Georgia Northwestern Technical College, www.gntc.edu, Rome, Ga., has begun using Onset HOBO UX100 temperature/relative humidity data loggers from Onset, www.onsetcomp.com, Bourne, Mass., in a green construction project designed to train students in energy auditing, combustion testing, and retrofitting existing homes to make them more energy efficient.
The project, which is part of Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Residential Energy Efficiency Technology program, involved the construction of two test houses—one built using typical construction techniques used throughout the past few decades, and the other built under new green and energy-efficient specifications using new materials and techniques with EarthCraft House ratings. The construction portion of the project was completed in late 2014.
The HOBO UX100 data loggers, which feature an LCD display and large memory capacity, were deployed in crawl spaces and attics of both houses to measure and record temperature and relative humidity around the clock over the next year. Data from the loggers will be analyzed and used to prove energy-efficiency gains realized with new green building and energy-efficient construction techniques.
“The data loggers are collecting data every six hours in the two test houses,” explains Donny Holmes, program director and instructor of construction management, Georgia Northwestern Technical College. “One of the houses is built similar to the majority of houses in the U.S. The other house is an EarthCraft House and was built under new green building and energy-efficiency standards.”
Developed in 1999 by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Assn., and Southface, EarthCraft, www.earthcraft.org, Atlanta, Ga., is the Southeast’s standard for green building. EarthCraft’s certification program promotes energy-efficient, healthy, comfortable, and durable homes, workplaces, and communities.
“The data loggers,” continues Holmes, “will be able to visually provide proof to many contractors, building inspectors, homeowners, etc., that building with energy efficiency in mind is really the most beneficial way to build.”
According to Holmes, the crawl space in the EarthCraft house is totally sealed with a 26-mil vapor barrier, and the walls are insulated, with no ventilation except for a dehumidifier. The other is a vented crawl with minimal vapor barrier, where humidity levels will likely be very high compared to levels in the EarthCraft House.
“These data loggers will be a huge part of this ongoing project,” concludes Holmes. “They will provide the needed data that we can share with many others to prove energy efficiency and that building this way is just smart.”
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