taken a long time to come up with such a holistic whole building approach and it is also necessary to set up an area with energy efficient retrofits.

Looseness and tightness are quasi and technical terms which are used in most architectural systems and textbooks like “Mechanical and Electrical systems fitted in buildings”. One of the largest causes of loss of energy in the old buildings which still exist to date is infiltration (Southwell, Brian, and Murphy, 58). It increases the space for conditioning from 5 % up to 40 % as illustrated in the Residential buildings, Cost, and comfort for Existing buildings report. Sealing the air leaks in buildings is important so as to improve the existing buildings and create efficiency in their performance. Most buildings built today are characterized by airtightness, which is a major goal for the architects, building experts, and engineers.

The historic property owners have gained the value of their buildings due to weatherization. The basic weatherization of old buildings has helped them reduce the energy expense. Buildings require to breathe and hence need to have fresh air ventilation as a way of creating unintended air leakage. The science of modern buildings acknowledges that ventilation in modern buildings causes issues of quality and moisture among other issues (Kaufman, 84). Every building needs to come to standard with the heating, ventilation as well as the air conditioning system (HVAC). The gaps and leakages in the buildings help to enclose the interior and hence are critical.

Loose constructions allow fresh air into the building to be pulled while there are people within the building, especially in the kitchen. Since fire requires oxygen for combustion, there is a need to smoother the building and hence create too much carbon IV oxide in the cooking areas. The main disparity from the unintended air leakages in ventilation is that the amount of air getting into the building is not controlled (Hurley, 245). In case of cold or windy weather, too much air gets into the building. When it's warmer or in instances when there is less wind, there may not be enough air getting into the building. Thus, this results in poor indoor quality.

Indirect air leakage and how to address it.

The cracks which appear on the inner surface of walls give little insight into the indirect leakage of air which may get into the building either through the floor, roof or the exterior wall. When the wind blows against the building, it may cause opposing pressures on the exterior environment. Wind is driven past the siding into the wall and pace through the electrical connection onto the outer wall an around the sink drain. When turning on a bathroom vent or a cooktop fan, it will create more negative force inside into the surrounding into the outer air (Van Hoesen, John, and Letendre, 638). An HVAC system which is installed improperly can pull air in and out of the building with external pressures, hence affecting the lives of the people living in the building.

In the early days, very few homes had insulation or even the system to manage vapor and air. The building materials were made of materials with the high quality of harmful substances. This has however changed over time with the average homes being built with materials of lower quality, less renewable and may have some toxic substances. The systems for controlling air leakages is paramount to the advent of insulating the materials (Southwell, Brian, and Murphy, 62). The insulation covers the building as prevents any air circulation through the walls, roof, and floor. Air leakages carry moisture and can allow dew to reach the interior of the building if not properly managed. At the dew point, water condenses on the cooler surfaces, mainly the interior wall and hence causes moisture to form.

Infiltration reduction

Infiltration Reduction is implemented through weatherization measures for the household homes. The system cost of about $ 400 per household reduces the whole infiltration by 58 %. This means that there were fewer drafts and the quality of air was better with low utility bills. Some of the measures addressed in the weatherization systems include reduction of infiltration, ceiling an attic insulation, lighting retrofit and the hot water insulation. Moreover, the system seals the ducts, replaces the heating system, replaces the AC and solar screens, adds a new A/C disconnect and whip as well as install a smart thermostat. Most of the utility providers and the federal get incentive from the weatherization offers. The main advantage from the systems is accounted on the returns on investment for the homes (Kaufman, 115). Household benefits from air sealing and adding the attic insulation to improve the living conditions of the homes. When existing buildings are preserved, maintained and retrofitted, the additional costs are avoided as well as energy loss in relation to the demolition of existing structures. Moreover, all the new costs and their effects associated with the new construction of buildings today are reduced.

Energy audits

Energy audits should be carried out before the implementation of energy improvement measures. The audit of energy analyses the current thermal performance of the building. It also helps to identify any malfunctions in enveloping the building as well as the mechanical systems. The user behavior and the climate have a huge impact on the use of energy (Kaufman, 125). They should be taken into consideration before initiating the weatherization process and energy efficiency systems.

Developing a weatherization plan

It is important to develop a plan according to the specific details of the building, climate, site and the occupancy as an effective tool for reducing the consumption of energy. In order to widen your scope, there is no need to just build the cover of the building but also develop systems, appliances, and the lighting composition. It is important to draw a more comprehensive energy efficiency plan. All the work should be analyzed on the basis of its effect on the ancient buildings as well as the ability to develop energy efficiency strategies. After conducting an energy audit, there are several conservation measures which should be taken into consideration for historic buildings (Hurley, 239). They include eliminating the air infiltration, selecting efficient appliances, repairing the defective doors and windows as well as the selection of efficient heating, cooling, and electrical systems through programmable controls. Moreover, it is important to add shading devices (trees and awnings) as well as installing insulation in the attic, crawlspace and the basement on the pipes and ducts.

