deep energy retrofit

Lessons From Our House That Could Be Applied More Affordably

Posted on March 27,2015 by AlexWilson in Alex Wilson

My wife and I tried out a lot of innovative systems and materials in the renovation/rebuild of our Dummerston, Vermont home — some of which added considerably to the project cost. Alas! The induction cooktop that I wrote about last week is just one such example. For me, the house has been a one-time opportunity to gain experience with state-of-the-art products and technologies, some of which are very new to the building industry (like cork insulation, which was expensive both to buy and to install). We spent a lot experimenting with new materials, construction details, and building systems. While we haven’t tallied up all the costs, we think that the house came in at about $250 per square foot.

Report on Our Ductless Minisplit Heat Pump

Posted on March 27,2015 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.

What’s New with Water-Resistive Barriers

Posted on March 27,2015 by AlexWilson in 475

I remember years ago — I hate to remember how many; it must have been around 1982 or 1983 — writing for New England Builder (now the Journal of Light Construction) about Tyvek housewrap. It was then a fairly new product — and really a new idea: a material that would wrap over the outside of a house to provide an air barrier and improve energy performance.

EcoSeal: A New System for Air Sealing Homes

Posted on March 27,2015 by AlexWilson in air leak

Getting back to our Dummerston, Vermont farmhouse this week, I’m reporting on our use of a relatively new product for air-sealing homes: EcoSeal from Knauf Insulation. First some context: In the building science world, there is growing interest in achieving a robust air barrier at the sheathing layer of a house, with layers inside of that able to dry toward the interior and layers on the outside able to dry to the exterior. To make that work, the sheathing layer has to be tightly air-sealed.

Installing Cork Insulation

Posted on March 27,2015 by AlexWilson in cork

What do you do if you’re a builder and your client (that would be me) hands you a material that no one’s ever heard of, let alone installed in this country, and asks you to insulate his house with it? A lot of smart builders would run the other way. Eli Gould, our partner in the Dummerston, Vermont farmhouse we’re renovating (really re-building), took it on as a challenge.

Cork Insulation on Our Farmhouse

Posted on March 27,2015 by AlexWilson in cork

Among the innovative — some might say weird — products we’re trying out at our Dummerston, Vermont farmhouse, none is more unusual than the expanded cork insulation we’re currently installing as a layer of exterior rigid insulation. As I mentioned in a blog last summer, cork insulation has a great story behind it.

Extending Window Openings for a Deep Energy Retrofit

Posted on March 27,2015 by AlexWilson in deep energy retrofit

A few weeks ago I reported on the amazing, high-tech Alpen, R-12 (center-of-glass) windows that we installed on the north and west facades of our farmhouse in Dummerston, Vermont. At that time I promised to report on the other windows we were installing on the south and east facades (windows 2.0 if you will).

Serious Materials Exits the High-Performance Window Business

Posted on March 27,2015 by patrick_mccombe in Heat Mirror

Serious Materials has abandoned its expensive venture into high-performance window manufacturing. Based in Sunnyvale, California, Serious Materials (also known as Serious Energy) entered the building materials market in 2002 with a new sound-proofing drywall called QuietRock. Launched at a time when home construction was booming, the new drywall met with initial success. Serious soon went looking for other building products to sell, including high-performance windows. In 2007 the company acquired Alpen, a manufacturer of fiberglass windows based in Boulder, Colorado.

Green Basics Air Barriers

Insulated Storm Windows?

Posted on March 27,2015 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.

Retrofit for Radon Vent

Posted on March 27,2015 by Peterbilt in New construction

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