Houses designed with passive survivability are more resilient and energy efficient

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Resilient Building Institute founder renovated house to include R-45 walls, R-60 roof

May 22, 2014

Alex Wilson, founder of the Resilient Building Institute, has been promoting the idea of passive survivability: ensuring that buildings will provide livable conditions in the event of extended loss of power or interruptions in heating fuel. To create a building that will maintain habitable temperatures if it loses power or runs out of heating fuel requires an extremely well-insulated building envelope, he says. His recently renovated house has R-45 walls and an R-60 roof. High-end windows, along with some passive solar gain through south-facing windows means the temperature will probably not drop much below 50°F even if there’s an extended power outage in the middle of winter. Keeping a fire going in a small wood stove during a power outage will be enough to keep the house comfortable, he says.
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