NTHBA Host Seminar on High Performance Homes



The North Texas Home Builders Association hosted a seminar on November 20, 2014 at The Good Times Party Barn compliments of NTHBA member Rick Belz.    The evening began with a remarkable catfish dinner sponsored by Atmos Energy.  The seminar was titled Introduction to High Performance Homes & 2015 Energy Codes.  Professionals from various fields spoke.


Bobby Teague, Wichita Falls Building & Code Administrator/Asst. Director spoke first and told the audience that before the city of Wichita Falls adopts the 2015 building codes they would be forming review committees that include mechanical, plumbing, energy and residential to go over the proposed changes.  These committees would then report to the city their opinion on the adoption of the codes.  Afterwards the city would decide whether to adopt the 2015 codes or not.  When the decision is made and if they choose to adopt it, which they most likely will, it would then be 30 days before the codes would go into effect.  Bobby mentioned it would be at least a 4 month, give or take process before the decision is made.


The second speaker was John Dicken with Cardinal Glass.  Since the seminar focus was on energy efficiency John spoke about Cardinal Glass’s newest product the LoĒ³-340 glass.  This glass is unprecedented in a double-pane unit – no room-darkening tint required. With its SHGC of just 0.18, it greatly reduces oppressive solar heat gain. And wherever glare is a problem, LoĒ³-340 controls that as well. Then when cold weather rolls around, its low U-Factor reduces indoor heat loss.  The result is year around comfort.


Kevin McClain, the next speaker, with Dow explained how their insulation and air-sealing solutions can help you build homes that are even more comfortable, durable and energy-efficient.  Kevin gave four Reasons why 2” x 4” framing with continuous STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation on the exterior outperforms 2” x 6” with Housewrap and batt:


  1. Thermal bridging: Leaving the studs uninsulated leaves an unbelievable 25% of the wall susceptible to heat loss and higher energy bills.
  2. Dew Point: STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation helps protect the wall cavity from moisture. Moisture in the wall cavity can lead to health and structural issues like mold and decay.
  3. Reduced Home Size: A home with 2”x 6” framing reduces the usable space by as much as 15 sq. ft. when compared to a home built with 2” x 4” framing.
  4. Building Science Supports Continuous Insulation: Leading building scientists choose foam insulation over housewrap and wood sheathing.

In conclusion Kevin said the overall benefits of Insulating and Air Sealing are:  Comfort, indoor air quality and energy savings.  Kevin mentioned that Dow is had partnered with Cobblestone Homes on a net zero home were as Vision Zero was born.  More information about Vision Zero can be found at http://www.invisionzerohome.com


Justin Jones with Absolute Insulation expanded on the blown insulation mentioned by Kevin McClain and explained how it serves as a complete envelope.  Therefore not allowing any air to seep in or escape from anywhere including around or through your studs.  This is the most energy efficient way to insulate a home.


Shane Fitzhenry with Ferguson- Veresh Energy explained the consumption within the residential sector currently represents a fifth of all energy consumption within the United States.   As the number of new homes continues to grow and energy costs continue to rise, the necessity of building more energy efficient homes will become a more pressing need.

Heating and Cooling accounts for nearly half of the energy consumption in a typical home so this represents an area where proper design and construction practices are imperative.  A proper load calculation according to ACCA’s Manual J procedure is the first step in the design process.  This calculation accounts for the factors that impact the heating and cooling load on the home including the homes location, size and shape of the house, materials of construction, envelope tightness and internal loads.

Once the load calculation is complete, the designer can then provide a number of different system options at a variety of efficiency and feature levels that are properly sized to meet the cooling and heating requirements of the house.   Advances in technology in many of the products and methods of building a modern high performance home, including HVAC equipment, afford the homeowner the ability to have a comfortable, energy efficient, home year round.


The final speaker for the evening was James Rodriquez with FOX Energy Specialist.  James spoke about the upcoming 2015 energy codes that may put requirements on builders to have every home built rated for energy efficiency with a rating of 50.  James mentioned it may be difficult but not impossible for area builders to reach the HERS Rating of 50.  Many builders have not ever had a home rated and are not familiar with energy ratings.   Most homes that have been rated have a 70 rating.  The implementation of these ratings will require educating the builders more intensely on how to obtain these ratings.


The seminar had a great turn out with over 100 in attendance to learn more about building High Performance Homes & the 2014 Energy Codes.


Thanks to all who helped make this seminar a success:  Atmos Energy – Sharon Tucker, Keith Walker, Randy West, Alan Themes, Gabby Aquilar, Shawn Conner, Tyler Eaton, Austin Allen, Kailey Walker, Matt Walker, Builders Wholesale & Owner of the Good Times Party Barn – Rick & Christine Belz, Absolute Insulation – Justin Jones, Ferguson- Veresh – Shane Fitzhenry, Cardinal Glass – John Dicken & Chris Campbell, Dow – Kevin McClain, FOX Energy Specialist – James Rodriquez, NTHBA President John Harmon and all of those who took time from their Thursday evening to attend.

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