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O.P.E.R.A. House ©
On Peak Energy Reduction Architecture
The ultimate Green building?


OPERA House VII

Location: Bartow Florida
OPERA House design by: Brad Lindsay



This home design is so unique it's patented!  The OPERA House is specifically designed to operate the air conditioner during the night when it's most efficient.  The hotter it is outside, the more power it takes to run the compressor and cooling efficiency drops.  Running the A/C at night not only shifts the largest user of power in the house  (the A/C), but increases the cooling capacity.  Many states offer incentives for off peak power consumption, typically a fraction of what is charged during on peak times.

Electrical demand is rising and auxiliary power plants must be built to meet this demand.  If future homes were designed in  such a way that most of the electrical demand was used during off peak times, the building of these expensive power plants could be reduced.  This saves resources, curbs energy increases  and helps the environment. 

The OPERA House design incorporates interior mass protected by our patented thermal barrier system and nocturnal deep space irradiation for cooling.  So effective is this design that only a small A/C is required to maintain interior comfort.  Ductless cooling and unmatched interior comfort.  Every room is the same temperature:  comfortable.
Solar hot water loops built into the outside wall take advantage of the rejected infrared heat for free domestic hot water.   Hot, dry air at the hottest part of the attic is drawn into the clothes dryer when the dryer turns on.  Free solar heated air plus the clothes tumbler = 300 watts vs. the tumbler/element drawing 6,000 watts.

OPERA Houses in the desert of Phoenix Arizona pay less than $250 per year for heating and cooling and have HVAC systems half of what would be used in conventional construction methods.  This home design is the future.
Below is an OPERA House now being finished in Bartow Florida using our latest reflective film product: Thermal Control Membrane® in all the walls and ceiling area.  No insulation is being used in this house.  The results will surprise you.


Overview of this project: click here
Photos of this project: click here


Weather conditions 3:30 PM 4/23/05
 
Sky  Clear
Sun  Bright
UV Index 10
Wind  S 10 MPH
Humidity  50 %
Outside Ambient Temperature  84
 
Readings
S outside Stucco wall temperature in Sun 119
S inside surface mass wall temperature 66
S 4" inside mass wall temperature 67
 
S outside window glass temperature  108
S inside window glass temperature  70
 
Inside house temperature  69
Humidity  68
 
Attic temperature 4" above ceiling 84
Attic temperature at ridge peak  99
 
Temperature readings taken with InfraRed Thermometer with laser beam

These temperatures clearly define meeting the goal of changing the direction of heat subjected to infrared heat (the sun).   Outside wall temperature of 119 in April yet 4" behind our latest product, Thermal Control Membrane (TCM), wall system it's 52f degrees cooler.   An inside wall temperature of 66f would be difficult to obtain using wall systems designed to resist the flow of heat using conventional insulation. 
This is the future.   Get on board and start living in a more comfortable, energy efficient home.   Radiant barrier belongs in every home.


Two Goals:
1) Significantly reduce the demand and consumption of electricity
2) Increase the level of comfort


      
Energy usage of a conventionally built home

          

           Energy usage profile of an OPERA House© in Phoenix Arizona
 We expect the Clark home to be even better!



Step by Step Documentation:

Breaking Ground in Bartow Florida:





The foundation:



The wall footers will be filled solid with concrete to provide the foundation for the exterior mass walls.  The blue buckets are protecting the underground return air ducts during construction. 

Underground returns:



A close-up view of the underground returns before the slab is poured.


The goal:

  • More comfort
  • Increased indoor air quality
  • Significantly reduced energy costs
  • Natural lighting
  • Solar water heating
  • Affordable

The logic:
Create interior mass sufficient to store cooling from an undersized A/C unit which only runs at night when it's more efficient and during off peak hours.
Keep the mass protected from the heat of the sun using radiant barrier
Prevent heat from entering the attic using Thermal Control Panelstm  
and Thermal Control Membrane
Use 12 volt DC white LED lighting to reduce interior heat gain and increase comfort
Use the excess heat in the walls to solar heat the water for domestic use and space heating during the winter

The finished slab being cured





Exterior and Interior Mass Walls:
 


Concrete block exterior walls going up.  These will be pumped full of concrete to create thermal mass to decrease mean radiant temperature and increase comfort.  These walls contain no insulation and will be protected using only RBS Wrap.
There will also be an interior wall used for the same purpose.  The finished surface on the inside will be smooth coated with concrete then textured like drywall when the interior walls go up.  These mass walls will be indistinguishable from the interior framed walls.



