Shorts-If They’re Not Asking, And You’re Not Telling, Somebody’s Assuming

I was recently teaching a continuing education class on energy code, the class was attended by about 100 general contractors.  We covered a lot of information about energy and building science, one of the topics I discussed, and was hoping every contractor there would remember, was the topic; who is responsible?

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Building Science-Ice Dams

This year seems to be a good (or bad depending on how you look at it) year for ice dam problems in my area, the intensity of ice dams seems to change year to year.  I was recently on an ice dam diagnostic with an insulating contractor and a general contractor, the home was built in the early 1990’s and there is evidence there have been issues from the beginning.  We spent a couple hours testing this home, I’ll get into what we found in a bit.

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Building Science-Existing Construction Improvements

This three-part series first appeared on the Green Building Advisor website and has been condensed into one post.

An unconditioned and uninsulated crawlspace, an unsealed and uninsulated forced air heating system, and an uncovered dirt floor, which by the way has a sewage leak.  If this were your home and you wanted to make improvements, where would you start? Continue reading “Building Science-Existing Construction Improvements”

Construction Design-Performance Metrics

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”

Construction Design-Insects and Rodents

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.

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Construction Design-Using Fibrous Sub-Slab Insulation with In-Floor Heat

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

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