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The Tesla Shingle and Insulated Concrete Forms

Revolutionizing Housing Energy Costs

REIR started rehabbing houses over ten years ago using the most energy efficient and cost-effective materials available to us. As the building industry improves efficiency methods, we are looking into integrating solar energy and insulated concrete form into our new home building.

Improving Solar To Make It Cost Effective

The biggest issue with any type of alternative heating is whether you'll get back the money you invest in it. In the last five years, solar energy has become much more affordable, generally costing only about $10,000 per thousand square feet. So, on a 3000 square foot house, you're looking at about a $30,000 investment. That $30,000 is recovered more than twice over a thirty-year period, which is the general lifespan of solar units. Even just ten years ago, the lifespan of solar units was less than thirty years. And so, it wasn't justifiable to expend the necessary money for solar energy.

Tesla’s Solar Shingle Proves Cost Effective At the head of the solar movement is the Tesla solar shingle. Tesla has improved the cost effectiveness of solar by developing battery packs to store energy obtained by the solar shingles during the day, which can remit that energy back into the house after the sun goes down. Originally, the only thing you could do with excess solar energy was sell it back to the energy company. Depending on where you lived, the energy company might not accept or pay for such energy.

The Tesla shingle itself has a thirty-five-plus-year lifespan. To top it off, the shingle looks very nice and can be changed out individually. The entire southern face of the roof can be shingled to become a big solar unit. This product is being tested and is expected to be fully proven in a few years. The beauty of what Tesla has accomplished is a system with which someone can fully utilize their own investment in solar by using the stored energy once the sun goes down. Using ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) Construction to Improve Energy Efficiency

Currently, conventional stick-built homes are using 2X6 material to frame the house with insulation in between the 2X6s. This framing style has provided around 100 years of structural integrity. Convectional construction utilizes many nail and screw holes and the gaps where boards connect, and because of this there is a lot of energy loss, especially in the far northern and southern states, where much energy is expended on heating and cooling.

We are focused on branching out from standard building methods to improve the initial construction of the home to conserve energy. Insulated concrete form (ICF) construction is a relatively new building system, dating back to World War II.

ICF construction utilizes foam blocks to form the basis for which to pour concrete walls. Using these foam blocks and building the entire structure - except for floors and roofing - out of concrete, inhibits heat loss. First, there's two inches of insulation on the inside of the house and two inches of insulation on the outside of the house as the foam block makes up the interior and exterior wall. Second, once the concrete is poured and dry, there are no spaces for heat loss as with traditionally built homes. It's literally a much more airtight building. The noise reduction from ICF construction is a bonus as the homeowners whose homes we have toured have so excitedly mentioned. The ICF system will gain up to forty to sixty percent more energy efficiency when heating or cooling cost in comparison with conventional building method. Not only is ICF is a better product from a heat loss perspective, the structural integrity of a concrete building will be well over one-hundred years of value.

Financial Gain to the Homeowner When Combining Solar & ICF

The gain from the solar and ICF in some circumstances could exceed one-hundred percent of energy savings. This is because you lose less energy to heat/cooling between forty to sixty percent with ICF an

d the energy cost savings solar provides you could gain another thirty to forty percent, so in some situations you would have a net positive in energy cost savings. In conclusion with ICF we have a better structure, we have a better heat loss, and when we incorporate the solar we will have even more energy savings. Our homes will be a better long-term value altogether.

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