Grout boxes for electrical outlets and switches must go in before the cells are filled.



All empty block cells will be filled solid.   Once protected with radiant barrier, these walls will become the only source of comfort cooling during the day.



Walls being pumped full of concrete to increase the thermal mass.


Finished exterior mass walls, ready for trusses.  

West wall



This West facing wall will have a continuous pipe running between the RBS Wrap and the firring strips used to secure the exterior stucco foam.  The incoming infrared heat emitted from the exterior stucco foam combined with the rejected infrared heat bouncing off the RBS Wrap will provide enough heat to meet the domestic hot water needs and space heating. 
  A solar controller and pump will be connected to this open loop and stored in a 120 gallon solar storage tank with an electric back up heater.


Trusses being set on the hip roof:



Hip roof trusses:


Fred Clark, the builder, chose a hip roof design to maximize the flow of hot attic towards the center where it will discharged through oversized dormer vents on the rear of the roof.
You will notice large window openings in this home which traditionally has been a known energy anomaly due to excessive heat gain.   This heat gain is offset by the large amount of protected interior mass which will easily absorb and store this for later removal during off peak periods.

Interior Mass Walls

Wall switch and junction box embedded in the interior mass wall.  These walls will eventually be floated with mortar to eliminate the grout lines of the block, then textured after the interior framed walls are sheet rocked and textured.  There is no visible way of determining which walls are mass or framed once the home is finished.


Ducting Details
Ducts are installed in living area






Flex duct can be seen here running through the pot shelves.  One of Fred's great ideas.









Below grade ducts and return box


Ducting for free hot air for the clothes dryer

Dryer inlet duct can be seen here terminating at the hottest spot in the attic. . . right next to the dormer vents at the rear of the house. 



This is the transition from the square duct to the round flex in the attic.
This will provide dry, solar heated air to the dryer.  This patented concept
can also be interfaced with an optional roof mounted solar air heater for winter
or cold climate uses. Dries clothes in less time using only the energy needed to
tumble the clothes and operate the fan. 



This is the dryer intake vent in the wall.  This will use attic air to
dry clothes as opposed to using interior conditioned air.


This achieves two import goals at the same time:
  • Takes air from attic instead using interior conditioned air (saves energy increases comfort)
  • Brings in solar heated air during warm months which dries the clothes only using the tumble mode on the dryer.  
IMPORTANT READING
The clothes dryer motor uses about 350 watts of power to spin the drum and run the blower .  The electrical heating element consumes 6,000 watts of power to make hot, dry air.  The other benefit is not drawing the home into a negative pressure situation which is dangerous, (many homes catch on fire from this every year!), unhealthy and is one of largest blatant wastes of energy in any home.  Think about it:  You run the A/C to cool the outside air from 110
down to 78, then heat it back up to 120 from 78 THEN blow it out of the house.  It would be no different than opening a window, putting a fan in it and blowing 200cfm of cold air out the window.   Even though it sounds crazy and no one would ever do it, that's what's happening in all clothes dryers.  Same is true in sub zero weather.   When the dryer is running it is exhausting 200 cubic feet per minute of heated air from the house, freezing cold air from outside must come in to replace what's exhausted.

Attic Venting


Rear of the home showing the large dormer vent.  This combined with the hip roof
and continuous soffit venting will allow for excellent attic ventilation.

Fred Clark decided on a hip configuration to assist in attic venting. 

Windows



Low e glass windows are used throughout this home.  The "e" in Low e stands for "emissivity".   Having a low emissivity windows means radiant heat will not be able to emit from the surface in or out.  Originally designed for cold climates to keep heat in,
the low emissivity also keeps the heat from the sun out during hot weather. 
The radiant barrier used in the exterior walls, ceiling and roof of this home has
several layers of very reflective film which also has an extremely low e value.  The
high reflectivity combined with the low emissivity is one of the methods employed
to achieve the unbelievable energy savings and comfort of this home.




