Commissioning Our Heat-Recovery Ventilator

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in airflow

In last week's blog I described our state-of-the-art Zehnder heat-recovery ventilator (HRV), explaining its various features and specifications. This week I’ll review what should be a critical step in the installation of any HRV: commissioning, including the critical step of balancing the air flow. This is absolutely necessary to ensure proper operation and full satisfaction from a Zehnder HRV and most other HRVs.

Our Top-Efficiency Heat-Recovery Ventilator

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in air-to-air heat exchanger

In last week's blog I reviewed some of the general strategies used for ventilating buildings — or not. This week, I’ll zero in on the types of balanced ventilation in which heat is recovered from the outgoing airstream to preheat the incoming fresh air.

Report on Our Ductless Minisplit Heat Pump

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in air-source heat pump

It’s been pretty chilly outside, if you haven’t noticed. A number of people have asked me how our air-source heat pump is making out in the cold weather. I wrote about the system last fall, well before we had moved in. Is it keeping us warm? We’ve only been living in the house for a few weeks, but here’s a quick report.

Smart Vapor Retarders

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in polyethylene

Nowhere in building design has there been more confusion or more dramatic change in recommended practice than with vapor retarders. Thirty years ago, we were told to always install a polyethylene (poly) vapor barrier on the warm side of the wall. Then we were told to forget the poly and go with an airtight layer of drywall (airtight drywall approach). Insulation contractors, meanwhile, often said to skip the vapor barrier; we need to let the wall or ceiling cavity dry out. It made for a lot of confusion. And I’m not sure we’re totally out of the woods yet.

State-of-the-Art Windows for A New Home

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in Alpen

Having written about windows and emerging window technologies for longer than I care to admit (since before low-e coatings even existed), I must say that it’s incredibly fun to be building a house and having an opportunity to try out some of the leading-edge stuff I’ve been writing about.

Using Open-Web Trusses as Rafters for Superinsulated Roofs

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in cathedral ceiling

Last week I wrote about an innovative foundation insulation material, Foamglas, that we used in our new house in Dummerston. This week I’ll talk about the open-web rafters we’re using to achieve a superinsulated roof. First, a little background. There are several approaches to creating highly insulated roofs.

Insulated Storm Windows?

Posted on April 25,2015 by AlexWilson in SHGC

I’ve done a lot of digging into window options in the past few months — not only for a special report on windows that BuildingGreen published, but also for the renovation of the early-19th-Century farmhouse that my wife and I recently purchased.

A New Net-Zero Community

Posted on April 25,2015 by ScottG in New construction

Two southern Maine builders have teamed up with Kaplan Thompson Architects on a subdivision that will include as many as 26 houses built to net-zero standards. The first of the houses in a Wells, Maine, subdivision called Brackett Estates, is a 1750-sq. ft., three-bedroom model called the Appledore, which was completed in mid-June. The two-story, all-electric house includes double-stud walls insulated to R-40, triple-glazed windows, and a roof insulated to R-60 with dense-pack cellulose. It's on the market for $429,000, or just under $250 a sq. ft. Among its other energy features:

Jamb Detail for New Skylight

Posted on April 25,2015 by Peterbilt in kitchen and bath

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