Hostel Detroit Energy Efficiency Adventure

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Hostel Detroit

Phase I - Observe and Learn

  • Location
    • 2700 Vermont Detroit, MI 48216
  • Year Built
    • est. 1910
  • Ownership
    • Current Owner
      • Jerry Esters; owns other buildings in the Corktown area
    • Lease arrangement
      • Hostel leasing until Sept 2012
      • Likely to maintain presence in foreseeable future
    • Construction History
      • Renovated by Jerry Esters in 2006 and again in 2011 by Hostel Detroit.
  • Structural Problems
  • Inventory
    • Utilities
      • Meters
        • Electric
          • 5
            • Meter 1: for the house lights plus interior stairwell
            • Meter 2: Hostel first floor common area
            • Meter 3: Hostel first floor living quarters
            • Meter 4: Apt 3
            • Meter 5: Apt 4
          • Photobucket album
        • Gas
      • Bills
        • Forthcoming
        • Two Years usage
    • HVAC Equipment
      • Furnace/Boiler (quantity, manufacturer, year, model/size, energy source (e.g. gas)
        • 4 furnaces
          • Each one has own controlled thermostat
      • A/C (quantity, type, year, model/size, electric
        • Four units
        • Integrated w/furnaces
      • Hot water tanks: (manufacturer, year, model/size - photograph plates)
      • Fans
        • 6 total
        • Exhaust fans in all 4 bathrooms and main kitchen (5)
        • Ceiling fan in common room (1)
      • Thermostats
        • 4 total (all at 67 degrees)
        • Downstairs: common area, Hostel room 2
        • Upstairs: Apt 3, Apt 4
    • Insulation
      • Pink rolls in newer (mainly interior) walls
      • Original insulation in most outer walls
      • From Ken: lathing on wall with drywall on top, potentially 1 gap
      • None in floors
      • Inconsistent: some walls are uninsulated / very drafty
        • Especially drafty by fusebox & above drop ceiling
    • Roof
      • Black roof
      • Flat roof which houses the furnace & HVAC
      • We have not been on the roof yet: access is restricted at the moment
      • Second floor ceilings have been water damaged in both apartments
    • Walls
      • Many walls have cracks and one wall is severely water damaged
    • Floor
      • Common area and office: ceramic tile over cement or dirt floor
      • First floor sleeping quarters and hallway: hardwood floor over crawlspace, little or no insulation.
      • Second floor: linoleum and carpet over the preexisting 110 year old hardwood floor, there is no new insulation in the floor.
      • Many floors not finished with baseboards some are drafty
  • Building Materials and Measurement (Google Sketchup)

