Hi all we have been doing some energy modeling with the two story house I built in the fall.
We have modeled the house several different ways.
Code built house
R40 Ceiling, R20 Walls, no insulation in basement, double glazed low-e argon windows, R20 Rim joists, average (I consider below average) air sealing of 4.55 ACH.
Advanced Framing House (This is what we built)
R60 Ceiling, R40 double stud walls, R20 in basement, R10 below slab. Triple glazed Low-e, argon windows. air tight home construction 1 ACH or below.
Mechanical system changes.
from electric baseboard heat, (considered to be the least effective and energy efficient) to a geothermal heat pump system, with forced air heating. (considered to be the best of the best)
Basically in a cost vs effectiveness, making upgrades to your houses thermal envelope, was almost twice as effective as mechanical systems dollar per dollar.
Furthermore there is very low to no (maybe less) additional maintenance issues with a better preforming building envelope. There are always going to be maintenance, and repairs needed on mechanical systems.
Advanced framing techniques are actually going to save the client money. Immediately. Why is our current energy codes letting people build houses that are worse for the environment and cost the user more money. I believe we need to stop believing that technology is going to fix houses and our energy problem, and realize that a penny saved is a penny earned, in this case two penny's earned.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. when you start taking about passive house levels of insulation, and energy savings, this is what we are going to need to look to the future of energy efficiency. These advanced framing techniques I believe should be commonplace. They are going to save Everybody money and reduce our CO2 emissions.
Below I have attached a chart outlining the different changes, and have related them to the cost of ownership.
Thanks to the hard work of Garth Hood of Thoughtful Dwellings http://twitter.com/#!/ThtfulDwellings who did the energy modeling for us. Garth is a NBHBA Energy Advisor and a strong advocate for green/energy efficient building methods, also pushing hard for Passive House.