Heat pumps are now mandatory in new homes in Washington State

Washington State will require new homes and apartments to have heat pumps installed from July 2023, the State Building Code Council ruled on Friday.

In April, the Council passed a measure requiring that heat pumps be installed in new commercial buildings and large apartment buildings.

This heat pump mandate now covers all residential dwellings, and that makes Washington State a leader in having some of the most robust building codes in the US to require electrical appliances and thus reduce emisisons.

In a May 2019 policy brief, Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) wrote:

While statewide emissions have grown 10% overall since 1990, building emissions have jumped by 50%, more than any other source in our state.

As of 2020, 56% of Washington residents used electricity for heating, and 37% of residents used natural gas or bottled, tank, or LP gas.

The Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act provides $4.5 billion of direct rebates for heat pumps for low and moderate income households under the High Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA). A low-income household will receive a rebate that covers the full cost of a heat pump installation for space heating, up to $8,000.

And under the The Energy Efficient Home Improvement credit, “Households can deduct 30% of the costs for buying and installing a heat pump water heater or heat pump for their space heating and cooling, up to $2,000,” according to Rewiring America.

An air-source electric heat pump uses refrigerant to pull heat from cold outdoor air and transfers it indoors when it’s cold, and it pulls heat out of the warm indoor air to cool your home when it’s hot outside.

New homes in Washington State are going to save money up front due to rebates and tax credits and they will also save money in the long run, as heat pumps reduce electricity consumption by up to 50%. Emissions will be cut as well.

Source: https://electrek.co/2022/11/09/heat-pumps-washington-state/

Thatch-covered Enterprise Centre may be the world’s greenest building

Prefab thatch wall panels (built indoors during the off season) and materials palette which the Treehugger writer calls ‘almost edible’.

“John French, CEO of the university’s Adapt Low Carbon Group and project director, … was eager that the next generation of buildings at UEA should move away from high thermal mass and a dependence on carbon-intensive concrete, towards natural and locally sourced materials.”

ThatchedPassiveHousePlus

“The building also features a wide array of other sustainable materials including recycled timber finishes, wood wool acoustic boards, spray-on cellulose, and wall coverings made from hemp, nettle fabric and reeds”

More at:

http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/thatch-covered-enterprise-centre-may-be-worlds-greenest-building.html

http://passivehouseplus.ie/magazine/new-build/is-this-the-uk-s-greenest-building.html

A 3D Printer that builds homes

Unlike earlier 3D printed houses which used plastic, this one uses clay.  Very cool!

The World’s Advanced Saving Project, or WASP, has just unveiled a giant 3D printer that – rather like a real wasp – can build a house out of the stuff.

The 3D printer, called BigDelta, works much like any other you may have seen – layering up a material into a pre-determined structure. The difference is that it stands 12 meters (40 feet) tall and claims to be the world’s biggest.

It was unveiled this weekend at the three-day “Reality of Dream” rally in Italy, where BigDelta was made. In a statement, WASP proposes that its technology could help meet the rising demand for housing, citing a UN calculation that over the next 15 years there will be an average daily demand for 100,000 new housing units.

It is thought the technology would be of most use in disaster or war zones, where the speed of production could help those who have become displaced. The use of natural materials could also benefit the environment by reducing cement – a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions.

You can watch the journey of BigDelta from desktop prototype to field-dwelling giant here.

The project site:  http://www.wasproject.it/

Original article:  http://www.iflscience.com/3d-printer-so-big-it-can-print-houses

Straw Social housing in UK

Recent articles in the Guardian and other publications tells of strawbale “Council housing” in the UK. Council houses are a form of social housing. The local council builds the houses which are then offered at a subsidised rent to people who are unable to afford full rental values.

Straw houses are baling out council building plans

Straw Bale Council House, Lincolnshire

North Kesteven District Council page on Straw Council Houses

Straw House Photo Gallery

Building Research & Information, Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2011, pp. 51–65, ISSN 0961-3218