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12 Answers

"Pretty good house" window choices

Hi, we are in the design stage of a high efficiency retrofit and addition to an 1888 Victorian house in the Chicago suburbs. Our architect and his preferred builder are leading many of the Passive house projects in the area and are very interested in getting our project to approach those standards. Although i think it would be very cool as well, i am finding that the technical approaches and costs simply don't justify the benefits. In doing my own research, i am leaning towards designing for "pretty good" near net-zero instead of near-passive.

In Green building techniques | Asked By alok khuntia | Feb 27 15
2 Answers

How to properly vent a modfied gambrel roof?

My family and I purchased a 2 story modified Gambrel style home 5 years ago. By modified, I mean that the vertical roof sides go all the way to the foundation. So we have sloped interior walls upstairs and downstairs.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Charlie Baxley | Feb 23 15
5 Answers

I'm converting a barn to a residence

The slab is not insulated, and there are no below-grade details beyond the posts that support the structure. My architect is resistant to insulating on top of the slab. He worries that if I don't leech heat into the soil...

The slab is 64' x 46', and 4" thick. The central section was tapered toward center drains, so we have some leveling to do. We are in zone 5, I believe, and temperatures have recently dropped to -18F, though that is unusually cold. My concerns are comfort as well as avoiding condensation that might degrade floor coverings and encourage mold growth.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Dean McCracken | Feb 25 15
4 Answers

PERSIST in South Florida?

this question is for those familiar with PERSIST style building techniques.
I am considering building a home using PERSIST construction instead of CBS construction in south Florida.
(1) Does anyone know if Grace IWS would effectively stop termites?
(2) would exterior stucco be sufficient in protecting XPS from deterioration and infestation?

In Green building techniques | Asked By John B | Feb 26 15
17 Answers

General questions re: building in Zone 7

Long time reader, first question...(I apologize in advance for length).

I will be building in the next year or so, this is my 5th home I have had built and have managed all my previous builds, so I know a LITTLE about building, but not even close to a professional. I live on the very Southern edge of Zone 7 in Central Minnesota (in fact, Zone 6 boundary is about 2 miles South of me). We have some hot, humid days in the summer, but obviously heating in winter is much more intense.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Brad VanVickle | Feb 14 15
4 Answers

Passive Radon Mitigation using Solar/Wind Turbine Fan

Here's my dilemma: New home less than 5 years old with passive radon mitigation system that runs up through the house exterior walls. Ceiling is vaulted so there is no attic or way to install a radon fan up there. Got quote to reduce radon and contractor said to cap off the existing pipe and install a new pipe that runs up along the outside wall with an attached fan, essentially abandoning the existing passive system.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Robert McDonald | Feb 26 15
9 Answers

More berm or more insulation?

Currently I am finishing up a design of a house that I want to build this spring. The way the house is designed necessitates it being bermed up with earth on the north side a couple of feet more than the south side of the house. So I have the option to either add more concrete to the north side, berming it up an additional two feet ( to make a 4ft berm) or just building my stud walls and insulating with dense pack or spray on cellulose (I haven't decided yet which).

In Green building techniques | Asked By Jeremy DuCheny | Feb 25 15
3 Answers

Can R-10 XPS foam against concrete and R-15 mineral wool batts between framing be combined in a basement?

I'm in the process of finalizing the plans for my basement. Our current plan is to do R-10 XPS attached to the concrete blocks walls, followed by R-15 mineral wool batts between the studs. I live in central NJ, and the foundation wall is more than 60% above grade.

I'm now concerned about condensation between the mineral wool and foam. Allowing (extremely generously) R-5 for the concrete block, the foam + block is R-15 total.

In Plans Review | Asked By David Pfeffer | Feb 26 15
1 Answer

What will fill in a gap between the porch frame and siding?

building screened porch on mobile home, where the frame is up against the home has gaps because of the siding. The insects will be able to come in. what can be put in there to seal it?

In General questions | Asked By Cindy Bergaus | Feb 27 15
1 Answer

Solar rebate?

In FINE Homebuilding, May 2014, an article by Bob Ritacco: her list: the cost and rebates on a solar system in NY -- state tax rebate as well as state rebate and Energy star rebate .

My solar system is in Mass. I get a small state credit and can find nothing about the Energy Star rebate on their web site .

Can anyone help me If I'm missing something? Thanks.

In General questions | Asked By Randy Durbin | Feb 26 15
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