GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. Doug McEvers | | #1

    But doesn't this put the air barrier on the wrong side in a cold climate?

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Actually, the air barrier can go on either side of the insulation. In fact, enclosing insulation with an air barrier on all six sides is the preferred method.

    However, if you're talking about vapor barriers, that's a whole 'nuther discussion.

  3. homedesign | | #3

    Amatuer Rednecks.....
    Any good Leroy or Ernie knows there should have been TWO layers of foam with the Joints staggered.

  4. Riversong | | #4

    No "amateur Rednecks" here (ain't enough sun to redden our necks). This is GreenNeck country, and any good Ethan or Ira knows that the stagger is not in the insulation but in the gait when stumbling through the snow trying to nail up more foam board.

  5. Riversong | | #5

    When I lived a mile into the downeast Maine woods years ago, trying to keep the -20 winds from whistling through the boards and freezing the bucket of water I kept next to the woodstove, I came across a sketch of the proper way to heat a Maine farmhouse.

    Since the real problem is the cold wind coming into the house, there was a Rube Goldberg matrix of pipes and cast iron radiators in the air surrounding the entire house to pre-heat that darned wind before it could find its way inside. Made sense to me.

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    I just added another photo. Click the link to see a second example of Vermont outsulation — at my local post office.

  7. user-723121 | | #7

    I really was not serious with my post, it was just a continuation of what has been a very entertaining week at GBA.

  8. user-723121 | | #8

    With all of the weatherization programs over the years, it is amazing how many buildings still need help. Some of the old farm houses around the countryside are so leaky and drafty ther best use in the winter may be the storage of ear corn. I have seen somewhat recently a 2 story home wrapped completely in poly, lathed intermittently, with straw bales around the base, a single working door and a large propane tank nearby. This is what I would call extreme, temperary weatherization and you know the house is still chilly and uses gobs of fuel, we can do better.

  9. Riversong | | #9


    The poly-wrapped house you saw was probably a response to the Bush League suggestion to use plastic and duct tape to shelter in place for a WMD attack.

    On another note, why is it that the old timers who often live all their lives in those drafty old farmhouses live longer and healthier lives than those of us who live in hermetically-sealed boxes?

  10. homedesign | | #10

    The reason that oldtimers live longer is because they ARE oldtimers.
    The youngtimers are all dead.

  11. Riversong | | #11

    You got me there, John B. But my question is actually a very serious one that almost no one even considers in the "green" building movement (or industry, which is what it's become).

    The answer which nobody wants to here is this: The more we isolate ourselves from the diurnally and seasonally changing environment and from the myriad environmental challenges that confront our bodies at every moment, the less resilient we become.

    We are reversing the multi-million year evolutionary process of increasing adaptability by reducing our exposure to the challenges that make us stronger. The primary source of our "health-care problem", which is really a "health problem" is our significantly decreased ability to respond to biological challenge with health-sustaining responses.

    We are, quite literally, moving human evolution from the natural world into a laboratory experiment we call "conditioned space", which is a carefully-controlled artificial environment. Most Americans hardly ever leave "conditioned space". They go from conditioned houses into a semi-conditioned garage, into their conditioned vehicles, to their conditioned work places, stopping on the return to a conditioned shopping environment and perhaps a conditioned entertainment complex. They eat largely prepared or packaged and highly-processed food stuffs, live among mostly artificial materials amidst filtered and processed (but still relatively contaminated) air, and inhale or ingest or inject a host of drugs and medicines that artificially manipulate our internal biology, often interfering with our natural immune response and self-healing processes.

    Yet, rather than realize that we are volunteer rats in a global experiment of immense and unprecedented proportions, we blindly accept the mythos of a free and prosperous society moving inevitably forward into progress and upward on the evolutionary ladder.

    Who wrote this fabulous (as in fable) story? And why do we drink it unquestioningly like electric koolaid?

  12. user-723121 | | #12

    To Rick,

    The full moon has given me the courage to consider further the sono-tube theme and I have decided to run with it... here goes

    The Enhanced RES-GICBM(S)
    Version-2 or Stage 2 if you like


    A large concrete sonotube, a sonotube within a sonotube, hollow in other words with a cap at both ends and with a deep earth connection. There will be a band of windows near the top facing south (or nearly south) or (facing north or nearly north in case one must flee to South America). There will be an optional solar array (same brand as Martin's) with circulating tubes running top to bottom carrying a brine solution to take advantage of the potential cooling opportunity in the event hell freezes over.

    What do you think Rick, does this sound sustainable?

  13. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #13

    Plenty of people have experimented with cooling tubes that circulate fluid from deep underground for cooling purposes. One such house is the Factor 9 house in Regina, Saskatchewan. Read more here:

  14. homedesign | | #14

    Vermont greenneck outsulation looks like a better solution than Factor 9
    And 9 times more attractive.

  15. Riversong | | #15

    Doug, are you lost in the wrong thread?

    John B, not only more attractive but it keeps the salesmen away from the door ;-)

  16. homedesign | | #16

    My guess is that Doug is thinking that this thread is as good as any for BS and humor.
    perhaps post a link to the blog that you are goofing on next time....
    must have been the Contrarian Blog

  17. Doug McEvers | | #17

    There is also Drake Solar Landing Community
    which I believe is the seasonal storage of solar heat in a large borehole field, have you heard how this is working out?

  18. Doug McEvers | | #18


    I moved to this thread with my futuristic home ideas because I did not want Peter to think I was making light of his post. He has some very valid concepts going, the best is the earth connection in my opinion. Earth sheltering is another subject that needs some dicussion.

  19. Riversong | | #19


    You can't make an omelette without cracking some eggs.

    Though I still can't fathom why you would respond on this thread to someone who posted on another, I thank you for leading be to Peter's "contrarian" blog.

    While you may not want to disturb his sensibilities, I have no such qualms and just responded quite bluntly to his ugly house and mistaken notions about (active) passive solar design.

  20. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #20

    Here's the most relevant fact about the Drake Solar Landing Community in Okotoks, Alberta: the project was made possible by $7 million in subsidies from the Canadian government. This investment was equivalent to $134,000 (Canadian dollars) per home.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |