Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is critical for reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and stemming the tide of climate change. The following design features help increase the energy efficiency of the Harris Center building:

Heat

Insulation. Blown cellulose, made from recycled newspapers, nearly doubles the R-value of our insulation. (The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.) By using horizontal strapping on the walls, we were also able to increase the depth of the exterior walls (and therefore the thickness of the insulation) by 2 feet. Sprayed urethane foam seals the building and creates an airtight envelope, which limits infiltration of cold air and associated heat loss in the winter.

Ventilation. An energy-recovery ventilation system transfers more than 80% of the heat energy in stale exhaust air to incoming, fresh, outdoor air.

Generation. Our wood pellet boiler generates heat from a renewable forest resource, and burns at 90% efficiency. In addition, most spaces have individual heating zones, so we’re only using energy where and when we need it.

Windows. Highly-efficient windows reduce heat loss in the winter and minimize heat gain in the summer.

Electricity

Lighting. Our lighting systems employ energy-efficient bulbs and, in some cases, operate via motion sensors.

Plumbing. Our composting toilets reduce electricity use by eliminating flushing.