Application Note

Home In Rocky Mountains Demonstrates Payoff For Energy Efficiency Concepts

ABB HygenicMaster electromagnetic meters play an important role in the highly instrumented residence of Amory Lovins, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

The Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit organization, drives the efficient and restorative use of resources. One area of its many efforts is the study of advanced energy efficiency in buildings.

Founder Lovins's private residence, located at an elevation of 7100 feet in the Rockies, serves to develop and demonstrate many earth-friendly architectural concepts. Built in the early 1980s, the super-insulated building remains highly energy-efficient. It depends primarily on passive systems, despite its extreme location. The technologies and design strategies used then are even more effective, affordable, and readily available today.

Until recently the building included an unconnected radiant floor heating system installed in its concrete floor slabs. During construction, the relatively inexpensive installation of six zones of hydronic tubing served as a future backup heating source. Meanwhile two wood-fired stoves provided supplemental heat when the passive systems could not meet demands, which happened every winter. In 2008, Lovins decided to try eliminating the wood stoves by connecting the hydronic tubing in the slabs to an expansion of the existing active-solar water-heating system.

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