ENERTIA   HOMES No Fuel? No Power? .......No Problem

Mass Timber in North Carolina

North Carolina’s Environmental Hero

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“Enertia is…..as significant as the flight of the first airplane in Kitty Hawk.” Builders Trade Journal

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The Holy Grail of builders for ten thousand years has been - a house that heats and cools itself, without effort, without fuel, without electricity. It has never been achieved until now. For the first time in history this is now possible due to an amazing invention by a North Carolina builder, and the unique properties of our Southern Yellow Pine trees.
Raleigh builder Michael Sykes noticed, while building a log home in Cary, that the Southern Yellow Pine logs were storing heat from the sunlight during the day. As an NC State engineering grad he took the observation to NC State’s Hodges Wood Laboratory. It’s the resin - it acts as a phase change material, similar to paraffin and glycerin. This is exactly the property that is needed for a solar house- the ability to store daytime energy and release it at night. If you can do it with the very material with which the house is built- it is a perfect match.
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With help from Cary engineer Dave Fischetti, world famous for the Old Salem Timber Bridge (left, below) and relocating the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Michael developed a mass timber building system for self-heating / self-cooling houses made entirely of NC’s most abundant renewable material.
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This alone would be remarkable, and justifiable, when done with any material, even a rare scarce one. But to have it be North Carolina’s most abundant and renewed material, which actually cleans the air as it grows, is just short of a miracle. Pine trees, pine resin - how appropriate for the “Land of the Long Leaf Pine” and the “TarHeel” state.

To get the solar energy into the Pine, Michael used the newly publicized, but millions years-old, phenomena called the “Greenhouse Effect.” Most stories on this were written negatively- that the “Greenhouse Effect” was destroying the planet, but Sykes reasoned if it was keeping the planet warm, and responsible for life itself, it could be used to heat our houses. Thus US Patent No. 4,621,614 on a mass timber house with a built-in atmosphere, was granted.
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This discovery lead to a new way of building houses, and Michael named them Enertia® Houses as the energy efficiency comes from thermal inertia, not insulation or tightness. It was a word he made up, and trademarked, to represent the mathematical unit that was repeating in his calculations, and for the house design itself. A new word, a new concept, and a new form of energy originated in North Carolina- is now found in college textbooks like Environmental Science
Several variations of the house were tried until finally a new model, appropriately named “Southern Pines” got underway off Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. Since it was a totally new building method it was guided through the permit process by inspector Barry Mooneyham. Southern Pines is now a popular Enertia® model, and has been built as far north as New York.
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North Carolina

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Enertia Building Systems has received the NC Governor’s Energy Efficiency Award and a similar award from the US Department of Energy.
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In 1999, a Guilford County Enertia® Home was named the most innovative structure of the twentieth century by the American Wood Preservers Institute in Fairfax, Virginia.
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In 2007 Enertia® was chosen Grand Prize Winner of the US Patent office Invent Now Challenge, a competition to select America’s most significant invention. MIchael Sykes received the award from Steve Wozniak, co-inventor of the Personal Computer.

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And in 2019 a Charlotte NC Enertia® home, Meridian, was featured in Dwell Magazine.

As Sykes’ design firm began applying the new concept to other problems, one was electric cars, he realized he had uncovered a new form of energy: Enertia® - energy from a shift-in-time, the first energy form to be discovered and named by a North Carolinian. This is why Michael Sykes, and Enertia® homes have been compared to the Wright Brothers, and the airplane. And got him inclusion in Kevin Graham’s book Environmental Heroes.
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Read the full story: From Casual Observation to Modern Marvel: http://enertia.com/about.html

This Technology Will Benefit North Carolina First

North Carolina’s main agricultural product is tree-farmed pine lumber. This resinous lumber is how we got the name “TarHeel” state, from the sticky resin getting on the workers feet.
The forest sector was the top employer among manufacturing sectors in the state, contributing over 20 billion dollars.
The construction method known as “Mass Timber” uses lumber to take the place of insulation- whose performance deteriorates with time, as it settles within the wall. It is also stronger pound-for-pound than steel, leading to houses that can resist hurricanes and tornadoes. Mass timber is also fire resistant. Try lighting a big chunk of timber with a match, while stacks of spaced sticks (like a 2x4 stick-framed house) are often used to start fires.

The key is the new IBC Mass Timber Building Code, as people learn about MT’s superiority in strength, longevity, and hurricane resistance.

So as soon as North Carolina adopts the new Mass Timber sections of the IBC building code, already adopted by most of the western states and Texas, our number one industry will take off, perhaps double, with a new application for lumber: storing energy in timber. North Carolina is poised to be leader in Mass Timber homes with the new Mass Timber Research Campus on Capital Boulevard just North of Raleigh.
With this new technology, energy efficiency comes from thermal inertia (Enertia®) of the wood, rather than tightness- a dangerous house design strategy that has led to “sick building syndrome” and is especially dangerous in times of pandemic. Now ventilation is fine, as the warmth is in the wood (which surrounds you, and radiates to you) not in trapped hot air. The Southern Yellow Pine wood acts like a thermal battery, storing each days heat energy from sunlight, and releasing it at night. That is Enertia® - energy from a shift-in-time.
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This is the technology that won Grand Prize in the 2007 US Patent Office Invent Now Challenge, and earned the Enertia® house design the designation of “Modern Marvel.”
Since 1986, Enertia® has designed and built over 30 mass timber homes in North Carolina, and 70+ in 28 other states as far north as Vermont and Minnesota. Many in the western states, where every winter day is sunny, do not need, nor have, have furnaces.
Mass Timber is the future, and North Carolina is positioned to be the leader with its vast Southern Yellow Pine forest industry.

For more information contact Michael Sykes at 919-556-2391
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