Floor Plans with COLD/HOT conditions noted

    • Walls
      • Exterior walls: all brick and mortar
      • Interior walls: original plaster or drywall where the building has been modified
      • Water damage in Apt 3 stairwell to Vermont St wall, extending to first floor locker area
    • Floors
      • Common area and office: ceramic tile over cement or dirt floor
      • First floor sleeping quarters and hallway: hardwood floor over crawlspace, little or no insulation.
      • Second floor: linoleum and carpet over the preexisting 110 year old hardwood floor, there is no new insulation in the floor.
      • Many floors not finished with baseboards, some are drafty
    • Doors
      • 5: all steel doors
    • Ceiling
      • Drop ceiling over kitchen, hall, lockers and office (with a tin ceiling above it)
      • Remaining ceilings are plaster
      • Water damage to ceiling in laundry room; Apt 4, rm 4B; hall in 3A
      • All three ground floor doors have tension bars
      • All doors allow air infiltration
    • Windows
      • Ground floor: 13 total
        • 10 double pane sliding windows
        • 1 glass block window
        • 2 small double panes which do not open
      • Second floor: 14 total
        • 4 sliding picture windows
        • 10 sliding double pane windows
      • All of the windows allow air passage, none actually seal.
      • 3 windows at Vermont/Spruce entrance have been walled in but not insulated
    • Orientation
      • Vermont St. front faces southwest
      • Spruce street faces southeast
      • Back of the building faces northeast
      • Yard faces northwest
  • Comfort Profile
    • Winter
      • Coldest spots are the dirt floor areas:
        • 1st floor common room
        • Kitchen
        • Front hall
        • Front office
        • Lockers
        • Men's room
        • Spruce street entrance
      • There are drafts coming from above the drop ceiling in the locker area as well as the kitchen.
      • The floors in this area are also drafty.
      • Upstairs, the stairwell windows and southwest facing windows are draftiest
    • Summer
      • Hottest rooms are the front office, Apt 3 living room, and the bedroom over the door (all southwest facing)
      • The common areas stay pretty cool due to the dirt floor
    • Condensation, humidity
  • Inspection and Testing
    • Thermal Inspection by Ken Byczynski - Kenco (December 2011)
      • Pictures - Kenco Pictures Hostel Detroit
      • Observations
        • Thermal Envelope
          • Ceiling / Roof there is room for insulation (maybe 20 - 25% savings in heating possible.)
          • Walls have lathing on brick...no room for insulation
          • Floors were installed without any insulation...difficult to do now
          • Windows - New-ish Vinyl Windows
            • Caulking on the exterior of the windows would be helpful to prevent air infiltration DONE DEC. 2011 by Michel
          • Leak under window in back...poor seal around windows
          • Doors (not studied)
            • Air Infiltration likely an issue.
        • HVAC Equipment
          • All equipment is on the roof...did not inspect
    • Testing
      • Carbon Dioxide test...need to confirm heating units are on the roof
      • Blower door test + infrared thermal imaging (suggested by Ken and Laurie)
    • Modeling
      • Energy Bill Analysis
        • Preliminary analysis of total building consumption based on only one year of bills with data missing for some months in a few places and one of the electric meters missing.
        • Need to find out the number of days for each billing month listed. For now, just used number of days in month.
      • Begin energy model
      • Energy modeling checklist
  • To-dos 2/8/12
    • Determine low-cost budget/funding options (Michel)
    • Caption Photobucket photos w/details (Michel/Matt) DONE
    • Get definite construction year (Matt)
    • Get bulge (above office) looked at - by Jerry? (Michel)
    • Annotate structural drawing w/comfort conditions (Michel) DONE
    • Pull together energy numbers (Kirsten/Laurie) DONE
    • Get equipment owners' manuals to check against equipment settings (Michel)
    • Thermal imaging proposal (Laurie)
  • To-dos 2/22/12
    • Indicate cold first floor stairwell (Michel) DONE
    • Indicate distinction btw slab/elevated floor (Michel) DONE
    • Shade first floor Apt 1 with light blue (Michel)
    • Indicate directions on diagram (Michel) DONE
    • Add dollar amounts for energy costs from bills to spreadsheet (Kirsten) DONE
    • Add total dollar amount (gas/electric) to spreadsheet (Kirsten) DONE
    • Check w/Emily -- is landlord still paying electric bills? We need access to those bills - contact landlord (Michel)
  • To-dos 3/7/12
    • Kirsten and Laurie update energy analysis with revised usage data DONE
    • Kirsten update energy usage data for Apts. 2 & 3 with input from Laurie, Michel and/or Emily DONE
    • Michel update floor plans with crawl space vs. slab and square footage DONE
    • Kirsten update energy analysis with Michel’s info DONE
    • Kirsten build energy model for existing building and compare to energy analysis DONE
    • Group decision: Which area or apartment should be targeted for improvement? DONE
    • Michel will try to get common area energy bills
  • 5/16/12
    • Start with one room (South-exposure)
      • Fundamental learning will create confidence/momentum to do larger things in integrated way
    • Crowdsource sustainability initiatives?
    • To-dos
      • Determine dollar amount (Michel)
      • Air infiltration for whole building/airflow rates (Ken)
      • Get HVAC specs (Michel)
      • AC equipment inspection? (Laurie coordinate)
      • Research window film to prevent excess heat (3M product?)
      • Contact Chris about crowdfunding (Matt)
  • Crowdfunding Conversation

