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12 Answers

Hi all,
Can editors step out from behind the curtain to ask opinions, too? I'm planning to redo my garage shop this Fall and although my primary heat for the space is a woodstove, I'd love to have some supplemental heating, and cooling in the summer would be great, too. I'm no schlep when it comes to remodeling work, but have never installed or seen a mini split install. Would I be a fool to try the install myself or have the kits gotten streamlined to the point that its basically plug and play, complete with factory-charged units and quick connect line sets, etc?

Asked By Justin Fink | Aug 22 13
7 Answers

Hello all,
Here are the basic details:

- I have a 23 year old 2-story frame house in the mid-Atlantic region (Zone 5). The roof was replaced last year, and there is a ridge vent, soffit vents at intervals and baffles inside the attic to allow unimpeded air flow into the attic.
- The bathroom exhaust fans are vented off to side camp vent on the side off the house. Though the fans seem to be running, I have a serious suspicion that they aren't actually pulling in anything.

Asked By Kach Kidibba | Apr 23 14
0 Answers

My organization, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, Olympia, WA, just launched a new website, the Code Innovations Database, Its a new resource with one simple goal in mind: “making it easier to build green.” www.CodeInnovations.org.

Asked By Chris van Daalen | Apr 23 14
5 Answers

Hi everybody, at the cottage I have to replace the actual roof shingles and try to correct a problem with ice-dam, I want to install rigid Styrofoam board (1.25 inch) directly on the sheating then strapping over it and new sheet metal roofing. I wont be using a ridge vent since i'd like to make it unvented, also i'd like to leave the ceiling untouched if possible, right now the rafters are 2x8 there is only 3 inches of fiberglass bat in there whitout any vapor barrier. The pitch is a 3 to 12. So i'm wondering if I can do it by the roof only.

Asked By Pierre Brazeau | Apr 22 14
7 Answers


I'm a licensed GC designing an addition to my personal residence which we built in the late 80s. The original house was built with 2x6 studs and might very well have been the first house built in NC with a sealed crawl space. (I gave my building inspector a copy of a sealed crawl space article by the TVA, and he OK'd the sealed crawl space.)

I would greatly appreciate some input on a couple aspects of the design.



Project synopsis:

Asked By Bill Daugherty | Apr 20 14
46 Answers

In another thread, my choice for HVAC was appropriately questioned. The system seems inordinately complex, costly, and convoluted. At least, on the surface. But digging deeper, the reasoning behind the design becomes clear. But, does that make it right? Is this the best HVAC design, or is it redundant and wasteful?

Here are the pertinents:
• Climate Zone 6
• 2700 sq. ft. finished space in story-and-a-half (bungalow style) house
• 2000 sq. ft. unfinished basement (future completion for aging parents)
• 4 Bdrm, 3 ½ bath house
• Tight, highly insulated home

Asked By Kent Jeffery | Apr 16 14
15 Answers

The attached file shows a wall design concept for a new house build near Minneapolis, Mn. I'm trying to design a wall that is both easy to build and has good performance.

Asked By Karl Overn | Apr 20 14
4 Answers

We are planning a major renovation of our 1970s ranch and would like in-floor radiant heat. The house is on an uninsulated slab in climate zone 5A. Our current plan is to insulate with 1.5" XPS over the slab, lay Schluter Bekotec over the insulation, place the the PEX in the Bekotec, screed then tile thoughout the house.

Asked By Jessica Marchesi | Apr 6 14
1 Answer

Martin will be speaking on "Affordable Green Homes for Cold Climates" in Montreal, Quebec, at 7:00 p.m. on Friday April 25, 2014. The event will be held in Room 3110 at the School of Architecture at the University of Montreal. He will be speaking in French.

For more information on the event, visit the Maison Saine website.

Asked By Martin Holladay | Apr 21 14
12 Answers

I'm not sure I fully understand, but the REMOTE system states an advantage over PERSIST by allowing more insulation in the roof and not building a second roof structure.

Does this advantage apply for a flat roof?

I'm also trying to understand whether a vapour permeable barrier is needed for the roof and walls on the outside of the sheathing, before the exterior insulation is installed. REMOTE promotes vapour permeable, and PERSIST uses impermeable.

Asked By Jerry Chwang | Feb 11 14
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