Revamping existing buildings to make them energy efficient

http://m.phys.org/news/2014-03-revamping-energy-efficient.html

” The EU-funded BRICKER project aims to develop ways of reducing energy consumption by 50% in existing buildings, within the next four years.”

That is pretty aggressive.  Most buildings in NYC who enroll in the NYSERDA MPP program struggle to meet 20% savings with an sir of 1.0

  “Passive technologies include new aerating windows, with an integrated, newly patented electronic heat exchanger, new PIR (PolyIsocyanurate)-based insulation foams with embedded phase-change materials (PCM’s)— which are substances capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy—and state of the art ventilated facades, commercial windows and insulation panels.”

What is the payback on these technologies?  Are they readily available in the US?

Can the US implement a similar program?

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Is it cheaper to leave your heating on all the time or turn it on and off? | TheGreenAge

As the article discusses…the answer is it depends and the best approach is to conduct a test to see how your building performs.  Most energy efficient homes have a programmable thermostat so the heating isnt either on/off but operates based on outdoor temperature setpoint, indoor temperature setpoint as well as setup for night setback.

One other thing to consider is whether your heating system is oversized. If one decides to leave their system on 24/7 the oversized unit may short cycle (turn on/off in short period of time before reaching steady state) to maintain a setpoint which wastes energy.
http://www.thegreenage.co.uk/is-it-cheaper-to-leave-your-heating-on-all-the-time-or-turn-it-on-and-off/