Green Lifestyle Film Festival recently interviewed Joe Britt, an engineer and owner of Thermal Mass Construction, Inc. Mr. Britt is the creator of the Thermal Mass Green Building System, which can achieve 100% self-sustaining, energy-efficient homes with a net-zero carbon output. One of the company’s goals is to provide this level of home energy efficiency at approximately $100 per square foot. Mr. Britt is a pioneer in the green economy as he works to create green jobs. Here is our Q&A session with Mr. Britt:
1. Could you please explain what the Thermal Mass Green Building System is?
- Thermal Mass Construction (TMC) is a concept comparable to a modular home that you might buy. The big difference is a modular home is shipped 90% done, which leaves very little work for the local construction workers. Here, once all the pieces are shipped, the foundation hole is dug and then the house will be constructed.
- After the structure has been plumed up and all the mechanical connections are done, the next step will be insulating the exterior.
- The concrete panels have radiant tubing in them, which will allow the homeowner to manipulate the structures interior temperature.
2. What are the benefits of using this system?
Inside the home, the evenness of the temperature throughout the home is apparent. There are no cold spots due to a leaky structure. There are no hot spots where the sun comes in through the windows because there hundreds of thousands of pounds of mass in the walls.
When I was working on a $7 million dollar project for Raymond Auyang, I started looking at how actual design of a home plays a very important part of how efficiently a structure can maintain a comfortable temperature. This mansion needed five of the largest GE heating and cooling systems to control the home’s interior environment. He ended up spending on average $2,500 a month to heat and cool the 15,000-sq. ft structures. The interior had all the necessary components used in TMC, but the design was poorly thought out. After this job, I applied, got tested, and was hired as a Home Energy Consultant. Here, I learned about Traditional Modern Day Architecture. I thought I could do better and the opportunity to sell our home, which I had just finished remodeling (paid $77,000 and sold for $280,000). The money went into our current home, where I heat 4,400 sq. ft of living (70˚) space and an indoor pool (80˚) for a little over a $1,000 a year. The average home in this area will spend $3,000-$5,000 just on heating.
4. Who can have access to your system, in terms of price?
When a builder has just the basic concept, he will be able to buy the necessary components at the local hardware store and implement these concepts himself. As far as price goes, it will cost less to build this style structure. This system uses fewer materials, is structurally stronger, and consumes very little energy for less money!