A few years back, CBS Early News did a segment with Bill Nye the Science Guy about how white rooftops could combat global warming — the idea being that darker rooftops retain heat and cause people to use more of their air conditioning.
A Modern-Shed customer recently brought this to our attention, and it got us thinking about all the ways a Modern-Shed could be made to be energy-efficient.
Our general manager, Tim, shares his own experience about how he heats and cools his own Modern-Shed:
I have a direct south and west exposure which brings in tons of natural light. Along with the upper clearstory transom glass, I also have a 6-foot sliding glass door and an awning window.
The Ply Gem window and door have excellent energy values and my shed has walls with R-21 insulation, a roof with rigid foam R-38 and a floor system with R-21. I use a small radiant heater in the winter to keep my office toasty warm. Set on the first of three levels at 68 or 69 degrees is all it needs due to the excellent insulation.
In the summer, I have a stand-alone AC unit that vents through the awning window very easily and I have curtains to block out the late afternoon sun, but then I can’t see out. I remembered from years ago when I sold sunrooms that glass is better shaded from the exterior before the sun/heat gets to the glass. So, I put an exterior roll up shade on the large window.
If you can stop or filter the sun’s heat before it gets to the insulated glass, the LowE/Argon glass doesn’t have to work so hard and is much more efficient. I ordered a roll down shade screen from Amazon, and with it, I really don’t even need the air conditioning, which I prefer, and can then use the lower awning portion the window to cool in the morning and evening hours.
When thinking about other options Modern-Shed customers could use to save on energy costs, Tim talks about our open joint rain screen system and how the placement of doors and windows is key — one of our design professionals can work with you to figure out the best placement.
Our open joint rain screen system uses the natural flow of air much like a radiator or cooling fins you’d find on components of a car. The air gaps between and behind the James Hardie ® panels help cool the building. And since the panels are separated from the main building by 3/8ths of an inch they act as a heat shield much like the exterior window shade screen works. The panels accept the heat from the sun and the air gap dissipates it before the heat gets to the sheathing (walls). The unique vapor barrier and ZipWall sheathing keep the building water-tight yet breathable.
Placement of doors and window are key to energy efficiency, of course, based on the location where the customer wants the shed. The great thing about Modern-Shed is that we have design professionals who know how to do this and work with the customer for the most efficient and desirable locations, which is something the customer does not always think about and certainly something an online configuration tool cannot do.
South-facing glass can be a benefit in both winter and summer depending on where in the country a person is, as it captures heat in the low winter sun and avoids direct sun in the summer months when the sun is further north. Also, east-facing windows or glass doors can also be beneficial because the early sun isn’t as hot as the afternoon sun. North facing glass would really only be beneficial for folks in the south where they may not want direct sunlight at all.
Modern-Shed offers insulation exceeding most building code requirements thereby making our sheds very energy efficient. Not to mention we use some of the highest quality window manufacturers in the country to supply us with windows and doors.
If that all sounds great to you, call up a design pro to discuss more!