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Proper Installation of APA Rated Sheathing for Roof Applications

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 11, 2014 11:41:28 AM

Check out this informative entry on sheathing for roof applications available on the APA builders' tips page. Downloadable pdfs on this and other subjects are available.

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Wonders of Wood Stoves Infographic

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 8, 2014 5:59:55 PM

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The Promise of Good Ideas

Posted by Matt Power

Dec 6, 2014 5:21:00 AM

Before you say "nothing ever changes," here are five energy and water-saving innovations to be grateful for this holiday season.

EACH YEAR, we update and “remodel” our special Homeowner's Handbook for homeowners and would-be homeowners. (Free download available here). The publication isn’t just for the general public, of course. It’s a tool for green professionals: a free, easy-to-follow how-to guide that can be shared with clients and potential clients, so that they enter the building/remodeling process with a basic understanding of why green building matters—and which systems are critical to a high-performance home.

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Choosing a Wood Stove

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 5, 2014 4:31:00 PM

OLDER, UNCERTIFIED wood stoves produce 30 to 50 grams of particulate per hour, contributing to asthma and a host of other health issues. The internal design of wood stoves has changed entirely since the EPA issued standards of performance for new wood stoves in 1988. Today’s wood stove models feature improved safety and efficiency; they produce almost no smoke, minimal ash and require less firewood.

Emission Limits for Wood Stoves.
EPA’s mandatory smoke emission limit for wood stoves is 7.5 grams of smoke per hour (g/h) for non-catalytic stoves and 4.1 g/h for catalytic stoves. Some newer stoves have certified emissions in the 1 to 4 g/h range;.

When comparing models, look for the EPA white label on the stove. A lower g/h rating means a cleaner, more efficient stove. Also check for safety labeling by the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or another testing and certification body.

Types of Wood Stoves
The two general approaches to meeting the EPA smoke emission limits are non-catalytic and catalytic combustion. Although most of the stoves on the market are non-catalytic, some of the more popular high-end stoves use catalytic combustion. Because they are slightly more complicated to operate, catalytic stoves are suited to people who like technology and are prepared to maintain the stove properly, so it continues to operate at peak performance.

Non-Catalytic Stoves. Three components make these stoves efficient: firebox insulation, a large baffle to produce a longer, hotter gas flow path and pre-heated combustion air introduced through small holes above the fuel in the firebox. The baffle and some other internal parts of a non-catalytic stove will need replacement from time to time, as they deteriorate with the high heat of efficient combustion.

Catalytic Stoves. These stoves produce a long, even heat output—thanks to catalytic combustion—in which the smoky exhaust is passed through a coated ceramic honeycomb inside the stove where the smoke gases and particles ignite and burn. All catalytic stoves have a lever-operated catalyst bypass damper, which is opened for starting and reloading. The catalytic honeycomb degrades over time and must be replaced; it can last more than six seasons if the stove is used properly. If the stove is over-fired, if inappropriate fuel is burned, or if regular cleaning and maintenance are not done, the catalyst may break down in as little as two years.

Sizing. Small stoves are suitable for heating a family room or a seasonal cottage. In larger homes with older central furnaces, you can use a small stove for “zone heating” a specific area of your home (family or living room). Medium stoves are suitable for heating small houses, medium-sized energy-efficient houses and cottages used in winter. Large stoves are suitable for larger, open-plan houses or older, leakier houses in colder climate zones.

Wood Matters. Dense or “hard” wood contains the most energy per cord and is the best choice for peak winter conditions. Burning softer woods during swing seasons keeps rooms from overheating. Regardless, wood should be dried and stored for at least two years before burning. Source: EPA

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Building Science: SIPs Go Up at Mariposa Meadows

Posted by Al Cobb, guest columnist

Nov 19, 2014 3:19:00 PM

Spending the last quarter-century in the SIP industry has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of individuals in the construction arena, and one of my most prized contacts is Mr. Green Builder himself, Ron Jones. When Ron presented his thoughts on the latest VISION House project at the SIPA Annual Meeting last April, my company PanelWrights was one of the first in line offering SIP design and installation services.

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