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21 Answers

I am posting this on behalf of Robert Riversong at his request for anyone who is interested:

BuildingGreen.com has invited Robert Riversong to contribute a 10-part series for their "blog" pages which explores his radical (as in: to the root of the issue) perspective on appropriate shelter. Look for these topics to appear on a weekly basis, starting this last week of April 2011.

Riversong's Radical Reflections

Context – land, community & ecology
Design – elegant simplicity, the Golden Mean

In General questions | Asked By Lucas Durand - 7A | Apr 26 11
39 Answers

24-foot square timber frame with "REMOTE / PERSIST" envelope, from inside to out: timber-frame post; drywall; horizontal or vertical 2x4 'studs' 16 in. on center without insulation; staggered sheathing; peel & stick; 8 in. XPS; 1" or 1-3/4" furring attached through XPS to 2x4 framing with 11 in. SIP screws, (fastened at an angle) 24 in. on center, and a mix of clapboard, board and batten and shingle siding.

In GBA Pro help | Asked By Ryan Shanahan | Dec 4 10
3 Answers

My husband and I purchased an old farm house built in the late 1920's. We knew from Day One that this would be a project house and more than once we would feel as though we are in over our heads.

However one of the main selling points of the home was that despite its age that the home had been retrofoamed. Now, what they insulated beyond some blown insulation in the attic I have NO IDEA. The persons with whom we have a "life time warranty" -- the company we were told "insulated" the house -- are no longer in business. I take that as a strong indicator the quality of their work.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Lauren Koch | May 16 11
23 Answers

I am considering a well insulated concrete slab floor as the main thermal mass collector for a future super insulated home in a cold climate (9500 HDD). I also intend to use a very simple single zone radiant heat system for the floor. My research has indicated that a floor thicker than four inches is not only unnecessary but can be counter productive. I have also gathered that unshaded and uncovered mass in direct sunlight is at least twice as effective as surfaces that receive indirect sunshine in the same room and four times as effective as surfaces in remote areas of the home.

In General questions | Asked By Garth Sproule | Oct 12 10
5 Answers

I'm wondering about the efficacy of insulating the outside of a masonry chimney. The attic/loft will be used as semi-conditioned living space, and I am concerned about 1. keeping the chimney from sucking all of the heat out of this area and 2. potentially improving the efficiency of the house overall. I've been thinking that I might be able to insulate around the chimney in the loft space-- roughly 9' of chimney-- and that at that point, the cinder block will actually represent a small but appreciable r-value, perhaps even as high as r-10.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Devin Smith | May 15 11
25 Answers

I am selecting windows for a house in Portland, OR, a marine climate. The heating demand is not extreme but it is a heating climate, and this is a passive solar design. There are no plans to include A/C. As has been discussed a few times on this website, it's hard to find a domestic manufacturer of windows with a good U-value and high SHGC. The recommendation from Martin Holladay is to choose Canadian windows, e.g. Thermotech, Inline, Accurate Dorwin. A few people have chosen to import windows from Germany, at higher cost.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Thomas Jefferson | Sep 23 10
6 Answers

In the hanging of the Hardie plank I am told to use a Z girt. But I am searching for a more green friendly product that also won't give a thermal bridge signature as does the Z girt although small.
I have found a supplier who currently only makes a 3.5" fibreglass girt (Cascade) but need a 4" to maximize my building envelop performance in my Zone 8 home.
Anyone out there know of such a supplier?
Or alternatively another method of putting this together without thermal bridging and being as green as can be at this time?
Thanks for your help.

In Green products and materials | Asked By John Blackstock | May 10 11
5 Answers

Trying to think through a frost protected shallow foundation with a brick ledge for a low wall to be built out of field stone which is available on site. I've attached a rough sketch.

My immediate questions are:

1) Using foam at the base of the wall, even with 100psi compressibility -- is this OK?

2) I'm assuming the 4" air gap is OK as long as the proper ties are used and will help with solar and wind driven moisture?

3) Advice on ties going into a SIP?

Any tips or suggestions gratefully accepted.

House is in Northern MI with 7,500 HDD.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Michael Lynskey | May 11 11
7 Answers

My contractor wants to apply framing to the outer walls, then the 3 " of board insulation into the framing, then the last 1" layer placed on top of the new wall assembly. I think that the 4" insulation can be applied to the wall using only strapping glue and 6 or 7" heavy duty Head Lok screws. by Fastenmaster.

Is this a good method to do this or should I look into other methods?

In Green building techniques | Asked By Martin Buller | May 13 11
1 Answer

Perhaps I'm overthinking this. In Minneapolis, climate zone 6A.......painted cedar siding, felt paper, 1x8 (plank board) sheathing, with balsam wool insulation in the walls.

Spurged for a Panasonic fan.......opening (cutout) for cylinder that protrudes through the sheathing is 9'', a lot larger cut out than the dinky little ones I have put in the past.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By M S | May 14 11
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