Eliminate air infiltration

Air infiltration involves the exchange of air through gaps and cracks in the outer shell of a building. It increases the heating and cooling costs as well as reduce the level of comfort for the occupants of the building. Loose fitting doors and windows, the foundation, cracks in the house as well as the gaps in the plumbing and electrical systems are the main types of leaks (Van Hoesen, John, and Letendre, 645). Reduction of air infiltration is mainly the first course of action of the weatherization plan after the completion of an energy audit. Caulking cracks, adding weatherstrips and sealing the unused fireplace are simple as well as cost-effective. They should be used in reducing the air infiltration caulking should be done with care since it ensures the functionality of a building and its performance are not impaired. It closes the gaps between the window frames for instance and the outer wall for instance and excludes the air to allow the sash to function (Doll, Davis, and Painting, 188). Typical places to ensure infiltration include baseboards, fireplace dampers, electrical outlets, switches and the ceiling features, chimney flashing and flues, door frames and windows where they meet with the wall as well as attic hatches.

Though it is recommendable to reduce air infiltration, it is not advisable to seal a historic building very tightly. It could result in inadequate ventilation or may affect the sick building syndrome in some instances. After infiltration, all the air movement is not eliminated through the system addresses this process. The air movement is not basically a sign of energy inefficiency but it may affect the comfort of the occupants (Southwell, Brian, and Murphy, 68). It may make them feel uncomfortable and assume that there is some energy being lost. In places with warm climates, the air movement makes the occupants feel cooler while in cooler climates, the occupants feel chilly. When the uncomfortable drafts are addressed with the air infiltration system, other factors should be considered for making the historic spaces more comfortable such as hanging drapery or rearranging the placement of furniture to prevent the movement of air.

Install insulation

The natural movement of air within a building, accessibility and the differential temperature between the heated and unheated spaces make the attic more cost-effective for insulation. The insulated basements or crawlspaces can improve both the efficiency and comfort of a building. Thus, the two locations are the initial places to start the installation process (Evangelisti, Claudia, and Paola, 10445). The basement and attics are mostly moist and these conditions can compromise the insulating factor of the material used for insulation. Good ventilation and moisture controls are critical in maintaining a thermal barrier between the spaces. The department of energy gives a more detailed breakdown of some of the factors to consider when installing the crawl spaces and the attics. Ducts and pipes may be the main points of loss of energy. Thus, it is important to introduce wrapping insulation on the heating and cooling ducts around hot water pipes in order to stop heat loss and enhance the efficiency of the systems. The insulation should be made according to the recommendations of manufacturers in order to acquire the best results.

Generally, the use of insulation technique in archaic buildings is not sensitive to treatment neither is it cost effective. Addition of blown in insulation to the historic wall traps humid air within the wall and leads to the accelerated and hidden performance of the building. Proper installation of the of the insulation wall entails the removal of historic finishing touches which can be ruined in the process (Evangelisti, Claudia, and Paola, 10448). If the walls are very weak to complete the process, they may be repaired so that the installation is properly installed with a vapor barrier. It is good to limit the insulation of the attics and the basement, which are installed with little damage to the historic building.

Choosing efficient electrical and HVAC systems with Programmable controls.

The mechanical systems play a big role in ensuring the usage of energy in a building. Efficient and proper working systems, together with programmable thermostats greatly reduce the consumption of energy with little impact on the fabric of the historic building (Doll, Davis, and Painting, 184). In case the building is a commercial building, it is important to have the mechanical systems and equipment installed a commissioned professional in order to ensure it is properly installed and functioning properly. The commissioning helps to identify any malfunction mechanical equipment and ensure it is operating at its best efficiency levels.

Commissioning is common for the large buildings and is used as a tool for the local household. Residential homes are commissioned through local utility organizations. Homeowners can use the basics of commissioning to take part in the own assessment of the heating and cooling of systems in the building (Evangelisti, Claudia, and Paola, 10462). They should ensure that the heating and cooling system is properly installed and that they work at their highest efficiency levels so as to reduce the energy consumption. Replacing the current equipment in an archaic building follows some considerations such as selecting a mechanical system which requires little intrusion into the fabric of the building (Southwell, Brian, and Murphy, 70). This can be altered or updated with no major penetration into the floor and the wall. It is also important to ensure that the installation of new equipment and ductwork will not alter the major features and finishes of the building. The ducts should be hidden in the wall and the floor systems in the spaces of the historical finishes. The complete visibility may however not be suitable for historic buildings since it will cause damage in the long run. In case the ducts are exposed, thoughtful placement and sizing can help to blend them as well as painting.

Works cited

Doll, S. C., E. L. Davison, and B. R. Painting. "Weatherization impacts and baseline indoor environmental quality in low-income single-family homes." Building and Environment 107 (2016): 181-190.

Evangelisti, Luca, Claudia Guattari, and Paola Gori. "Energy retrofit strategies for residential building envelopes: An Italian case study of an early-50s building." Sustainability 7.8 (2015): 10445-10460.

Hurley, Andrew. Beyond preservation: using public history to revitalize inner cities. Temple University Press, 2010.

Kaufman, Ned. Place, race, and story: essays on the past and future of historic preservation. Routledge, 2009.

Southwell, Brian G., and Joe Murphy. "Weatherization behavior and social context: the influences of factual knowledge and social interaction." Energy Research & Social Science 2 (2014): 59-65.

Van Hoesen, John, and Steven Letendre. "Characterizing the spatiotemporal evolution of building-stock age in Poultney, Vermont: a GIS-based approach to improve thermal efficiency in historical buildings." Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 40.4 (2013): 630-643.

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