I often hear during energy audits, complaints about windows. Many homeowners feel the windows are cheaply made and replacement will result in substantial energy savings and an increase in comfort for the home. Sometimes the windows are a major cause of comfort problems, more often, the window installation is the issue. This blog post is about three different ways we air seal windows today.
Continue reading “Construction Design-Air Sealing Windows”
What is a Barndominium?
A building technique that uses the shell of a typically less expensive barn or post and frame structure to be used as a home. (Don’t confuse post and frame with timber frame.) This “house” often includes a large garage or shop space, or maybe a better description is the garage or shop area includes living quarters.
Continue reading “Construction Design-Barndominium”
Most new homes built today follow the prescriptive code path for energy efficiency. Those requirements will depend on the code cycle of your area and your exact climate zone. The requirement for my area are 3, 3.33, 10, 15, 20, and 49. These are the code minimum performance numbers for different assemblies in the home. Let’s discuss each of these numbers, and then I’ll give my opinion as to where I think they should be. I’ll start with the number three and go in the order of the list. Continue reading “Construction Design-Performance Metrics”
When I purchased my old home, the 1952 Cape in late 2018, the basement area looked good. Someone took the time to paint all the concrete walls and floor and cleaned everything up to look nice. Shortly after we moved in, the cat caught a mouse and then the following summer, the basement became a bug gathering place. Ants, spiders and other bugs apparently wintered in another area and returned to my house in the spring.
Continue reading “Construction Design-Insects and Rodents”
I’ve written about sub-slab insulation and heated floors several times over the past couple years, this post is about something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, using a fibrous insulation, like Rockwool’s ComfortBoard 80 or 110 under a concrete slab with hot water heat. The questions I had about this strategy are one, will there be an issue with compression of the insulation when concrete is poured over the product? And two, will a staple be able to hold the hot water tubing in place?
Rockwool ComfortBoard being installed below a concrete slab. Photo by Travis Brungardt
Continue reading “Construction Design-Using Fibrous Sub-Slab Insulation with In-Floor Heat”
This post originally appeared on GreenBuildingAdvisor – Green Building Advisor is the one-stop source for builders, remodelers, architects & homeowners looking for expert advice on green products, strategies & proven construction details.
I was introduced to using closed cell spray foam (CCSF) below a slab a few years ago by New England contractor Wade Paquin of WKP Construction. He was insulating the below grade slabs of his new homes by spraying a couple inches over a bed of stone, then pouring the concrete. I have now had the opportunity to try this insulation method over a couple projects, Continue reading “Construction Design-Closed Cell Spray Foam Below a Slab”
Radon is a naturally occurring soil gas that is present in many locations throughout North America. The gas can’t be seen, smelled, or tasted but it is known to cause lung cancer. Continue reading “Construction Design-Radon”
Not every new home built has the budget to be high performance. That doesn’t mean some energy efficiency measures and decisions based on sound building science can’t be added to a design to build a better house. Continue reading “Construction Design-Building Code Minimum”
You would think that in my very cold climate of Northern Minnesota, we would be putting as much insulation in our walls and roofs as possible. Not the case. The majority of new homes I blower door test have the code minimum R-21 of wall cavity insulation Continue reading “Construction Design-Continuous Exterior Insulation”
At the time of this writing, construction on the code minimum house is coming to an end. This has been a fun and rewarding project for me because not only was I able to design much of the home, I was also directly involved in the construction. Continue reading “Construction Design-Code Minimum House-Mechanicals”