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Smart Vapor Retarders

Modern replacements for the troublesome old poly vapor barrier have low permeance in cool, dry weather, and high permeance in humid weather

Posted on Jul 31 2013 by Alex Wilson

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.

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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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America’s Greenest Office Building

The Bullitt Center is a six-story, 52,000-square-foot building aiming to meet the net-zero-energy, net-zero-water Living Building Challenge

Posted on May 23 2013 by Alex Wilson

I’m just back from a week in Seattle, where I attended the Living Future Conference, which this year had a theme of resilience and regeneration — a major focus of mine with the Resilient Design Institute. While there I visited what is almost certainly the greenest office building in America, if not the world.

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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

Shower Window Retrofit (Low Sill)

Conceptual View of Sloped Window Head Flashing

Jamb Detail for New Skylight

Head and Sill Details for New Skylight

Exterior Insulation Retrofit for Existing Bay Window

Shower Window Retrofit (High Sill)

Vented Roof & Siding for Hot Climate (Cathedral Ceiling). Asphalt Roofing, Wood Lap Siding Over Rigid Foam (Furring Strips)

Unvented Roof for Cold Climate. Asphalt Roofing Over Exterior Rigid Foam

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