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Things You Do Not Need

And a few things you do

Posted on Feb 9 2018 by Martin Holladay
prime

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Midwest Construction

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The Difficulty of Updating Georgia’s Energy Code

Trying to get airtightness below 7 ach50 has been a struggle

Posted on May 10 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

Seven years ago, Georgia led the nation. Yep. We were the first state to adopt an energy code that made blower door testing mandatory. All new homes built in the state had to show through performance testing that they had an air leakage rate of less than 7 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure difference (ach50).


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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The Energy Conservatory’s New Blower Door Kit

TEC did its homework: its new blower door package is a truly engineered and integrated equipment system

Posted on Apr 27 2017 by Peter Yost

I don’t do blower door work every day, but I do enough of it to appreciate the attention to detail that The Energy Conservatory (TEC) built into its new blower door kit. The kit features a digital pressure and air flow gauge, the DG1000.


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Image Credits:

  1. Images #1, #2, and #3: The Energy Conservatory
  2. Image #4: Peter Yost

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Air Sealing and Insulation in the ProHOME

Building an airtight house requires the right materials and the right techniques

Posted on Apr 24 2017 by Mike Guertin

Editor's note: This post originally was published as part of the ProHOME series at Fine Homebuilding magazine. Mike Guertin, an editorial adviser at the magazine, is building the house in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.


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Image Credits:

  1. Fine Homebuilding

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Nearing the Home Stretch

Exterior finish work has started and insulation is coming soon

Posted on Dec 26 2016 by Carl Seville

Carl Seville and his wife are building themselves a new home in Decatur, Georgia. The first blog in this series was titled The Third Time’s the Charm. Links to all of the blogs in this series can be found in the “Related Articles” sidebar below.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Carl Seville

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Testing Air Leakage in Multifamily Buildings

In large residential buildings, blower door testing of individual apartments often makes more sense than testing the entire building

Posted on May 12 2016 by Sean Maxwell

In a previous article, I explained why it's important to prevent air leaks between individual apartments in multifamily buildings — a type of air sealing known as "compartmentalization." With my compartmentalization rant over, let me tell you how we can change our building codes to find a solution to the problem of leaky apartments, and why you should support a change to the language of the International Energy Conservation Code.


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Image Credits:

  1. All images: Sean Maxwell — Graph: Steven Winter Associates

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Compartmentalization in Multifamily Buildings

In a large residential building, you don't want any air leaks between apartments

Posted on Apr 26 2016 by Sean Maxwell

At some point in our lives, we’ve all been in an apartment building or a hotel and smelled cigarette smoke or cooking odors from a neighbor. Or maybe you’ve heard an argument (or other things) going on next door that you didn’t want to hear. Let’s face it: living in apartment buildings is not without annoyances.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to alleviate some of these problems: by sealing up the gaps in the walls between apartments. This is “compartmentalization.”


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Image Credits:

  1. All images: Sean Maxwell — Graphs: Steven Winter Associates

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A Few Pressure Testing Tips and Tricks

Blower door and duct leakage testing can be easier if you use these techniques

Posted on Sep 9 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

A typical BPI Building Analyst spends four to five days in a class learning how to do blower door testing, along with all the other stuff they need to know. HERSIndex or scoring system for energy efficiency established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that compares a given home to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Reference Home based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A home matching the reference home has a HERS Index of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. A typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; a net zero energy home has a HERS Index of 0. Older versions of the HERS index were based on a scale that was largely just the opposite in structure--a HERS rating of 100 represented a net zero energy home, while the reference home had a score of 80. There are issues that complicate converting old to new or new to old scores, but the basic formula is: New HERS index = (100 - Old HERS score) * 5. raters get all that, too, but also have to learn how to do duct leakage testing. Then there’s that whole big bunch of people who have gone through one or two day intensive blower door and duct leakage training for energy code compliance. When they’re done with the training, how do they figure out how to do pressure testing in the real world?


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Ten Essential Steps to a Pretty Good House

Going above code isn't hard if you do these things

Posted on Sep 2 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

My friends up in Maine came up with the concept of the Pretty Good House a few years ago, and I love the idea! Not everyone can or wants to build a LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge, Passive House. But a lot of architects, builders, and home buyers would like to design, build, and live in houses that are better than the barely legal, code-minimum houses that populate the market.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard
  2. E3 Innovate, Nashville, TN

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Blower Door Testing

Get ready: Airtightness requirements are part of the 2012 building and energy code

Posted on Apr 23 2015 by Larry Armanda
prime

Air leaks in houses are a big problem. Leaks make homes uncomfortable and expensive to heat and cool. They create condensing cold spots that attract mold and rot. They lead to frozen pipes and make homes less resilient during prolonged power outages.


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