infiltration

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World’s Tightest House Is On the Market

The Dillingham, Alaska, home goes up for sale as its owners prepare for a move

Posted on Jan 31 2018 by Scott Gibson

The house in Dillingham, Alaska, that was crowned the tightest residential building in the world is for sale.

Tom Marsik and his wife Kristin Donaldson, who completed the two-bedroom house in 2012, are moving so Marsik can take a new job as director of research at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, 500 miles to the north. They're offering the house for $299,000.


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Image Credits:

  1. Kristin Donaldson

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An Easy Retrofit for Return Air

For homes without dedicated return grilles in the bedrooms, this easy-to-install device provides a return air pathway

Posted on Oct 18 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
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Your bedroom really doesn't aspire to be a balloon. Yet, because of the way your heating and air conditioning system was installed, it may be acting like one. At least to an extent. It doesn't expand the way a balloon does, but it does get blown up.

Think about it. If your bedroom has a supply register from your HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. system but no return grille or other pathway for the air to make its way back to the unit, what happens to that air blowing into the room when you close the door?


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard
  2. Building Science Corporation

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Complex Three-Dimensional Air Flow Networks

That’s what most buildings are or want to be

Posted on Jun 29 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
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A lot of discoveries and research work over the past four decades have ledLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. to our current understanding of air leakage in buildings. I’ll mention a few here, but I want to focus on one: the MAD AIR paper by John Tooley and Neil Moyer. The full title of the paper was, Mechanical Air Distribution And Interacting Relationships. The first letters of those words spell out MAD AIR.


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Image Credits:

  1. John Tooley and Neil Moyer

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Air Leakage Through Spray Polyurethane Foam

How thick does a layer of spray foam insulation has to be to qualify as an air barrier?

Posted on Sep 25 2015 by Martin Holladay
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Many builders use spray polyurethane foam as an air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both., raising the question: How thick does the spray foam layer have to be to stop air flow? There's a follow-up question, of course: Is the answer different for open-cell spray foam than for closed-cell spray foam?

As with most building science questions, there is a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is that closed-cell spray foam needs to be at least 1 or 1.5 inch thick to act as an air barrier, while open-cell spray foam needs to be between 3.0 and 5.5 inches thick to act as an air barrier.


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Image Credits:

  1. Rick Duncan, Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance

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An Interview with Building Science Pioneer Terry Brennan

Stories from the early days of building science and more

Posted on Apr 15 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
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Last week I got a chance to sit down and talk with Terry Brennan in Dallas at the Air Barrier Association of America’s annual conference. He may not be as famous as Joe Lstiburek, but he’s every bit the building science pioneer. Armed with a physics degree, the ASHRAEAmerican Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). International organization dedicated to the advancement of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration through research, standards writing, publishing, and continuing education. Membership is open to anyone in the HVAC&R field; the organization has about 50,000 members. Handbook of Fundamentals, and a desire to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, he built houses and wrote energy modeling computer programs back in the 1970s and ‘80s.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Air Leaks From Your Home To Your Attic Need To Be Sealed

If your house has an attic, there needs to be an air barrier that keeps the attic space separate from the rest of the building

Posted on Jul 3 2014 by A. Tamasin Sterner

It’s important to keep attic air out of the house and house air out of the attic. That's why the home performance industry and every above-code building program make it a top priority to fully separate attics from the rest of the building.

When the attic isn’t fully air sealed from the living space and the combustion appliance zone, three undesirable scenarios can occur:


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Pure Energy Coach

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The Top Two Reasons Powered Attic Ventilators Are a Waste of Money

Despite how fervently some people believe in them, powered attic ventilators don’t pass building science muster

Posted on Jun 4 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Three years ago I wrote an article titled, Don’t Let Your Attic Suck: Power Attic Ventilators Are a Bad Idea. Nearly a hundred thousand page views and 93 comments later, it's still generating lots of heat. I don't know why so many people are so defensive about powered attic ventilators (PAVs), but here are a few of the things they've said to me in the comments:


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Fixing a Leaky Log Home

Rustic and charming as they may be, log homes pose unique challenges for air sealing and insulation

Posted on Mar 24 2014 by Scott Gibson

Early settlers who felled their own trees to build log homes were probably so grateful to be out of the weather they didn't worry about air leaks or cold walls. But when your heating bills are $500 a month, it's a different story altogether.

That's the situation facing ADK Homeowner, as he explains in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor.


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The Mixed-Up IAQ and Infiltration Limit Blues

The ventilation wars inspired this song by Eric Werling

Posted on Dec 18 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Last week, I caught the second day of Building Science Corporation's Experts' Session. (Click the link to download the presentations from the BSC website.) Joe Lstiburek spoke the whole day about ventilation, and I’ll be writing an article about that soon. At the end of that day, though, we got a little surprise.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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An Interview with Dr. Joseph Lstiburek

Joe explains BSC’s new ventilation standard, why tracer gas is a better measure of infiltration than blower doors, and his plans for a ventilation standard for existing homes

Posted on Jul 31 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Dr. Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation is on a mission. The issue is residential ventilation. He contends that the residential ventilation standard, ASHRAE 62.2A standard for residential mechanical ventilation systems established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Among other requirements, the standard requires a home to have a mechanical ventilation system capable of ventilating at a rate of 1 cfm for every 100 square feet of occupiable space plus 7.5 cfm per occupant., ventilates at too high a rate, causing problems with humidity in hot or mixed humid climates, comfort and dryness in cold climates, and too much energy use everywhere. The 2013 version makes it worse.


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Image Credits:

  1. Building Science Corporation

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