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    The Latest Trend in Home Performance: Why You Should Be Concerned

    Posted on October 17, 2017 by in energy upgrades, healthy buildings, home performance, indoor air quality

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    Should we be driving the industry to focus on promoting health benefits as a way to stimulate growth? Probably not.

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    Can Bathroom Fans Be Used to Distribute Heat?

    Posted on October 16, 2017 by in bath fan, ducted minisplit, exhaust fan, Heating, heating and cooling

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    An owner-builder looks for a simple way of getting heat to the bedrooms in a one-story house

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    D…

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    ‘Extended Plate and Beam’ Walls

    Posted on October 13, 2017 by in extended plate and beam, exterior rigid foam, foam sheathing, high-R wall, production builder
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    prime

    Subtitle: 
    A new wall system designed for production builders

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    Production builders in the U.S. love 2×4 walls. They also love keeping the cost to build their homes as low as possible.

    When energy codes ratcheted up in the 1980s and 1990s, cold-climate home builders eventually switched to 2×6 studs. But most production builders are still reluctant to install exterior rigid foam or furring strips.

    In Climate Zones 6, 7, and 8, new codes are forcing builders to consider the implications of the “R-20 + R-5” requirements for walls. But many builders are unhappy with current options for building high-R walls.

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    ‘Extended Plate and Beam’ Walls

    Posted on October 13, 2017 by in extended plate and beam, exterior rigid foam, foam sheathing, high-R wall, production builder
    Prime: 
    prime

    Subtitle: 
    A new wall system designed for production builders

    Images: 

    Production builders in the U.S. love 2×4 walls. They also love keeping the cost to build their homes as low as possible.

    When energy codes ratcheted up in the 1980s and 1990s, cold-climate home builders eventually switched to 2×6 studs. But most production builders are still reluctant to install exterior rigid foam or furring strips.

    In Climate Zones 6, 7, and 8, new codes are forcing builders to consider the implications of the “R-20 + R-5” requirements for walls. But many builders are unhappy with current options for building high-R walls.

    read more

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    Is It Time to Move Our Cities?

    Posted on October 12, 2017 by in building codes, earthquakes, resilient design
    Subtitle: 
    The devastation in Mexico City reveals there’s wisdom in ‘moving house’ to avoid repeating catastrophes

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    The end of this wretched summer will go unlamented by all North Americans: raging wildfires from British Columbia to California, no fewer than three catastrophic hurricanes (so far), and two disastrous earthquakes in southern and central Mexico.

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    Judge Tosses Lumber Complaint

    Posted on October 12, 2017 by in Lumber, marketing, nominal size
    Subtitle: 
    Illinois handymen sued retailer after discovering a 4×4 isn’t actually 4 inches square

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    A federal judge in Illinois has dismissed a case brought against a lumber retailer by customers who claimed that labels on dimensional lumber were misleading.

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    Tiny Houses Hit a Neighborhood Roadblock

    Posted on October 10, 2017 by in developer, tiny house

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    A North Carolina developer sees housing opportunity while neighbors worry about declining property values

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    Home Energy Performance Data: Why It Pays to Go First

    Posted on October 10, 2017 by in green marketing, real estate
    Subtitle: 
    The race to sell ‘green real estate’ could change the way we buy our homes

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    There is tremendous risk and reward to being a first mover. News that Tesla overtook Ford in market value is perhaps the most illustrative example of what’s possible when innovative technologies disrupt the market.

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    Measuring Moisture in a Double-Stud Wall

    Posted on October 9, 2017 by in double stud wall, moisture accumulation, wet sheathing
    Subtitle: 
    A data logger embedded inside a double-stud wall helps evaluate the risk of condensation

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    One of the key principles of high-performance, zero-energy homes is reducing energy use to a minimum. Since space heating and cooling have traditionally been the biggest residential end uses of energy, there is considerable emphasis on building insulation and air sealing. In most climates, it’s less expensive to increase wall insulation than it is to install a ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. Temperatures underground are relatively constant. Using a ground-source heat pump, heat from fluid circulated through an underground loop is transferred to and/or from the home through a heat exchanger. The energy performance of ground-source heat pumps is usually better than that of air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps also perform better over a wider range of above-ground temperatures. or more solar panels. For this reason, the walls of zero energy homes in heating-dominated climates usually require something thicker than 2×6 framing.

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    Building a Low-Cost Zero-Energy Home

    Posted on October 6, 2017 by in affordable, low budget, low cost, net zero, NZE, ZEH, zero energy, zero energy home
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    prime

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    Follow these guidelines to keep costs as low as possible

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    Let’s say that your goal is to build a simple net-zero-energy home for your family. You insist that the home be energy-efficient, and you plan to include a photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) array that is large enough to balance your annual energy needs.

    Your main stumbling block is that your budget is very tight. Is your goal attainable?

    Perhaps. Many builders have managed to complete a net-zero home that costs only a little bit more than a conventional house. If you want to take a similar approach, consider the following principles.

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