Construction Design-Service Cavity

This post was first published at www.greenbuildingadvisor.com.

There are many methods used to make a home airtight, it all comes down to one simple rule, continuity.  Continuity is easily attained when there’s nothing that penetrates the air barrier.  No electrical boxes, plumbing drains and vents or ducts that need to extend from inside a building’s envelope to the outside.  Of course, there are times when different things need to extend from inside to outside, like the need for an outside water faucet.  But there are also many occasions when different systems end up outside that don’t need to be outside.  For example, forced air heating and cooling ducts that leave the conditioned space of the home simply because there was no space to keep them hidden inside the home.  Planning a service cavity can help keep most mechanicals inside the building envelope. Continue reading “Construction Design-Service Cavity”

Construction Design-Randy’s Dream Design

Guess what?  I just won the lottery!  (Not really, but for the purpose of this blog, let’s pretend.)  I’m looking to build myself a new home.  I have choices.  I could build a McMansion with plenty of space I don’t need and will never use.  I could concentrate only on the interior finishes and how the house looks.  If you’ve ever read my blog, you already know what direction I’ll take.  The house won’t be big, a couple thousand square feet is plenty for me, maybe a rambler with a second story over part of it built on a slab, no basement or crawlspace.  Being a BS* guy, I would make an invest in the stuff that is hidden, those pesky control layers I often talk about.  It would be based on the Pretty Good House concept. Continue reading “Construction Design-Randy’s Dream Design”

Construction Design-Interior Air Barrier? Exterior Air Barrier? Or Both!

When designing the concrete-less slab on grade home, I gave serious thought to the location of the air barrier.  I have used water resistive barrier (WRB) or house wraps for years without a good understanding how they work as an air barrier.  In my climate, most homes use polyethylene sheeting as an interior (and main) air barrier.  As it turns out, there are better choices. Continue reading “Construction Design-Interior Air Barrier? Exterior Air Barrier? Or Both!”