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August 31, 2009

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Yes, if you supply heat and light to the buildings in the conventional way; no, if you use windows to get heat and light into them.

http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3116702

I loved this quote:

"Another problem is that the certification relies on energy models to predict how much energy a planned building will use, but council officials and many experts agree that such models are inexact."

I also noted the line about "such models are inexact". If a relatively controlled situation, such as a building, is routinely misestimated, how is a much less controlled situation (climate) modeled correctly?

RE Windows. I lived in San Diego for about 25 years. We seldom used the heat (and almost never over 65), and had no AC. We expanded our modest house by adding a family room. We wanted light, not gloom in the new room. Our contractor informed us that new codes required certain limits on our 'energy use,' which might limit the number and size of windows we put in. (Aside: SD has lots of ugly but large remodels with hardly any windows). So the contractor brought in Rocky, apparently the guys real name, as a consultant who had the right wording to get the skylight, the sliding glass door and all the rest of the windows in. Some of the trick was to have tiled floors over a slab foundation in an orientation that caught AM sun, although we also had double panes on all the new windows.

The absurdities are many including 1) We were not using much energy anyway and 2) The whole approval process was about a guy who could write the right stuff and know the right people.

I work in one of the first LEED certified green buildings in our state. We have huge banks of windows and auto-dimming lights. There's so much light and glare coming in the windows that the office management had to install sheer curtains. It still didn't cut down enough of the light coming in. I had to unscrew all the light bulbs in my office. It's barely tolerable now.

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