Quiz: Do you know how the Enertia Building System Works?

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Have you ever heard of a house that doesn't need a heating or cooling system? The Enertia Building System uses clever architectural designs to keep a home's temperature stable. Take our quiz to see how you might be able to apply these green building tips to your current or future home.

The Enertia Building System works by _________.

Some home buyers specifically seek out a home that will save money on their bills. The Enertia Building System uses a unique building design to maintain a stable inner temperature, thereby reducing energy use.

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What is an Enertia home mainly built from?

Enertia houses are built entirely of lumber, which is quite different from most modern homes. The wood, combined with the Enertia design, is the basis of how it works to save energy.

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Which type of timber contains a lot of resin and other important energy-related properties?

While other timbers can be used, the Enertia Building System commonly utilizes the fast-growing Southern yellow pine because it contains a high concentration of resin and other properties. This enables it to absorb and release energy slowly over many hours.

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What is a dynamic envelope?

Also known as the buffer zone, a dynamic envelope is the space entirely surrounding the inner part of the house. It contains a solar-powered convection current that carries hot and cold air around the home.

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Which of the following rooms would you usually place inside the buffer zone?

Besides promoting ventilation, the buffer zone serves as the secondary living space. Since the temperature of the buffer zone is not as stable as that of the inner part of the home, it is best used for purposes like laundry, recreation or exercise.

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The _______ side of an Enertia house has a large bank of windows to provide access for sunlight.

The windows over the southern side of the house allow solar energy to power a convection current, which sends warmth into the inner primary space during the winter. The area adjacent to the southern wall also contains grills in the floor to allow air to flow up from the basement to the attic.

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What is the part of the outer buffer zone that absorbs most of the solar energy called?

The sun heats up the air in the sun space, which rises and flows up to the attic, warming the wood as it passes. The heat transferred to the wood radiates into the inner living zone, keeping the temperature fluctuations fairly small throughout the day.

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What keeps the house warm overnight in the winter?

The timber in the buffer zone, usually Southern yellow pine, takes about eight to 12 hours to release the radiant heat it has stored from the daylight. As the air in the sun space cools, is sinks down toward the basement and then rises again as it's heated from the wood. This creates a closed-circuit convection current that warms the house overnight.

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As the weather gets warmer after spring, the windows of the _________ need to be opened to prepare for summer.

The summer mode of an Enertia house changes the closed-loop circuit to an open flow current of air through the buffer zone. Opening the windows in both the attic and on the northern side of the basement achieves this.

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How does the sunlight work to keep an Enertia house cool in summer?

Since the sun is higher in the sky during the summer, much of the heat is reflected off the roof, and the rest powers the convection cycle of the buffer zone through the windows in the roof. The sunlight heats the attic air, which then moves out through the ventilation in the rooftop. This process creates a vacuum that draws cool air in through the basement windows.

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When is the cooling effect of the outer buffer zone relatively ineffective at keeping the temperature comfortable?

In the nighttime when there is no sunlight to drive the convention current and draw the cooler air from the basement levels into the buffer zone, the rooms in the living space may become a little warmer than most people like. In this situation, ceiling fans may be used to keep the temperature more comfortable.

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Enertia homes function with the greatest efficiency in ________ climates.

Enertia homes tend to work most efficiently in areas where the climate is mild, such as the western parts of the U.S., where there is lots of sunshine and low humidity.

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What type of heat is used to heat the living space of an Enertia house?

The primary living space is heated through radiation as opposed to convection because people tend to feel warmer at lower temperatures if the air around them is not moving.

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Why might you still need to install a heating or cooling system in an Enertia house?

In a climate that has many cloudy days or is extremely humid, the built-in temperature control mechanisms of an Enertia house may not be sufficient. In these cases, a minimum heating or cooling system may not only be helpful, it might actually be a requirement of local building codes or a requirement to get a mortgage.

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If an air conditioner is required, what part of the design of an Enertia house ensures its efficient use?

The inner living space is a contained area, separated from the outer walls, which keeps the cool air where you need it. Solar panels may also be able to provide power to the air conditioner, depending on its size and the climate where the house is located. In this way, Enertia homes may even be upgraded to be completely free of a traditional electrical power source.

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