Last month Dan did some surgery on Norm’s reclaimed woodstove he got from his in-laws beach cabin, giving it a secondary combustion manifold using outside air.
The idea is to make it burn the gasses released by the wood that conventional stoves waste.
Dan says, “We put in an air supply line piped from the outside to feed the fire so the fire isn’t pulling the warm air from the house’s envelope which helps retain warmth.”
“That air supply then feeds into a manifold overtop of the fire. Dozens of little holes were drilled into a steel tubing manifold I built to spread air out through the stove. A smaller air supply splits off from the manifold at the bottom of the stove, runs across the bottom and to the front of the stove to assist with convection and combustion. Norm will then lines the walls of the stove with firebricks.”
What’s the point of doing all this??
So this fire could burn hotter and more efficiently! 🔥
Norm reports back post-retrofit saying that “the wood stove system is working perfectly! It probably cleans the smoke up to maybe 50 percent, and burns the gasses out of the emissions as well as increasing efficiency of the burn within the burn chamber – increasing the efficiency from about 80 percent to 95 percent!”
( SO cool! )
Norm continued to say, “You can tell it is a clean burn because the glass stays clean and you have a really cool fire. The actual flame in the stove comes not just from the bottom, but it shoots down from the top – making it a really cool flame from both directions, but it’s not overly hot!”
📸 Thanks Norm & Dan for sharing your “sustainability” weekend adventures and photos of your project! 😀
Impact of Eco-Conscious Living Series: Energy Efficiency
Written by: Nicole Miller
There are many ways to achieve energy efficiency in a home, from using energy efficient products like Energy Star appliances or energy efficient windows, to designing your home with passive heating and cooling in mind.
While energy efficiency can mean lower utility bills, the results also have a great impact on the environment. Unless you are using solely renewable energy to run your house, the energy you use will be produced mostly from coal and natural gas in the majority of the USA.
In Washington state, while energy is mainly generated from hydro-electric, ~15% is still produced using fossil fuels.3 Energy derived from these fossil fuels produce greenhouse gases as well other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter.2 According to the EPA, 31% of the total CO2 emitted by the USA in 2019 came from fossil fuel combustion for energy production and accounted for 24% of the total greenhouse gas emission in the USA.1
Greenhouse gases are the main contributor to climate change, as they trap heat in our atmosphere and raise global temperatures. Climate change is not to be disregarded as it is already having major implications across the globe and will continue to have even more extreme impacts to come if we don’t stop it. If you want to learn more about climate change and its effects, visit https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/science/key-findings#physical-science.
While we know that fossil fuel use is an obvious bad choice, Hydroelectric, while considered a renewable and generally “eco-friendly” energy option, is not as environmentally friendly as we like to think as well.
While there are plenty of debates within the environmental community on what the “best” renewable energy production method is, the facts are that none of them are perfect and all of them produce some kind of pollution or harmful effects. Looking at hydroelectric as an example, the renewable energy requires a massive amount of concrete to make the dams, while concrete is known to be a huge greenhouse gas emitter. Dams also have disastrous effects on the health of the rivers and the surrounding ecosystem, including our salmon populations which are a keystone species. Not to mention the people that get displaced due to the reservoir that’s created. Then when a dam breaks, it causes even more damage downstream as it tears apart the ecosystem and towns that has grown in the absence of the natural river.
All of this is to say, that in order to lessen our impacts on the environment, we have to lessen our energy consumption and choose which energy source we use wisely. In the instance of TC Legend Home’s net zero homes that utilize solar energy, with less overall energy usage, less solar panels will be needed on your array, saving precious materials needed to produce the panels themselves.
This will lessen your house’s overall energy carbon footprint. On the other hand, if you are producing more energy than your house consumes, then the excess electricity produced will transfer onto the grid for others to use, thereby reducing the amount of fossil fuels used by someone else. Of course, the local energy company may also reimburse you for this addition as well.
At TC Legend Homes, in order to build highly energy efficient homes, we take a few different approaches.
Firstly, in the design of the home drafted up by our design company, Powerhouse Designs, we place the mechanical room in a central location and plan ahead to add extra space for the HRV air ducting that traditional HVAC systems don’t need.
TC Legend’s houses are designed to allow for passive solar heating in the winter and solar shade in the summer, cutting down on the need for the heating/cooling system. Instead of a traditional leaky envelope, TC utilizes high efficiency windows, SIPs and ICFs paired with aerobarrier aerosol sealant to create a super tight envelope, keeping the heated and cooled air in.
For heating, cooling and domestic hot water, TC opts for high efficiency heatpumps such as those from the Chiltrix line. For ventilation the Fantech Hero HRV is the choice as it’s also incredibly efficient. In the selection phase, TC requires appliances be Energy Star rated and lighting be LED. All of this in combination allows us to build exceptionally energy efficient, Energy Star certified homes, cutting back on the home’s energy carbon footprint.
Want to learn more about our energy efficient designs and net-zero energy formula? Check out our Plans For Sale website to see available plans for purchase!
1“Overview of Greenhouse Gases.” United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA.gov, https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases. 2/14/22.
2“What is Energy Efficiency?.” Energy Star, https://www.energystar.gov/about/about_energy_efficiency. 2/14/22
3“Profile Analysis.” U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), EIA.com, https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=WA.