Building Plans for Energy Efficient Basement Remodeling

How to Finish a Basement for Energy Efficiency and Comfort: Details for a basement that insulates against water, weather, and radon gas.

There are 23 construction drawings in this basement remodeling package:

  • Environments for Living

    A Rating System Based on Performance Rather Than Points

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    Image Credits:

    1. Daniel Morrison
    2. Waldsee Biohaus
    3. Chris Ermides/Fine Homebuilding #189
    4. Atwood Mobile Products
    5. Chuck Bickford/Fine Homebuilding
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    The Greenest House in America

    Posted on Dec 18 by Christina Glennon


    Although it's healthful, low maintenance, and easy on the environment, this Texas home is also lots of fun to live in

    This article features the new home of an architect who specializes in green building. He seeks to debunk the common myth that building green demands sacrifice in design and comfort.

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    Full Basements Should Be Insulated and Protected From Water

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    2. Charles Bickford/Fine Homebuilding #190
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    Insulate basement walls to at least R-16

    Uninsulated basements can contribute to up to 1/3 of home heating costs.
    Insulating basement foundation walls on either the interior or exterior will produce equal energy-savings. Make sure the insulation runs continuously from the foundation’s footing to the underside of the subfloor. Eliminate air leaks with expanding foam or by filling joints with tape and mastic. Pay particular attention to band-joist areas.

    Use precast structural concrete components

    Precast components use resources more efficiently
    Precast concrete components for homes, such as pre-made concrete steps, mean less site work. Factory conditions mean efficient use of materials, easier use of substitutes for portland cement, and better waste handling. Precast foundation walls, which can eliminate the need for a footing, have integral components for superior energy efficiency.

    Learn more in the Green Building Encyclopedia

    Enclosure Overview

    Build foundation walls with insulated concrete forms

    Structure and insulation in a single package
    Unlike traditional concrete forms, which are removed after the concrete has cured, insulated concrete forms (ICFs) remain in place, providing foundation insulation. ICFs are hollow blocks made from rigid foam insulation or recycled wood fibers. Voids are filled with steel reinforcing bar and concrete.

    Use fly ash in concrete

    Fly ashFine particulates consisting primarily of silica, alumina, and iron that are collected from flue gases during coal combustion. Flyash is employed as a substitute for some of the portland cement used in the making of concrete, producing a denser, stronger, and slower-setting material while eliminating a portion of the energy-intensive cement required. More info can replace some of the Portland cement in a concrete mix
    Manufacturing Portland cement uses a lot of energy and produces about 6% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Replacing the 12% Portland cement mix in concrete with 15% to 25% Type C or Type F fly ash are fairly common, and mixes up to 60% are sometimes used. Contact your local Department of Transportation for advice about mixtures they've tested; this will help when talking to your building inspector and concrete contractor.

    Use concrete block made with recycled material

    Recycling industrial byproducts saves space in local landfills
    Concrete masonry units (CMUs), also known as concrete blocks, that contain a variety of industrial byproducts are now available. Recycled material includes slag, cinders or bottom ash, and ground waste glass and concrete. Using this kind of block means less mining and crushing of stone as well as reduced load on landfills. However, most plants that make block don't publicize their formulas, so it may take some digging to find out what materials are being used.

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