One of the stated goals of the El Moore project is to reduce the building’s environmental impact by using only 25% of the average demand for energy of a building its size. To accomplish this goal, the development team identified five areas in which the most dramatic impact could be made in terms of energy consumption.
The first of these actions is ensuring that the building is super insulated. If you were to look inside the walls of the El Moore you would not find your average pink fiberglass insulation. Instead you would find a combination of a foam insulation that expands once sprayed from its container, as well as polyiso insulation which will go on top of the foam and is a better insulator than more traditional methods. Considering that 41.5% of energy consumed in the average household goes towards space heating, using not one but two forms of highly efficient insulation should significantly reduce the energy that is used in the El Moore for heating.
Another important goal for the El Moore is maintaining an infiltration rate of 0.25 air changes per hour for the entire building. Considering the infiltration rate for most homes ranges from .25 up to .75, maintaining the low end of this average for a multi-unit building is easier said than done. To meet this low average, a focus was put on the air infiltration through the edges of windows. In many cases windows are simply not installed and sealed to the extent that they should be. However, this is not the case at the El Moore.
The picture above depicts the multiple layers surrounding the windows at the El Moore that create an air and vapor barrier between the inside of the building and the outside. If you were to look in your own home, chances are your windows are not sealed like this. If your windows are not sealed in the proper way, you are not only sacrificing the air infiltration efficiency of your home, but are also missing out on an opportunity to save money on your home’s heating and cooling costs and energy consumption.
A related action that is also helping meet the goal for the El Moore’s reduction in energy consumption is the use of “low-e” windows, also know as low emissivity windows. These windows have special coatings that cut down on their thermal emissivity while simultaneously increasing their thermal reflectance. In very simple terms, the windows are made so that they reflect more of the sun’s thermal energy so that it does not transfer that energy to the inside of a building and raise the temperature.
Lastly, moving past the construction phase of the building, the developers plan on installing high efficiency appliances and fixtures in all of the units. This is a very easy and straightforward way to cut back on energy use. Also in all of the common spaces, energy will be used strictly on demand: with the use of motion detectors it is a simple way to save energy when it is not needed. Contrasted with other energy saving techniques used in the renovation of the El Moore building, these last two actions can most easily be applied into any home and help save anyone energy and money.