Q&A: A Forum for Green Building Experts and Beginners

Q & A Instructions

[Click map to enlarge]

The GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com web site has a wealth of articles on a wide variety of construction topics. Before posting your question, you may want to check out the articles on this page: How To Do Everything. You just might discover an article there that provides the information you seek.

Please register for a free account or sign in to ask and answer green building questions.

If you want to post a question, the usual rules of courtesy apply:
1. Be nice.
2. If you can't be nice, be polite.
3. If you can't be nice or polite — well, please be brief.

To attach a photo or illustration: Under the box labeled “More explanation,” look for the words “File attachments.” Click that, and you should be able to attach a photo.

Thanks for joining the conversation!

13 Answers

Thermal breaks for window bucks in double stud walls

We'll be buliding double stud walls for a new house, with the inner wall being structural (the outer wall will consist of modified Larsen trusses). Total wall thickness will be around 16" and windows will be "in-betweenies". This will be my first double-stud wall house and I'm working in the wall details trying to minimze thermal bridging.

Asked By Chris Chenier | Jan 18 17
3 Answers

Vaulted ceiling with tongue-and-groove boards only

New home, zone 6. Vaulted ceiling in family room (4/12), R60 blown in fiberglass, MemBrain throughout (walls and ceiling) sealed with tape and that "goopy" stuff at top and bottom plate, wall junctions, etc.

Asked By Brad VanVickle | Jan 23 17
20 Answers

Insulating a new construction home

building a New home and doing research on insulation options. There is so many options on exterior insulation my head Is spinning. We are leaning on this idea and would like to know if it is a good idea or not?
2x4 walls sprayed with 3 inches closed cell foam
tyvek drainwrap
1 1/2 inch xps
We live in Michigan zone 5
Will this work or is a moisture issue? I've read articles with different opinions it's all confusing.

Asked By Colleen A | Jan 22 17
8 Answers

Building a "pretty good house" in Southwest Michigan

My husband and I are in the blueprint & planning process of our post-frame barn home build; we are building in Southwest Michigan (zone 5A). While we are not a financed build and are not going all out Passivhaus or net-zero energy, we are planning on doing what we can afford using green and passive solar concepts for heating, air exchange units and to use Roxul insulation and Prosoco weather barrier. All of which my husband could describe in grander detail...think Martin Holladay's "pretty good house" concepts :-)

Asked By Brant Quinn | Jan 6 17
2 Answers

Quik-Therm warm floor

Just wondering if anyone has used this product before? Thinking of putting it directly on my basement concrete slab and then putting the laminate directly on top (no plywood).

There doesn't seem to be much information out there about this product though.

Is there any advantage of putting plywood on top if I'm just going with a floating floor?

Asked By Shane Kidd | Jan 23 17
2 Answers

Unconditioned basement ceiling

I am building a net zero house, 2000 SF, 2 stories in Mystic CT. It has 2 full baths, heating and cooling by 2 mini splits, ventilation with an HRV, range hood in kitchen. The walls are double stud with Zip/OSB sheathing, ventilated cladding and densepack cellulose and sheetrock on the inside.

Asked By Courtney McCracken | Jan 24 17
15 Answers

Does anyone know if there is a manufacturer that makes an energy efficient, dual HVAC/ ventilation system that would satisfy both of my needs and eliminate the need for 2 duct systems?

I'm planning a moderate size home in SoCal in a semi-desert climate with adequate thermal mass. The home will have a tight envelope and my understanding is that some sort of ventilation system with separate duct work is required.

I was planning on an air-source heat pump to meet heating and cooling needs, but this will only be used in the summer and winter months mostly.

Asked By Paul Minotto | Jan 20 17
6 Answers

HVAC conundrum

Hi all,

Asked By Will Bowling | Jan 23 17
1 Answer

Leaving rockwool exposed in basement ceiling

Hi. A few places in my basement ceiling cannot be finished with sheetrock: above the electrical panel, the concrete block wall behind the boiler, etc, due to too many pipes or electrical conduits converging. Yet I still need to maintain a fire-rated ceiling in those locations. The building inspector suggested I pack those locations with rock wool.

How can I do this and not have an eternal sprinkle of rockwool fibers raining down on me under these locations? Just curious what other people have done.

Asked By Theodore Theodore | Jan 24 17
5 Answers

Using ZIP System for a REMOTE designed house

The REMOTE system uses the "perfect wall" concept (Insulation outside the sheathing), but uses a rather conventional vented attic. The unconventional aspect of the attic is that it is incredibly sealed.
We are designing a REMOTE Passive House for central Ohio, and I would like your opinion concerning how to make that sealed ceiling.
One could use the Grace Ice and water shield on a plywood ceiling. I have concerns about that because I will have to design in areas of dropped ceilings to allow for utilities, and I believe that the Grace product will become detached over time.

Asked By Steve Young | Jan 23 17
Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!