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

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5 Answers

I am building a house in Japan and have not been able to source affordable rigid-foam panels. The house is a timber frame with a surround of DIY "SIPS" (non-structural) in which I want to sandwich 120mm or 4.7inches of rigid foam (R30). I am nearing the point where I am about to import Celotex panels from the UK (http://www.celotex.co.uk/products/celotex-products/celotex-xr4000), which are cost effective (even inc. shipping) compared to domestic products.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Bruce White | Mar 5 12
6 Answers

I have read that XPS extruded pink and blue polystyrene loses a "significant" amount of insulation value when wet. Is this correct and would anyone have a percentage amount? This question is in realtion to an ecoroof underlayment in a marine climate.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Valerie Garrett | Mar 2 12
3 Answers

Does this foundation need to modified into a frost protected shallow foundation with perimeter drainage and damp proofing or is it durable as is? My inlaws have a home near Vancouver BC that is on a shallow footing (estimated 6-8" below grade, but extends above grade.) The soil is compacted gravel and cobble, some sand and well drained. You need a pick ax to dig and a 5 gallon pail of water poured into a hole disappears in seconds. The water table is several feet below the surface as measured in well. The terrain is flat and there are not puddles.

In Building Code Questions | Asked By Patrick Walshe | Mar 4 12
10 Answers

I am located in the Albany, NY area zone 5A.

I purchased a dilapidated house and will be doing a deep energy retrofit. The siding will be torn off, most of it is rotten or soft, and I will install huber zip which should provide the air and vapor barrier. Larsen trusses will be installed and the cavity depth will be 12", ~R-40.

In Green building techniques | Asked By upstate ny | Mar 2 12
1 Answer

Hi, two questions if someone can help me out:

1. Is formaldehyde an issue in all types of fiberglass insulation (ie, batts and loose-fill), or just in batts? In other words, if I am doing loose-fill insulation should I look for a formaldehyde free type or is all loose-fill free of formaldehyde? I ask because I see batts advertised as formaldehyde free but not loose fill (for example, the new Owens Corning formaldehyde free line only appears to be for batts).

In Green products and materials | Asked By Brian Jackson | Mar 2 12
11 Answers

At this point we plan on building a 2x4 wall with dense pack cellulose (r-12), then 1/2" plywood, 2 layers of 2" fiber faced polyiso (r-26), WRB, 1x3 strapping and then siding. Can we use Hardie lap or Hardie panel siding? Likely a question for Hardie but they will likely say they want direct contact with sheathing and if foam, then no more than 1" thick. Their install instructions imply direct contact with sheathing but I don't see any restrictions against fastening to strapping....but maybe I missed that. Also, i'm guessing that strapping 1' O.C.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Robert Alf | Jan 11 12
Answers

I have a customer with a large warehouse and roughly 9,000 sq ft of exterior painted brick. He would like to remove the paint and restore the building to its original look. I did some research and found that soda blasting appears to be extremely effective for this and environmentally friendly. So I looked around and found that I can rent the equipment but it was extremely pricey - $2500/week from Sunbelt. A few companies offer the equipment with 100lb hoppers for around $300.

In General questions | Asked By Charles Chiampou | Mar 2 12
3 Answers

Insulating paint costs $85 a gallon. No wonder the manufacturers and distributors can afford so many ads. They also issue press releases -- including one that tripped up the Journal of Light Construction, a magazine that should know better. The photo shows a page from their "Products" page (February 2012).
http://www.jlconline.com/cgi-local/viewnew.pdf/0/ebebe5b7f0c69fdde866650...
 

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Martin Holladay | Mar 1 12
4 Answers

We have a steam shower in our master bath that we use a lot this time of year—we live in Chicago and have kids with perpetual colds—and the nearby windows end up with condensation on them more than I would like. We’ve begun to run the bathroom fans a lot in order to mitigate the moisture on the windows, but our fans are relatively inexpensive—and loud—ones from Broan (80 cfm/2.5 sones) that were installed by the guy who built our house and I’m beginning to think that it would be worthwhile upgrading to fans that are quieter and more powerful.

In Green products and materials | Asked By John Barry | Mar 1 12
7 Answers

Scientists say plastic chemicals leach into the heated water.
Some people choose not to believe it; perhaps because they sell or work with it - i dont know.
I prefer to stay on the careful side.
I have a hormone imbalance due to plastic chemicals found in my blood, causing me major health problems which started when all our pipes got changed over to plastic.
My water was tested and found to have much higher levels of "poly-chemicals" than non -plastic plumbed water.

My pipes are plastic, and my hot water tank is glass inside, but the tubes going in are plastic.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Lisa Walters | Feb 29 12
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