New Energy Codes



Energy Efficiencies in Homes

New  Energy Codes based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Council that were recently adopted by Farragut and other municipalities in E. TN

Special Guests:

John Householder with the Town of Farragut

Scott Higgins of Prudent Energy Systems

  • New codes (2012 IECC) that were recently adopted by Farragut and other municipalities in E. TN
  • Focus on the whole house as system and the importance of its how its components interact with one another.
  • Way that new code has been received and is being phased in over time by the Town of Farragut to give building community time to learn best building science practices and what’s required to produce an efficient home.
  • Success of builders community in meeting new codes and how simplistic it is to achieve new code-from cost to building techniques.
  • Builders are taking efficiency standards from Farragut and applying them to new homes in other jurisdictions.

Today our Energy Efficiency series focuses on a complete energy audit of your home. Prudent Energy systems is a full service home performance building company serving the Knoxville area.  Their services include:

They work to maximize your home’s energy efficiency, eradicate any indoor air quality and other safety problems at the source, and optimize building durability and integrity.  Capable of working as a 3rd party verifier or as a turnkey performance contractor, we will work to ensure your goals are achieved. We’re certified, verified, and have over 20 years of experience under our tool belt.

Home Energy Evaluations: Great Information for Existing Homes

Chances are, you’re spending much more on utility bills than you need to be.  A home energy audit gives you the opportunity to fix that.  Using the latest technology, including a blower door to assess air leakage, a duct blaster to assess duct leakage and infrared thermography, a comprehensive home energy audit will point out leaks in your home’s thermal envelope, deficiencies in insulation, and other opportunities to stop heat loss and reduce energy consumption, while improving the comfort and safety of your home. In addition to recommending fixes to reduce energy, we’ll also evaluate carbon monoxide safety, mold and other air quality issues and improvements to temperature and lighting comfort. Our comprehensive audit report will include a prioritized list of potential improvements, and an estimate of the savings our recommended work will likely lead to.

Video of the Home audit:

Market in Review


Newsletter-March 3rd, 2014

Mark Griffith
co-host: The Housing Hour
NMLS #181569 TN License # 101988
Mortgage Investors Group

Market Comment
Mortgage bond prices finished the week higher, which pushed rates lower. Prices were positive throughout almost the entire week. Weaker than expected consumer confidence data Tuesday morning set the tone and resulted in lower rates. New home sales were higher than expected but mortgage interest rates did not react much to the stronger release. Weekly jobless claims were higher than expected @ 348k versus the expected 335k and mortgage bond prices rose Thursday morning. Gross domestic product in the fourth quarter was revised lower. GDP rose 2.4% versus the expected 2.6% mark. Mortgage interest rates finished the week better by 5/8 of a discount point.

Economic Indicator Release Date & Time Consensus Estimate Analysis
Personal Income and Outlays Monday, March 3, 10:00 am, et Up 0.1%, Up 0.3% Important. A measure of consumers’ ability to spend. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
PCE Core Inflation Monday, March 3, 10:00 am, et Up 0.1% Important. A measure of price increases for all domestic personal consumption. Weaker figure may help rates improve.
ISM Index Monday, March 3, 10:00 am, et 51.8 Important. A measure of manufacturer sentiment. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
ADP Employment Wednesday, March 5, 2:00 pm, et 145k Important. An indication of employment. Weakness may bring lower rates.
Fed “Beige Book” Wednesday, March 5, 2:00 pm, et None Important. This Fed report details current economic conditions across the US. Signs of weakness may lead to lower rates.
Weekly Jobless Claims Thursday, March 6, 8:30 am, et 327k Important. An indication of employment. Higher claims may result in lower rates.
Revised Q4 Productivity Thursday, March 6, 8:30 am, et Up 1.2% Important. A measure of output per hour. Improvement may lead to lower mortgage rates.
Factory Orders Thursday, March 6, 10:00 am, et Up 0.1% Important. A measure of manufacturing sector strength. Weakness may lead to lower rates.
Employment Friday, March 7, 8:30 am, et 6.6%, Payrolls +125k/td>

Very important. An increase in unemployment or weakness in payrolls may bring lower rates.
Trade Data Friday, March 7, 8:30 am, et $38.2b deficit Important. Affects the value of the dollar. A falling deficit may strengthen the dollar and lead to lower rates.


The employment report provides an abundance of information for many sectors of the economy and is probably the most important piece of data released each month. Not only does the release give basic employment payroll statistics for the major working sectors, it also provides the average hourly earnings and the average workweek. Economists use this information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor to estimate many other economic indicators such as industrial production, personal income, housing starts, and GDP monthly revisions. Since there is little data for economists to base their estimates on, the margin of error for the estimates tends to be high. As a result, the employment report can cause substantial market movements. The BLS compiles data from two unrelated surveys that they conduct, the household survey and the establishment survey, in order to complete the report. This explains why there is sometimes a divergence between the unemployment rate and payrolls figure. Be alert heading into the release.

Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Mortgage Market Information Services, Inc. The information contained herein is believed to be accurate, however no representation or warranties are written or implied.

MORTGAGE MARKET IN REVIEW RateLink Newsletter-March 10th, 2014 bad

Agrilab Technologies: Gaelan Brown


Special Guest: Gaelan Brown


Composting to Recover Heat, Build Soil and Grow Food

What is Compost Heat Recovery?

Agrilab Technologies: Gaelan Brown

Heat recovery from composting was practiced anecdotally in China 2000 years ago by placing garbage between greenhouse growing beds to generate heat. In the 1970’s French Farmer Jean Pain promoted the practice of coiling pipes through decomposing wood chips to heat water. The New Alchemy Institute did further research and demonstration using active compost and heat recovery in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Compost is natural recycling – converting food scraps, leaves, manures into soil building compost and mulch. During the decomposition process, medium and large compost piles generate substantial heat. The biological process releases energy visible as steam.We capture the steam/vapor generated during the composting process (125-165ºF) and channel it through an insulated network. An efficient electric fan, or fans on a timer, control the vacuum of the compost vapor. It is drawn into a controlled chamber which houses 6-12 Isobar® tubes – two-phase super conductors which transfer the heat from the vapor. A portion of the Isobars® are sealed into a water tank.

When the water temperature in the pre-heater reaches the desired temperature, it can then be directly circulated to where it is needed. The heated water could also be transferred into larger hot water reservoirs for direct use or circulated for specific heating needs. The only moving parts are the small in-line blower fan(s) and a required circulator pump for the heated water. Both are commonly available and easily replaced if necessary.

Our patented Isobar technology facilitates capturing the heat generated during the composting process. This heat can then be used for numerous applications ranging from space heating of buildings, greenhouses, aquaculture, or hot water and facilities needs. Farms, composters and waste management companies currently use propane, oil and diesel for the bulk of their energy needs. Heat capture and transfer can play a valuable role in offsetting dependence and expenses related to the use of these traditional fuels.

Containerized Isobar Unit (CIU)

Agrilab Technologies LLC, AGT’s Isobar® system actively aerates composting materials to eliminate the need for mechanical “turning” of the feedstock, reducing the cost of compost production. The patented Isobar® heat-exchange tubes capture thermal energy from the compost to create large reliable volumes of hot water (110-130 degrees F) for use in space-heating, winter greenhouses, radiant floors, or process heat for wash water and sterilization. AGT has several successful systems in operation on farms and compost facilities in VT, NH and NY including at Jasper Hill Creamery and the University of New Hampshire. The new Containerized Isobar® Unit (CIU) makes the system mobile and easy to deploy with any existing compost-production operation.

The CIU is housed in a standard 40’ shipping container and is designed to produce 80,000 to 200,000 Btu/hr continuously depending on the amount of compost being produced. This can result in $35,000 to $70,000 per year in potential energy + compost value with operations that have 5 to 10 cubic yards of average daily compost feedstock volume.

Vapor from active compost piles is drawn into ductwork from a series of pipes aligned with bays, or windrows of active compost. The number of intake pipes corresponds to the number of compost bays and can be managed by shut- off valves. The intake pipes consolidate into one pipe which connects to the Isobar® Unit (CIU).
How does it work?
​AGT’s unique approach pulls heated vapor from the bottom of an aerated compost pile or an in-vessel composting system. In most cases, infloor aeration channels are set into an insulated concrete slab to enable negative aeration (suction). The aerated concrete slab makes it possible to produce compost on a commercial scale without regular batch turning because the system actively aerates the material throughout the process.
Mixed manure, bedding, separated solids, or other biomass are loaded on the composting floor on top of a layer of wood chips. The wood chips promote air distribution at the base of the compost. The CIU is designed for a minimum of 5 cubic yards of average daily feedstock volume.

Vapor from active compost piles is drawn into ductwork from a series of pipes aligned with bays, or windrows of active compost. The number of intake pipes corresponds to the number of compost bays and can be managed by shut- off valves. The intake pipes consolidate into one pipe which connects to the Isobar® Unit (CIU).

Vapor from hot compost is pulled into the Isobar® Heat Recovery Unit vapor duct. Shown here is a system installed in a utility room. In the CIU, this ductwork and all of the heat exchange and control systems are inside the 40 foot container. The CIU also houses an integrated control system which monitors vapor temperatures and operating conditions. This data can be monitored remotely and recorded to track trends in temperature.