Phase II - No / Low Cost Actions

  • Air Infiltration (10 - 15%)
    • Doors...weatherstripping / thresholds / sweeps
    • Windows caulk exterior (repair water leak window)
    • Venting fans...sealed and on timers
    • Outlet / Switch boxes foamed
    • Bottom of Siding
    • Plumbing stacks
    • Durabond 90 hard sand with paper tape to seal all cracks in walls


  • Maintenance of Current Equipment (5 - 10%)
    • Clean or replace filters (every 3 months)
    • Setback thermostats
    • Inspect and seal ducts especially exterior
    • Clean refrigerator coils
    • Get equipment inspected ($125 each)


  • Select Lighting (> 50% reduction of lighting load)
    • CFL's in lights (reduce by 70%)
    • Photocells outside
    • Motion detector on critical lights (on the most)


  • Hot Water Tanks
    • Check temp make sure not too hot
    • Thermal Blanket on each tank ($25 each)
    • Turn off / down when not occupied


  • Energy Sippers?
    • TV's, electronic equipment


  • Behavioral (20 - 30%)
    • Turn down heat in rooms not in use
    • "Green routines" guide book for the residents
    • Post energy / water usage charts
  • Prototype

Phase II - Holistic

  • Reduce Demand - envelop insulation and Air Infiltration
  • Windows - R + low-e Coating
  • Furnace


Phase III - Moderate Cost Improvements / Short payback

  • Measurement, analysis and verification
  • Blower door test (through DTE?) for incentives
    • Shows how much total infiltration is occurring
    • When combined with smoke tests, can help target areas for improvement
  • Thermal imaging and analysis
    • Shows where large temperature differentials exist
    • When performed by a professional can help illustrate where thermal bridging and air leaks are occurring
    • Can assist with targeting areas for improvement
  • Balance return and supply air
    • Pressure balance ducts
    • Relatively cheap to test and balance, compared to adding insulation
    • Can check the balance situation with manometer
    • Need to know or determine what the airflow rates should be in each space


  • Envelope improvements
  • Professional window coating to cut heat gain, especially on south and west facing windows
  • Silver or white paint over the tar roof
    • Reduces heat island effect
    • Reduces solar radiation entering building
    • May help keep HVAC equipment cooler in summer
  • Spray foam around windows from inside (Home Depot, "window and door" foam, blue can)
    • Reduces infiltration
    • Pull casing around windows off first
    • Apply foam, let harden, replace casing
  • Tuck point brick
    • Reduces infiltration, water damage potential
    • Have a mason do this or consult one for correct mortar mix
  • Water damage needs to be corrected, may also help with infiltration, at least in that spot
    • This is more of a structural/health concern rather than thermal
    • This needs to be taken care of to prevent further damage, mold growth


Phase IV - High First Cost Improvements / Long term payback

  • Insulation strategy: (Don’t cover up holes on inside because you would need to use for access to insulate)
    • Roof first, insulate from underneath

Low Cost/No Cost Brainstorm 4/4/12

Target Apt 1 to start

  • (1) Infiltration
    • patch holes in walls
    • requires some advisement from Ken
  • (2) Insulate ceiling (btw Apt 1 & Apt 3) ($)
    • on top of tin
    • Cellulose
    • Would have additional benefit of soundproofing
  • (3) Build out walls ($$)
    • Currently not enough room for insulation
    • Talk to landlord for $$ help
  • (4) Floor?
    • Insulating rug pads?
    • Talk to landlord about working together to replace floor
  • Next step
    • Meeting with Michel, Ken, & Jerry (next couple weeks)
    • Group meeting after that