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  • Technology Solutions for New and Existing Homes Case Study: Optimized Slab-on-Grade Foundation Insulation Retrofits
    A more accurate assessment of SOG foundation insulation energy savings than traditionally possible is now feasible. This has been enabled by advances in whole building energy simulation with 3-dimensional foundation modelling integration at each time step together with an experimental measurement of the site energy savings of SOG foundation insulation. Ten S […]
  • Mockup Small-Diameter Air Distribution System
    This report investigates the feasibility of using a home-run manifold small-diameter duct system to provide space conditioning air to individual thermal zones in a low-load home. This compact layout allows duct systems to be brought easily within conditioned space via interior partition walls. Centrally locating the air hander unit in the house significantly […]

La Valentina

La Valentina is a transit oriented, low income multi-family and mixed-use project currently being developed by Domus Development in Sacramento, CA. The project is adjacent to the Alkali Flat/La Valentina light rail station on a brownfield site that has been vacant for over 20 years. The project incorporates two developments: La Valentina Station which will be comprised of 63 apartments with 5,000 ft2 of ground floor commercial space and La Valentina North, the focus of this Building America project, which will consist of 18 three-bedroom townhouses and will be one of the first near zero energy projects of its kind in the Sacramento area.

La Valentina North, West elevation rendering

The La Valentina North development is the first multi-family project designed to meet SMUD House of the Future specifications and one of the first near-zero energy multi-family residential projects in the Sacramento area.  The project broke ground in December 2010 and completion is expected in winter of 2012.

In 2011 ARBI developed a test plan outlining measure verification and testing (QC), building commissioning, performance monitoring & sampling protocols, and a commercial viability analysis to evaluate building performance and validate estimated savings. ARBI also provided consulting and support to the builder regarding methods to affix three-coat stucco to 2 inches of rigid exterior foam insulation in a three story building while maintaining durability, thermal integrity, and structural integrity. The builder’s proposed design incorporated vertical metal z-clips 2” deep running parallel to the wall studs at 16” o.c. While this provides additional structural support, it also establishes a thermal break reducing the benefits of the continuous insulation.

Wall detail showing Z-clips placed every 16” which the metal lathe and stucco attach

Alternative details were provided and discussed with the team including using wood furring strips and exterior insulation finishing systems (EIFS). An outside consultant ran a THERM analysis of the developer’s proposed method of incorporating metal z-clips for structural support. The THERM model predicted a 10% increase in U-value compared to a wall without the clips. ARBI ran a BEopt analysis comparing 1) the base case of 2” of foam without Z-clips, 2) wall with a 10% U-value increase, and 3) a wall in which 1/2 inch of foam was removed (in this scenario additional fasteners are not necessary). Results showed very similar wall performance between the two alternative scenarios and that the overall effect was an increase in energy use of 14kWh and 4therm annually over the base case. Our recommendation was that the effects are negligible and either solution could be deemed appropriate.