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This time of year, I tend to feel a combination of melancholy and excitement. With the Autumnal Equinox just a couple days away I'm mourning the loss of daylight, yet the frosty winter mornings promise backcountry powder and locals are antsy for the first snow. Up here at 6200’ it’s already getting down to the mid-30’s by 7AM, and my six-year-old has been planting himself on the floor by a heater to eat his cereal. He begs for us to turn on the heat; what joy to have hot air warming your back, and be feeling so cozy! 

Jackson Hole saw a solid stretch of hot sun-scorching days for about six straight weeks this summer. Opening up windows overnight would cool our downstairs to about 63º by morning, but we were comfortable even in shorts and t-shirts—the house retained radiant warmth from yesterday’s sun in the drywall, wood floors and furnishings. And now (even though it’s technically still summer) I need to bundle when it’s 63º in the morning. There's more to thermal comfort than simply adjusting the thermostat.

In our household we enjoy working with rather than fighting against nature, adapting our clothing and routines throughout the day and seasons. For me, the contrast and unpredictability is part of what makes life so enjoyable... Thermal Delight, as Lisa Heschong coined in her book almost forty years ago*. With this issue we invite you to savor the changing seasons and rethink the modern notion that we should aspire to provide uniform temperatures in every space throughout a building, every day of the year. Also get to know our newest hire, and learn which home energy monitoring tool is the best fit for you!
Katy Hollbacher
Principal & Founder, Beyond Efficiency

* Heschong, Lisa. Thermal Delight in Architecture. The MIT Press, 1979.
A team and family photo from our spring party at the Channing Way office last spring 

What are ways you keep cool in hot weather?

The Beyond Efficiency team reveals...
Jennifer Love, Sustainability Engineer 
Windows open wide all night long to capture that great bay breeze Berkeley gets when the sun sets. Then close up the windows and the shades in the morning and coast through the day. If all else fails, the kids are always willing to have a squirt gun battle.
Mrigesh Roy, Energy Engineer 
Drink lot of fluids. Eat more water-based fruits and vegetables like watermelon, peaches, and cucumbers. Keep my windows open at night to let the cool breezes reduce the internal room temperature.
José Rivero, Sustainability Engineer 
I carry out a basic night flush in the evenings using my 200CFM range hood and bedroom windows cracked open on the opposite side of our home.
Katy Hollbacher, Principal
I dress lightly and bring layers to prepare for the inevitable bone-chilling fog that rolls in when in California, or temps that plunge with the setting sun in Wyoming, or annoying buildings (or faulty HVAC systems) that cool to 68º when it's 80º outside. I hate nothing more than to be enjoying a perfect summer day only to be plunged into the icebox of an overly air conditioned space! Buildings should use setpoints no lower than 74º in cooling season along with appropriate control of direct solar radiant heat gain (e.g., roll-down shades).
Dan Johnson, Sustainability Architect 
I try new things every summer. I want to try wearing an ice vest over my clothes while I bike between local meetings in town, so I can arrive neatly dressed in business casual without being sweaty. At home in the East Bay, we don't have air conditioning, and I can't open windows at night because of urban noise, pollution, and security; however, I'm looking into a large fan with a filter that would blow outside air through the forced air ducts into every room. This way we would get the cooling "breeze" all night long with the windows closed. This would also give us plenty of fresh air while we're sleeping.
Katie Dahlgren, Sustainability Engineer 
After the long Jackson winters the summer heat is something I usually seek out rather then shy away from. But when it gets to be too much I love taking a dip in a lake or river! They are pretty cold here, but so refreshing, and help keep me cool for the rest of the day. At home we open windows as soon as it starts cooling down and enjoy the fresh mountain air, then pull down the blinds when leaving for the day. When out and about I try to walk on the shady side of the street and snag a shaded spot for lunch.
Betsy Aaron, Operations (formerly)
When I was a kid, we had a whole-house attic fan in our house that worked wonders keeping our family comfortable in the evening. It pulled in the evening air as it cooled, and we loved the flow of fresh air throughout the house. By morning, we needed blankets to stay warm, even during the hottest times. It's on a wishlist for my current home.

