airtight

Spray Foam Insulated Homes Need Ventilation

Posted on January 31,2015 by ab3 in air sealing

Most installations of spray foam insulation, when properly installed, act as an air barrier. When you use it instead of the fluffy stuff (fiberglass, cellulose, cotton), a house will be more airtight. That's good.

When a house is airtight, the nasties in the indoor air tend to stick around. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), water vapor, odors, radon, and other stuff you don't want to immerse yourself in make the home's indoor air quality worse.

Most ‘Houses That Breathe’ Aren’t Very Comfortable

Posted on January 31,2015 by bobswin in air leakage

Recently I heard another comment from a builder who wants to build a house that breathes. I started to reply in an e-mail, and then decided to write a blog instead. What we are doing nowadays in the world of high-performance homes is based on studying hundreds of thousands of houses built in the last half century that have failed — including the majority of superinsulated and passive solar homes built in the 1970s and 1980s in the Northeast — and applying those lessons to building a durable house.

Meet the Tightest House in the World

Posted on January 31,2015 by ScottG in ach50

A Dillingham, Alaska, couple has claimed a world record for airtightness in a 600-sq. ft. home with 28-in. thick walls and a ceiling rated at R-140. According to the World Record Academy, a blower-door test measured 0.05 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure (ACH50), less than 10% of the very rigorous Passivhaus air-tightness standard of 0.60 ACH50.

Joe Lstiburek’s Airtightness Goals

Posted on January 31,2015 by Fretboard in air leaks

In commentary recently posted to the Building Science Corporation website, building scientist Joe Lstiburek takes a stroll down memory lane and reflects on his attempts in the early 1980s to help develop an airtightness standard for residential construction in Canada.

Visiting Passivhaus Job Sites in Washington State

Posted on January 31,2015 by user-756436 in airtight

On March 16, 2011, I flew to Seattle for a three-day visit to Washington state. Although the main purpose of my visit was to attend the spring conference of Passive House Northwest, I devoted a day and a half to visiting Passivhaus buildings and construction sites in Seattle and Olympia. With the help of my gracious hosts, Dan Whitmore and Albert Rooks, I was able to see four Passivhaus sites and a large workshop where Passivhaus wall panels were being assembled indoors.

Does Spot Ventilation Work in an Ultra-Tight House?

Posted on January 31,2015 by ScottG in airtight

UPDATED: 12/9/10 with expert opinions from David White and Marc Rosenbaum

Frank O's new house is tight — very tight. Tests by an energy auditor measured 0.13 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of depressurization (ACH50), meaning the house beats the very stringent airtightness target of the Passivhaus standard. Frank O has installed a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) to provide fresh air as well as fans for spot ventilation and a range hood fan rated at 189 cubic feet per minute (cfm). Sounds perfect. So what's the problem?

Makeup Air for Range Hoods

Posted on January 31,2015 by user-756436 in air sealing

Most homes have several exhaust appliances. These typically include a bathroom fan (40-200 cfm), a clothes dryer (100-225 cfm), and perhaps a power-vented water heater (50 cfm), a wood stove (30-50 cfm), or a central vacuum cleaning system (100-200 cfm). But the most powerful exhaust appliance in most homes is the kitchen range-hood fan (100-1,200 cfm).

Solar Versus Superinsulation: A 30-Year-Old Debate

Posted on January 31,2015 by user-756436 in active solar

The oil price shock of 1973 sparked a burst of interest in “solar houses.” During the 1970s, owner-builders all over the U.S. erected homes with extensive south-facing glazing — sometimes sloped, sometimes vertical. Many of these houses included added thermal mass — concrete floors, concrete-block walls, or 55-gallon drums filled with water.

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