Our latest product, Thermal Control Membrane (TCM)
© seen here in 4' wide by 12' long strips.  This multi-layered, high performance radiant barrier is installed on the outside of the mass block walls which will effectively  change the direction of the infrared heat being emitted by the exterior.  Air spaces between each layer is provided by a propriety mesh that ensures conductive and convective heat movement is all but eliminated.   This home has NO insulation in the ceiling, only our patented TCM© product.



Thermal Control Membrane being installed on the exterior mass walls.  Note the firring strips.  This will provide an air space to allow infrared heat to change direction.  Out during the summer and in during the winter.  Between these firring strips will be 3/4" copper piping painted flat black then secured to the wall.  The water in the pipes will be solar heated by the reflected infrared rejected by the TCM.  Temperatures in excess of 170F° have been recorded in this area while the sun is shining on it.  This void is not vented and relies solely on the performance of the Themal Control Membrane to keep this heat from moving into the mass wall behind it.  During a typical day at noon there will be a delta T (temperature differential) over 100
between the wall exterior and the inside of the home.



Fred Clark also installed Thermal Control Membrane down below ground level  to
 keep the stem from conducting heat into the slab. 
Our first OPERA House has six inches of the foundation stem exposed and this was the only source of heat seen entering the home using an infrared camera.  A faint, gray line of heat behind the moulding on the South side of the house indicated insulating the stem is a good measure in hot climates.



Thermal Control Membrane seen here hanging in 48" wide strips before the firring strips are installed.  This is the only insulation the exterior walls are going to get.   The concrete blocks are filled solid and there will be no drywall on the interior of this mass walls.  This lowers the interior mean radiant temperature and offers unmatched comfort.   Heat rejection is absorbed by a 3/4" copper tube painted black to obtain free solar heated water.  No panels, no controllers, no freeze issues, no nocturnal thermosyphoning.  Simple: one pump, one timer.
These combinations are the basic elements that will give this home energy savings and interior comfort unlike any other home being built today. 




TCM and firring strip detail.  Note the attic air intake at the soffits, something most homes are in dire need of for adequate attic venting.  We recommend 1/4" firring strips 16" on center except for the wall that has the copper line between the firring strips to make solar hot water.  Mr. Clark has them every 12" and 4" wide strip every 48" inches which is a great idea if you have to deal with hurricane weather.  This is one home that is hurricane proof and will  stay comfortable even without electricity.



Corner Detail for the termination of the stucco exterior

Update:  5/6/05

These are some recent temperature readings, keep in mind there is no air conditioning operating yet look at the inside temperature of the OPERA House.   This clearly shows the benefits of the combination of mass walls and Thermal Control Membrane©
From: Fred Clark
To: Brad
Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2005 5:52 PM
Subject: Tempts

Weather conditions 3:30 PM 4/23/05
 
Sky  Clear
Sun  Bright
UV Index 10
Wind  S 10 MPH
Humidity  50 %
Outside Ambient Temperature  84
 
Readings
S outside Stucco wall temperature in Sun 119
S inside surface mass wall temperature 66
S 4" inside mass wall temperature 67
 
S outside window glass temperature  108
S inside window glass temperature  70
 
Inside house temperature  69
Humidity  68
 
Attic temperature 4" above ceiling 84
Attic temperature at ridge peak  99
 
Temperature readings taken with InfraRed Thermo-Meter / with laser beam

These temperatures clearly define meeting the goal of changing the direction of heat subjected to infrared heat (the sun).   Outside wall temperature of 119 in April yet 4" behind our Thermal Control Membrane wall system it's 52f degrees cooler.   An inside wall temperature of 66f would be difficult to obtain using wall systems designed to resist the flow of heat using conventional insulation. 
This is the future.   Get on board and start living in a more comfortable, energy efficient home.   Radiant barrier belongs in every home.


  Contact for information on how we can help you construct a home like this.

Horizon Energy Systems
                     Conserving Energy Today. . . For Tomorrowtm

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602 867 3176

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