New staff profile: Katie Dahlgren

Sustainability Engineer in Jackson Hole

by Katy Hollbacher
We're so excited to welcome Katie to our team. With a civil engineering degree, extensive construction management experience and active community involvement with sustainability organizations, Katie has really hit the ground running on our projects and initiatives. Following is a little Q&A to help you get to know Beyond Efficiency's newest hire!
Q. What's your favorite thing about working at Beyond Efficiency?
A. I get to spend my day focused on meaningful work that has been an interest and passion of mine for a long time!

Q. What advice do you have for someone interested in making their building more energy efficient or comfortable?
A. Look at the big picture and research options. Ask for help and input, get data, prioritize, make a plan and get started.

Q. What are the most exciting trends you see today in sustainable building, and outside of the building industry?
A. The focus on health and wellness of building occupants a.k.a. human-centered design for buildings. In general, the increase of women-owned and operated businesses.

Q. Aisle or window?
A. Oh, window!

Q. What’s an amazing accomplishment most people don’t know about?
A. In college I rowed on the crew team, and we won the Pac 10 championship! And I literally crossed the finish line first since I was in the bow seat.

Q. Where were you born?
A. South Africa

Q. And finally, what would you do if you weren’t helping create enduring human-centered buildings?
A. I'd be a math teacher and own a crepe shop!

Learn more about Katie and her teammates

Blog highlight: Energy Monitoring Buying Guide 101

by Mrigesh Roy
In Part I of this blog series, I discussed what home energy monitors are and how they can help save energy and money. Here I unveil Part II, where I’ll go over key features of whole-house energy monitors and discuss a few considerations when picking a monitor for your home.

Ease of Installation
We recommend consulting an electrician to install a home energy monitor. Many manufacturers of monitors market their devices as having do-it-yourself installation, but any project involving your circuit breaker comes with safety hazards. If you choose to install the energy monitor on your own, carefully follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

If you opt to use a device that can monitor individual circuits, you will definitely need to bring in an electrician. This will increase the initial installation cost, but once installed the devices can reveal hidden inefficiencies and may quickly pay for the additional upfront costs.

There are two types of home energy monitors, and installation time depends on the one you choose:

1. Current transformer (CT)
  • Does not require professional installation.
  • Takes 15-30 minutes to install.
  • These only monitor your two main lines with CT clamps. They monitor consumption patterns and identify individual devices with varying success.
2. Multiple circuit monitors
  • Requires professional installation.
  • Takes 1-10 hours to install.
  • These usually have 8-24 CT clamps. Two go on the main electricity lines, and the rest go on individual breaker circuits. Every circuit with a CT clamp is individually monitored.
Read more... 

Noteworthy events

We'll be presenting, attending, or wishing we were there

September 19-23, 2018
13th Annual North American Passive House Conference (PHIUS), Boston, MA

José Rivero is live at this year's conference, themed "Path to Zero: Comfort, Health, Resilience, Carbon Action" and is especially excited to learn WUFI Passive modeling.

September 20-22, 2018
2018 AIA Wyoming Fall Conference, Jackson, WY

Katy Hollbacher and Katie Dahlgren are excited to be tabling at this year's event, "Designed for Wellness", right here in our own backyard.

September 28, 2018
High Performance Building Technologies for Healthier Living, Victor, ID

Mountainside Institute's next Seminar Series event will gather local experts for a discussion of the best practices to get to Passive House,  zero energy or just a wonderful space to live. We'll be there and hope to see you!

October 17-21, 2018
North American Passive House Network Conference 2018 (NAPHN18), Pittsburgh, PA

This year's theme is "Passive (House) First: It's About Resilience - Not Just Rating Systems" and will be another great event.

Beyond Efficiency Represented at AIASF NEXT
Dan Johnson presented at the American Institute of Architecture San Francisco's NEXT Conference on June 1 with architects from LMS Architecture and EHDD. Dan spoke about Bay Area architects who are participating in the AIA's 2030 commitment program, which sets progressive energy efficiency targets for buildings. Beyond Efficiency provides education and workshops to architecture firms to support their 2030 program goals. 

November 7-8, 2018
Passive House Canada Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This year's conference is held in collaboration with UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Canadian Wood Council. 
Work with us!
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