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Frost Protected Shallow Foundations

In a time long ago, in a place far away, I tripped across frost protected shallow foundations.
Nirvana :  Best, only excuse to use foam insulation, and synergy embodied.  Insulates foundation, keeps water away from basement, keeps soil around building dry and inhospitable to insects and vermin, and provides an emergency heat source - the planet earth!  Do the math.  If it's 5 degrees out and your basement is in contact with 50 degree earth, you have a free emergency heater!  How do you figure out the payback on all that!
NO ONE used frost protected shallow foundations for a very long time.
Fast forward to now.    
It's been adopted by the military and their contractors, every green peridocal and website, the highest end residential building publications even praise it's virtues.
No surprise, frost protected shallow foundations save money as well as save energy.  They cuts building costs.  Cuts excavation costs - you can cut the basement out!  In cold country it extends the building season, cuts heating costs during construction, - it can eliminate it!
Yes, FPSF's is  being adoptred  to increase corporate profits, not to save energy.
Take a lesson from that.
Tons of info and everyone taking the time and effort to maintain a website promotoing Green Builidng and Sustainability need to see the hits, need to see the interest! 
Journal of Light Construction
Great resource and not just for housing.  Click Here
Partnership to Advance Technology in Housing
Technical but understandable - see if you agree. Click Here
Cute name with real info.  Click Here
Fine Homebuilding
More than homes:  Click Here
Also equipment, tools, ancient techniques documented, all that and looks stunning too.
Building Science Incorporated
Building geeks for hire, hire them.  Click Here
I don’t check for broken links (Takes time, and this site doesn’t generate income to support it), so if any of the links above don’t work, then see below, I’ve probably downloaded and printed out what impressed me.



How does this work in Building Energy Modeling?

If your building energy modeling software does not natively support basement heat loss calculations using frost protected shallow foundations, you'll need to figure out how to fudge it in your program.
Luckily, I've done some basement heat loss calculations for the frost protected shallow foundations I'm putting in at my test bed / 'ye old family place.  (Click here) 
I've even done a bit of research and found published basement heat loss calcs, compared my numbers to them, and am satisfied I'm safely in the ball park.
After all, most building energy modeling is wrong, and out of the park to boot.
I take my profession seriously, and prime in these days of tight money, is making sure estimated costs and savings are reliable.
I'll write a page on that sometime, to sum it up, hubris is the wrench in the whole building energy modeling works
Now for those who have seen elsewher on the site that I'm not a big proponent of foam insulation, this is where it comes into it's own.  Cutting basement heat loss means you are working in the dirt, and outside of foam glass and aerogel, foam is the only material that is nearly uneffected by being in contact with water.  Now vermin and insects are another problem, but one of the big advantages of frost protected shallow foundations is drying out the soil around a building, which lessens the insect and vermin population.

Sustainability Pays 


Insulation - 

How Much Is Enough
Quick answers to your insulation questions

Easy Energy


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Country House - Catskills
 Eco -Test Bed 
An Ongoing Deep Energy Retrofit Case Study

Click here

Location: NYS

Catskill Mountains

Upstate New York

 Micro Climate: Extreme

-7000 Heating DD

-limited sun 

-deep in narrow valley.


Energy Conservation

Low Temperature Solar Thermal


Energy Update

30% Reduction 2011-2012 

Soooo last year

50% Reduction 


Click here

Fact Checked

.... Factoids....

If you are looking for pre-digested factoids to throw around risk free at parties, such as why energy conservation is more important than alternative energy – including photovoltaics, how much energy and carbon can be saved with energy conservation, embeded carbon, building stats such as ages, types, uses, pay back times for energy conservation, photovoltaics, wind generators – use anything you find on this site, I actually fact check, well, make sure two “reputable” web site agree.