PERSIST

Blogs Prime Article Foam Shrinks, and Other Lessons

Wrapping an Older House with Rock Wool Insulation

Posted on March 31,2015 by Verdeco in deep energy retrofit

When I first met Chris Gleba and Kris Erickson in December 2011 to discuss their plans for a deep energy retrofit, Chris told me that he had been remodeling his modest two-bedroom house in Lowell, Massachusetts, for over ten years. He had painstakingly rewired and re-plumbed the house and had made energy efficiency improvements (including the installation of a high-efficiency natural gas boiler and radiant in-floor heating). He had also devoted much sweat equity towards upgrading the interior finishes of the kitchen and baths.

A Real Chainsaw Retrofit

Posted on March 31,2015 by user-756436 in Chainsaw retrofit

When workers need to insulate the walls and roof of an existing building with exterior rigid foam, it often makes sense to cut off the roof overhangs first. With the eaves and rakes removed, wrapping the building in rigid foam is a snap. The missing roof overhangs can later be rebuilt by scabbing the necessary framing on the outside of the foam.

Service Cavities for Wiring and Plumbing

Posted on March 31,2015 by user-756436 in air barrier

Conventional wood-framed walls perform many functions. Exterior walls are supposed to support the roof load, resist racking, and provide insulation. They must also provide space for routing electrical cables and (in some cases) plumbing pipes or even ductwork. If the walls are built properly, they should also include an air barrier.

Can Polyethylene Be Used as an Air Barrier?

Posted on March 31,2015 by ScottG in PERSIST

Polyethylene sheeting has had its ups and downs as a preferred building material over the last 20 years. At one time, it was routinely used in wall assemblies as a vapor barrier. As building scientists learned more about air and moisture movement through walls and ceilings, however, they began to advise builders that an interior vapor retarder is better than an interior vapor barrier, and the perceived usefulness of poly plummeted.

Is There Such a Thing as a Perfect Building Envelope?

Posted on March 31,2015 by ScottG in exterior foam

Is there such a thing as a perfect building envelope? One that could be mass-produced from readily available materials, and be appropriate for 90% of all new homes? Andrew Homoly thinks he’s found one, as he explains in this Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor.

Architects Talking About Air Barriers

Posted on March 31,2015 by ChrisBriley in air barrier

With cocktails in their hands, architects Chris Briley and Phil Kaplan discuss green building and design issues in a casual, pithy format Join the guys for a drink as Chris and Phil look at air barriers — one of “The Big Three” topics (along with insulation and windows) of green construction. Sit back, relax, and be “edutained” — while you work, drive, exercise or do whatever you do while you podcatch.

Getting Insulation Out of Your Walls and Ceilings

Posted on March 31,2015 by user-756436 in exterior insulation

More and more builders have realized the advantages of leaving stud bays empty and putting all of a home’s insulation outside of the wall and roof sheathing. If done correctly, exterior insulation can help produce a building that is almost airtight, very well insulated, and almost immune to water damage.

‘Innie’ Windows or ‘Outie’ Windows?

Posted on March 31,2015 by user-756436 in deep energy

Builders in northern states and Canada often specify exterior wall foam for new construction as well as for residing jobs on existing houses. Installing rigid foam on exterior walls reduces thermal bridging through studs and (as long as the foam is thick enough) greatly reduces the chances of condensation in wall cavities. Current trends favor thicker and thicker foam; many cold-climate builders now routinely install 4 or 6 inches of EPS, XPS, or polyiso on exterior walls.

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