Bailes

The Thermal Bridge to Nowhere

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

Let's play a little game today. Take a look at that photo at right. See anything that bothers you?* Well, pretend that you're the heat in the house once everything is finished and people are living in it. Does that help? If your answer is still no, let me give you a little help. Here are the approximate R-values of wood and the standard insulation you might find in a wall (fiberglass, cellulose, open-cell spray foam):

Insulation: R-3.7 per inch

Wood: R-1.1 per inch

A UL-Listed Carbon Monoxide Alarm May Not Protect You

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

Don't judge a book by its cover? That certainly applies to what may be the best protection against carbon monoxide poisoning you can buy. The two best carbon monoxide monitors, the CO Experts monitor and the NSI 3000 from the National Comfort Institute, don't have the approval from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that so many manufacturers crave. There's a good reason for that.

Mechanical Systems for Low-Load Buildings

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

Professor John Straube spoke for a whole day at the Building Science Corporation's Experts' Session earlier this month. His topic, a good one for GBA readers, was mechanical systems for low-load buildings. You know that expression about how the information comes at you so fast in some classes that it's like drinking from a firehose? With Professor Straube, it's like trying to drink from a tsunami! The guy has not only a phenomenal knowledge but he's also a fantastic teacher and incredibly witty.

Joe Lstiburek on Spray Foam

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in air barrier

Spray foam insulation evokes some interesting conversation among building scientists, construction professionals, environmentalists, and homeowners who have it in their homes. Many think it solves all problems, no matter how poorly it's installed. Some think it's helping to warm the planet and compromise the health of people and pets. In the middle are those who work with it regularly and see both the warts and the beauty of the product.

What’s a Blower Door Good For?

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in ach50

In last week's blog, I suggested that talking about infiltration rates in terms of air changes per hour isn’t an accurate way to portray air leakage. The problem is that you’re dividing by volume but the leaks happen at the surface. I don’t think ACH50 is going away anytime soon, and I use it myself because everyone else does, even though it’s biased toward larger houses.

Air Leaks Happen at the Surface, Not in the Volume

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in ach50

During the Westford Symposium on Building Science in 2010,* I was watching the tweets from the people who were there. At one point, I saw this one: “@EFL_Guy: ‘Air leaks through surfaces, not volume’ Joe Lstiburek.” I'd been meaning to blog about this issue for a while, so I wrote an article about it. Now, a couple of years later, it's time for a little update.

Should Flex Duct Be Banned?

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

Ah, flex duct. That bane of home performance contractors and green builders everywhere. If you’ve seen only one forced-air duct system that uses flex, you’ve most likely seen a bad installation.

Why Is the U.S. Green Building Council So Out of Touch?

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in all glass

Yesterday I read a short interview with Rick Fedrizzi,* the CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and it got me to thinking about that organization. They're probably the largest, most well known green building organization in the world.

Why Don’t More HVAC Contractors Own Duct Leakage Testers?

Posted on January 29,2015 by ab3 in Bailes

HVAC contractors own a lot of equipment. Of course, they have pressure gauges to test refrigerant charge in air conditioners and heat pumps, and many more pieces of technical equipment. One piece that few contractors own, however, is a duct leakage tester. With more and more state energy codes requiring duct leakage tests, doesn't it seem obvious that HVAC contractors need to be like plumbers and test their own work before passing it off?

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