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From Research to Construction: Building the Low Energy “Gemini House” Lecture Series
November 13, 2014 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
1 HS&W Learning Unit
Please join us for an informative, complimentary lecture, presented by Professor Kim D. Pressnail, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is presently working on the ‘Gemini Project’ – an insulated home within an insulated home. Passionate about all of his pursuits, he is particularly passionate about seeing that the next generation of engineers, understand the need to make the part of the world that they can influence better – better for the present generation, but most importantly better for future generations as well. Don’t delay register today! Hosted by Morgan State Univ. and sponsored by Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance. Parking is free in adjacent north campus parking garage.
Given the environmental imperatives of global warming and escalating energy prices, there is an ever-increasing need to design and build low-energy, more responsible buildings. At a time when this need is growing, it is still challenging to design very low-energy buildings. Join us as Professor Kim Pressnail, an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto discusses the ‘Gemini” project. Gemini is a low-energy retrofit of an 1879 historical, solid masonry home in Toronto.
Traditional approaches to achieving “low-energy” buildings in cold climates often involve designing an envelope that is more air-tight and contains more thermal insulation. However, this is not the only approach to minimizing energy use. Professor Pressnail will present an innovative construction technique for cold climates that may lead to relatively low-energy, more sustainable buildings. Known as nested thermal envelopes, the building consists of an insulated building (the ‘core’) within an insulated building (the ‘perimeter’) – both designed to control heat, moisture and air movement. The insulated ‘core’ is heated and cooled year round, while the ‘perimeter’ zone is intermittently heated and cooled. Further, when heat is lost from the core zone into the perimeter zone, it can be efficiently recovered using a conventional inter-zonal heat pump.
This innovative retrofit of an historic build was completed in December of 2013. Preliminary computer modelling has shown that it may be possible to reduce the total energy demand by approximately 70%. The demonstration home is now being monitored for one year as the home is operated in the low-energy ‘Gemini mode’. In the years that follow, monitoring will continue as the home is rented to visiting scholars and new academic staff members.
Image of Gemini House section view showing Core and Perimeter areas courtesy University of Toronto