Energy Choices to Last a Lifetime

Embodied Energy Graph

Energy use is a key component in the struggle with climate change. Electricity and fuel in our buildings, fuel in our cars, trucks, ships, and trains, and everything else that powers our modern world contribute to the complex challenge of maintaining our environment.

At SQFT Studios we are designing, fabricating, and building to reduce the energy footprint of our products in the following ways.

  1. Reducing embodied energy in our buildings and processes (first cost)
  2. Reducing energy demand in the finished product (operating cost).

This article looks at our ADUs and Home Studios and how to reduce these loads, and how you can be a part of the solution to this challenge.

Reducing Embodied Energy

In the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have diverse types of energy production, as well as a progressive system that gives us choices about what energy we buy. This makes a big difference in the impact our buildings have on the environment. At SQFT Studios, we purchase only renewable energy for our facilities, and make choices about what materials go into our products with this in mind.

Beyond choosing the best energy production from your provider, we are also fortunate to be able to add renewable energy production to our buildings. Solar energy is an incredibly viable source in Oregon and Washington, and there are local and national incentives to make this very favorable. At SQFT Studios, we have pre-designed all of our studios to take advantage of this opportunity through roof integrated PhotoVoltaic Solar Energy Systems. We chose our roof materials and assemblies thoughtfully to allow for seamless integration of all major solar cell types and installers. Our low-e standing seam metal roof system allows for quick clip attachment of the latest and most efficient systems and can be rapidly installed or updated. This is one of the most enduring systems guaranteeing your Home Studio or ADU will be future-proofed for the solar economy.

Because of this great option, we specify electric powered mechanical systems to heat and cool your building, as well as for hot water systems. Choosing to not install natural gas lines to our projects also reduces the number and amount of systems that have to be installed. Simplifying and reducing systems reduces the embodied energy and the first cost of our projects for you and for the environment.

Reducing Energy Demand

The other side of this challenge is reducing energy demand in the life cycle of your building. This is done through increasing energy efficiency, and making smart choices about the systems, sizes, and configurations of these systems.

All of our buildings are designed to meet and surpass Oregon energy code. This means tight, well insulated buildings from foundation to roof. We also design for passive heating and cooling where possible since the best performing system is one you don’t have to install or run! Where energy is required, we install highly energy efficient systems that are right sized for these smaller building types. Because our buildings are fabricated in the controlled environment of our workshop they have higher tolerances and are therefore tighter (less drafty) which allows us better control of the indoor environment. All of our buildings have dedicated Energy Recovery Ventilation to ensure fresh air in a healthy indoor environment while minimizing energy loss.

Using less energy to build and run your Home Studio or ADU is at the core of our business.