The Isobar® heat transfer tubes extend through the vapor duct and into a primary exchange water tank, where the thermal energy is transferred to heated water. The heated water can be pumped to reservoirs and used for wash water, provide pre-heated water for a boiler, or used in radiant heat.

Installed Systems

Protect Your Family: ReadyTn


When individuals are better prepared,
their communities emergency resources can stretch further and are better able to assist those in dire need.

Protect Your Family Series

Be prepared— Get ReadyTN.

ReadyTN promotes preparedness and provides situational awareness in Tennessee. Emergency preparedness is an individual responsibility. It’s important for you to be able to care for your family and assist those in your community when a disaster strikes. The goal of TEMA’s ReadyTN awareness campaign is to provide guidance to help you know what to do before, during and after emergencies. On this website, you can find out how to make a family preparedness plan, learn about the traditional threats faced by Tennesseans and download a smartphone application that can provide enhanced situational awareness during emergencies.

ReadyTN: Mobile Preparedness App

State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) Activation Level

Level 5 – Normal Operation

Declaration of State Emergency Activation Levels

Activation levels are established to assist the emergency management leadership and the public to understand the initial and current size of the emergency and probable manpower levels. The State Emergency Operations Center is activated in the minimum size required to provide adequate support of the emergency. This serves to meet economy of force and minimizes unnecessary costs. As the emergency grows or diminishes, the size of the SEOC will be adjusted to meet changing conditions. The Governor under TCA 58-2-107 may declare a state of emergency by proclamation or executive order. An alternate method of declaration allowed by law is established through the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP), signed by the Governor, that authorizes a state of emergency to be declared automatically when the Director of TEMA directs the SEOC to be formed at Activation Level 3 or higher. A state of emergency is retired at Activation Level 5 when normal operation is resumed.

Level 5 – Normal Operation
No state declaration of emergency exists at this level. TEMA Operations and Communications Branch is in a normal duty status.

Level 4 – Elevated (or State of Emergency Continues)
This level may be declared when there is a potential or likelihood of an emergency developing or worsening. The decision to augment the Operations watch-point staff establishes this level of activation. TEMA Operations and Communications Branch performs more frequent monitoring. This level also may represent a period of decreased staffing at the end of an emergency. This status also describes an administratively-continued emergency period remaining from the Governor’s declaration of emergency or proclamation (no longer than 60 days without extension) when waivers of law are still required for response or recovery.

Level 3 – Declaration of State Emergency
This level describes an event or period when a serious emergency has occurred or the situation is deteriorating rapidly, and public warnings are being issued. The Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) are activated at this level in accordance with TCA 58-2-107(b)(2), and this action by law declares a state of emergency. Only key or specifically needed emergency service coordinators are called to duty.

Level 2 – Major Disaster
A major disaster as defined by TCA 58-2-101 as an event that will likely exceed local capabilities and require a broad range of state and federal assistance. The TEMP and the SEOC are activated in accordance with TCA 58-2-107(b)(2), and a decision by the Governor or his representative (Director of TEMA) declares a state of emergency. The full staff or most of the staff of the SEOC is activated, typically in a 24-hour continuous operation. This disaster may meet eligibility requirements for a federal disaster declaration under the provisions of the Stafford Act.

Level 1 – Catastrophic Disaster
The Governor or his representative (Director of TEMA) may declare a state of emergency when a catastrophe occurs or may potentially occur. TCA 58-2-101 defines this level as including immediate military involvement in addition to the other requirements found in Level 2. The disaster would be one of great magnitude, and deaths will probably have occurred or the potential is very high. Under the TEMP the full staff of the SEOC would be activated.

Snow on Roof vs Insulation


Snow on Roof vs Insulation

Your roof can show you signs of insulation issues! “Patchy frost/snow on your roof is a sign of a higher than necessary utility bill.  Warm air inside your home leaks into the attic through gaps in the Thermal Boundary (Insulation) and the Air Pressure Boundary and will warm the underside of the roof causing snow and ice to melt.  Attics are outside of your homes conditioned boundary, and should be kept separated from the living space with an adequate Thermal and Air Pressure Boundary. Prudent Energy System

Snow is a great way to do a visual inspection of your roof and energy efficiency. If  snow falls over night – dusting or so – notice in the morning what the pattern of melting is on your roof, then check your neighbor’s roof. If you see the snow before the sun has had a chance to work on it and before the wind has blown it around, you can see a lot about the efficiency of a house. All we can see are problems in the attic, not in the rest of the house. The following pictures were taken before 8:00 AM the morning after the same light snow.

insulation in your roofHere is a house to envy. Ranch houses have a better chance of being efficient than other types because of their simple geometry. The snow is not affected by the heated house, meaning that the attic floor is reasonably airtight and insulation is sufficient.


