A Remarkable Advance in Energy Saving Building Technology


Independent university research determined that the EnergyBlock wall system can cut energy usage by 29 percent. The study was completed in March 2013 by students in the OSU-Cascades Energy Systems Engineering program. Overall, the findings were very favorable indicating that the EnergyBlock wall system saved 58,750 BTU/day equating to 29 percent of total energy compared to a similarly built wood-framed home. In addition, the CO2 emissions reduced due to the energy saved is 1.6 tons per year.

SunTerra EnergyBlock is an energy efficient wall system that utilizes the principle of thermal mass to create an even temperature throughout a home or building year-round. The thermal mass absorbs heat energy when the surroundings are higher in temperature than the mass and gives thermal heat back when the surroundings are cooler. This produces the most efficient and comfortable living environment available for the occupants.

This proves what current homeowners have experienced in their SunTerra home. In February of 2012, they left their home for a three week vacation and turned off all heat other than the passive solar window array with an automatic shutter that opens in the morning and closes in the evening. Upon their return, the interior temperature was 57°, a drop of only 10° during the period. The average outdoor temperature during this time was 30° and the average overnight low temperature was 19°.

“We were very excited to be selected as a project by the OSU-Cascades students to study the energy efficiency of the EnergyBlock wall system,” said Jim Chauncey, designer/builder and inventor of the of SunTerra EnergyBlock. “We were very confident that the research would prove out what our homeowners were already experiencing, and it did.”

Each year the students in the OSU-Cascades Energy Systems Engineering program need to complete a capstone project as part of their degree course work. The program is a combination of mechanical and industrial engineering core courses supplemented with energy-related and business management courses, and is offered in partnership with Oregon State University’s College of Engineering.

Energy systems engineers oversee complex energy conversion and distribution systems, work to improve energy storage systems, and manage the efficient use of energy in building, manufacturing, and processing systems. These engineers also study the secondary effects of energy usage from a local environmental impact, regional and national economic impact, and global climate change perspective.

One of the projects selected in the fall of 2012 was the opportunity to design and implement a study to monitor the energy efficiency of a SunTerra EnergyBlock home in Sisters.

The system is readily available to architects, builders and consumers in the Pacific Northwest. The company is looking toward expansion throughout the U.S. and Canada.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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