Saturday, January 23, 2010

Russian Stove - The Most Efficient Wood Burner

The so-called “Russian stove” , a masonry heater was one of the main features of the Russian home. Throughout many centuries Russian stoves were used both for cooking meals, baking bread and pies, drying grains, mushrooms, and roots and for heating and drying the house in winter and autumn. If the stove had no chimney, which was often the case, the smoke from the straw or manure that was burned as fuel would fill the interior of the room. Houses did exist with chimneys, the interiors of which were much cleaner and healthier for the inhabitants.The Russian stove often turned into a folk personage, which can be found, in particular, in folk tales. Many good guys of Russian wonder tales are fond of sitting or lying on the stove.

Many years later the Russian stove is still very popular and it is considered as the most efficient and environment-friendly wood burner. It can be made by stone, brick, stucco or tile-clad units and is designed to burn the wood quickly at temperatures up to 2000F.
Masonry heaters can burn from 15 lb. to 90 lb. of wood in an hour and a half, which could be all that's needed for a day's worth of heat. The heat from the fire works its way through a series of internal channels that help to transfer the heat to the masonry. The stove slowly generates heat into the living space over a long period of time - as long as 24 hours. During the coldest days of winter could require only two fires and typically burns at around 95% efficiency. With a masonry heater, you can expect to heat a well-designed 3000-sq-ft home with as little as five cords of wood for the entire heating season. Masonry heaters are focal point of the room and bring warmth and beauty during the long, cold days.

Eco-Resort Turns White Slopes Green

Imagine being in a resort that resembles a snow covered mountain with a giant, 400 foot build-in ski slope at the side of the structure and in addition, it is powered by the wind and the sun. Impressive, cool design where the customers will be taken to a special journey. I have always admired the hospitality design, especially when the imagination creates special and unique spaces that wow the customers. Designed by Michael Jantzen, a well-known designer and artist, this 95-room hotel eco-hotel delivers sustainable luxury in style and incorporates all of our favorite green features. The entire hotel is build from the most appropriate and sustainable products. Large south facing insulated windows help to heat a large thermal mass in the floor of the lobby, providing passive solar heating, along with deeply buried earth pipes. The ski slope is designed to collect summer rainwater, and winter melting snow, as it is channeled into large containers buried at the base of the slope. There are many other unusual amenities, like a special eco-spa and eco-gym with electricity generating equipment. Michael Jantzen hopes that the design will “once again demonstrate how even the most luxurious places on earth can, and should be, built in an earth friendly way.” He also wants his " work to inspire people to think differently about everything and inspire future generations to design solutions to global problems without the constraints of conventional thinking." The eco-resort is a great example of his innovative thinking.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Free Energy Audit

Are you concerned with how much energy your home uses? Do you need an evaluation of what measures you can take to improve efficiency?

Mass Save offers a Free Energy Audit for NSTAR and National Grid customers.

Contact Mass Save at 866-527-7283 to schedule your home assessment for no-cost.
Mass Save is a Residential Conservation Service Program funded by gas and electric ratepayers.

A home energy audit is the first step in making your home more efficient and green. I my opinion it is a worthwhile investment, since it finds the sources of energy loss so you can correct the problem. A professional auditor evaluates your house or apartment using a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of a structure. Thorough audits often use equipment such as blower doors, which measure the extent of leaks in the building envelope, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation.

Are You Ready to Go Green? Make the first step...

Friday, January 8, 2010


Sunrooms may add natural light and space to your home. They can be a pleasant interface with gardens and landscape, and also a part of a passive solar strategy. A sunroom glazed area can be used as an element of passive solar heating, in colder climates. Sunrooms may reduce the heat loss and increase the heat gains of a building, and also release valuable heat at night. Sunrooms - including conservatories, solariums, patio rooms and enclosures - are typical extensions for cold climates. Since sunrooms are highly glazed structures, the type of glaze is extremely important to control temperatures. Sunrooms located on the south side of the house will get more sun and more heat. It is possible to locate the sunroom on east or west, as long it has a south-facing facade.Non-glazed sunroom walls should include high-density exterior grade foam and a vapor barrier. Sunroom walls should be insulated to at least R-20. That's crucial to obtain balanced temperatures in the rest of the building.
Source: House-Energy

Green living takes root in Sweden

Sustainability is the motto of the Western Harbour (Vaestra Hamnen) project in the southern city of Malmo, Sweden.There are futuristic buildings sporting massive glass windows and glinting solar panels. But turn a corner and you find a green courtyard with a little pond and some modest timber structures that remind you of Swedish villages. A former shipyard and industrial site is being turned into a green residential area based on 100% use of renewable energy. A nearby 2MW wind turbine provides much of the electricity for Bo01, the rest coming from solar panels. Solar collectors on 10 of the buildings provide 15% of the heating, but a more important source is a heat pump connected to aquifers 90m (297ft) underground.The water in the limestone bedrock is used to provide heat in winter and cooling in summer.
green solutions:
  • Wind, solar power and underground aquifers
  • Developers comply with green space factor and green points
  • Water features enhance biodiversity and quality of life
  • On-site recycling facilities - rubbish is separated
Source: BBC News/ Europe

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Passive House

What is the Passive House? The Passive House concept represents today's highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the heating energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90% To attain such a outstanding results, Passive House should be designed and built following the next seven principles:
  • Superinsulate
  • Eliminate thermal bridges
  • Make it airtight
  • Specify energy or heat recovery ventilation
  • Specify high-performance windows and doors
  • Optimize passive-solar and internal gains
  • Model energy gains and loses using the PHPP
Source: Passive House Institute US