roof2This house is good news and bad news. The good news is that it is beautifully restored and from the 18th century, but the bad news is the owner is paying to melt the snow on his roof. Very little insulation and a leaky attic floor.


roof3Here is a pretty good addition on the back of an inefficient main house.


roof4This shot shows a duplex.
Which side has the insulated and air sealed attic?
Which one has the higher bill?


roof5The split-level is a common type of house in our area, built from the 50’s to the 80’s. It’s a two-story house that has been split in the middle and the sides shifted up and down. That split wall in the middle is an open pathway from the basement to the lower of the two attics. Here you can see the heat from the interior has melted the snow on the lower attic roof, but not on the upper attic roof.


roof6Can you spot the missing insulation?


roof7This dutch colonial has the typical holes in the house across the front into the small roof area above the front door. This results in a cold floor on the second floor and higher energy use.


roof8This is the worst energy problem we build in to houses – the Cape Cod Syndrome. The small triangular attics across the front and back are open into the house. This problem not only wastes energy, it takes the moisture in the air from your cooking, showering, and breathing and puts it into the attics where it can cause mold and rot. Notice the addition on the left is pretty good.


roof9Row houses are not immune from problems – in fact they can have some of the worst. These two attached houses have the Cap Cod Syndrome going on, but also notice the straight line of melted snow up the center of the roof. This is the common wall that we all think is “free heat”. A middle row unit has 2 of these energy wasters and can have higher bills than the end row unit has.


roof10Ever wonder about those ducts in the attic? They cool the attic in the summer and heat it in the winter, and cost you in both money and comfort. The roof on the left is a cathedral ceiling that is poorly insulated, but the roof on the right is full of ductwork.


roof11This shot was taken after a much larger snowstorm. Notice how quaint the building looks with the icicles hanging down the front eave. This is caused by a warm attic that melts the snow layer from the bottom. That water runs down the warm roof until it hits the cold area at the edge where it freezes and backs up under the shingles. You can get water in the attic and the house, and a lot of damage.So next time it snows, let your neighbors know what you think of their efficiency.


Check out our entire series on Energy Efficiency in Homes.

The Wocket


The World of Wallets is about to change!

The Wocket

Special Guest: David Tunnell, co-founder and chief architect

The world of wallets is about to change. New exciting technologies are making payments easier than ever. However, many credit card holders either do not possess a smartphone or will be reluctant to use their smartphone for mobile payments due to a variety of reasons.

Rather than depend on a potentially unreliable cell phone, NXT-ID introduces a truly next generation digital wallet: the wocket™. This unique technology takes a very different approach: Instead of replacing the wallet, we are improving it! Our innovative wocket™ reduces the number of cards in your wallet while supporting virtually every payment method currently available at Point-of-Sale (POS) at retailers around the world including magnetic stripe, EMV/NFC and barcode…all within a secure vault within your wallet.

Now you can use the wallet you know and love, but with the wocket™ advanced secure electronic wallet technology from NXT-ID.

MobileBio™ wocket™

David Tunnell Bio:

David Tunnell is an expert in biometrics, secure communications, and wearable technologies.  With over 29 years of experience in building technologies and companies, Mr. Tunnell’s experience spans computer security (COMSEC), signal intelligence (SIGINT), communications intelligence (COMINT), and image intelligence (IMINT).  An advocate of privacy and co-founder of NXT-ID, Inc., an early stage technology company, Mr. Tunnell is leading NXT’s efforts to redefine how private information is protected within mobile applications.  As the chief architect of the Wocket™ smart wallet, Mr. Tunnell is focused on developing technologies with high potential to disrupt industries such as the mobile payment industry with innovative methods that protect privacy.
Mr. Tunnell’s accomplishments include the Technology of the Year award from Frost & Sullivan for biometrics in 2006 and inventor of a Top Ten Invention for the US Army in 2004.  Blessed to work with some of the most inventive engineers and scientists, Mr. Tunnell has pioneered a number of technologies including remote distributed sensing and processing, 3D facial recognition and imaging, 3D fingerprint, voice recognition, dynamic biometric-enabled authentication and encryption key generation, and miniature, low-power wearable technologies.

Mr. Tunnell brings a wealth of product development and product marketing experience to NXT-ID, Inc.  He was the divisional director of 3D identification products at Technest Holdings Inc. from 2003 to 2012.  Prior to Technest, he served as an adjunct faculty teaching various advanced technology courses at the National Cryptologic School while working with various intelligence agencies and later at L3 Communications where he served as Director of Engineering for a subsidiary.  He has also served as the Principle Investigator for numerous research programs with the United States Department of Defense (DoD).  Mr. Tunnell holds a Masters in Technical Management (MSTM) from Johns Hopkins University and a BSEE from the University of Tennessee.