Michigan subdivision will measure energy use
Dow Building Solutions, in collaboration with Cobblestone Homes, announced the completion of a 12-home energy efficiency test community in Midland, Mich. It is the nation’s first subdivision designed to generate scientific, whole-house performance data while providing all of the typical comforts of home to its occupants. The new homes will generate comparative data on home energy efficiency based on whole-house insulation, air-sealing systems and real-world living conditions.
Dow hosted roundtable discussions with key builders from various major housing markets to discuss the experimental design and desired outputs. This collaborative design approach helped to ensure that the data collected will provide answers to the most relevant industry questions, such as how to balance an enhanced building envelope with affordability.
“In addition to providing high-quality rental housing for area residents, this neighborhood development will give us new insight into building science and energy efficiency through both quantitative and qualitative data,” said Dale Winger, market manager, Dow Building Solutions.
Each test home features state-of-the-art instrumentation for collecting and compiling quantitative data on energy consumption, humidity and moisture levels, heat flow and temperature. In addition, residents will be asked to complete two surveys per year to gather qualitative data about individual comfort and level of satisfaction with the home’s living environment.
“We are excited to partner with Dow on this project to fill a critical information gap in real-world, whole-house data as it pertains to energy efficiency,” said Mark Wahl, co-owner of Cobblestone Homes. “There is a shortage of whole-house data for high-performance builders to refer to when evaluating new products and systems. By bolstering a home’s performance with proven systems, we can help lower the ongoing cost of homeownership and ultimately help raise the value of real estate.”
The 12 test homes are comparable in size, floor plan and all other key features with the exception of the insulating and air sealing systems. Four different systems are in place, each featuring a different combination of Dow insulation and air sealing improvements, including continuous insulation and closed-cell spray foam insulation, among other technologies. Each home meets current building codes or goes beyond code.
All homes will be ready for occupancy by the end of October, and data collection will commence thereafter.
2011 PDIS to examine census and opportunity
A senior economist for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and a well-known lumber industry consultant will team up and offer insights into the 2010 census.
The educational session is one of the highlights on the agenda for the 2011 ProDealer Industry Summit, an event hosted jointly by the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and Home Channel News Oct. 26 to 28 in San Antonio.
Led by David Vandenbroucke, senior economist for HUD, and Greg Brooks, president of BSCi, the Oct. 27 session promises an exclusive review of the second edition of the NLBMDA SCOPE report. The session will strive to show building material channel trends, from the point of view of customers.
The 2011 ProDealer Industry Summit will also feature special events, including: the NLBMDA Officers Installation Dinner, the HCN ProDealer of the Year Awards dinner and a yard tour of the 2009 Pro Dealer of the Year, McCoy’s Building Supply.
Construction spending grows in several sectors
Builders and developers spent $799.1 billion on construction projects in August 2011, a 1.4% rise from July’s estimated rate, according to numbers released by the U.S. Commerce Department. Spending on private construction was approximately $511.0 billion, 0.4% above the previous month. Residential construction was estimated at $237.8 billion in August, 0.7% above July’s figure. Nonresidential construction, such as offices, restaurants and hotels, was $273.1 billion in August, 0.2% above the previous month’s spending rate.
In public construction, where the increases were more dramatic, August saw a jump of 3.1% to $288.2 billion compared with July. Educational construction was estimated at $72.7 billion, 4.3% above the previous month. Highway construction was at $80.2 billion, 3.5% higher that July’s estimated spending.