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Wall Upgrades for Deep Energy Retrofits

Posted by Bruce Sullivan, Guest Columnist

Feb 24, 2020 12:46:22 PM

The differences between a conventional home and a zero energy home come down to 12 specific elements. Many of these elements, such as equipment upgrades or solar panels, can often be accomplished in existing home renovations almost as easily as in new construction. However, upgrading the insulation value and air tightness of exterior walls is one element that is always more difficult and more costly in older homes. For climate action to be effective, it must include the renovation of the existing housing stock towards zero. For that reason, the challenges of upgrading wall insulation and air sealing must be addressed.

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Innovation Leads to High-Performance Building Solutions

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Aug 27, 2018 9:50:58 AM

A new free ebook covers the important systems and products that are designed to manage the building envelope, insulation, and indoor air quality. Here's some of the most advanced of these building science concepts being used in new homes today.

Because most Americans spend two-thirds of their lives inside their homes, it’s important to continue making those buildings and the systems inside them as energy efficient—and healthy to live in—as possible. This ebook provides a roadmap to getting this done, including information on:

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Minimizing Environmental Impact While Maximizing Homeowner Value

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 12, 2017 4:51:04 PM

Insulation and sealants push this conventional-looking home beyond net zero.

Minimizing environmental impact while maximizing homeowner value” is one way Addison Homes sums up its construction philosophy. That attitude underscores construction practices at the builder’s Trailside Community in Greenville, S.C., where this home won a 2016 Housing Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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3 Ways Raters Can Help Builders Cut Costs

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM

NAHB recently released the results of their monthly Housing Market Index survey which included a set of special questions. The data revealed top builder pain points in 2016, and how builders expect these pain points to change in 2017.

The top problem continues to be cost and availability of labor, which builders see increasing in 2017. Interestingly, the problem which showed the greatest increase 2017 vs. 2016 is building material prices, which jumped 12 points (the next biggest change was 7 points). HERS Raters, in their consultative function for builders, can play a role in addressing this key pain point relating to insulation costs. Here are three specific ways raters can address builder cost concerns:

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An Architect's Tips on Selling Energy Savings

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 7, 2017 10:31:45 AM

In a blog post last month, the Insulation Institute posed the question: do consumers want energy efficiency upgrade options? Since then, they've received feedback from high performance building advocates, builders and architects – one in particular who offered guidance on selling energy efficient home options to today’s homebuyers.

Antonio de la Carrera of ADLCL Architecture is a Dallas-area architect with experience in sustainable, energy efficient and Net Zero custom homes in cities including Dallas, Boston, Chicago and Mexico City.  His experience has led him to identify three crucial tips that builders of all types and sizes should use to better sell energy efficiency.

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Insulation Alternative: Hempcrete

Posted by Chris Magwood, Guest Columnist

May 27, 2016 3:56:11 PM

Creating locally sourced lime and clay binders for use in hempcrete.

Hempcrete (a mix of chopped hemp hurd and a lime-based binder) is a relative newcomer to the North American insulation market, and most of the R&D and testing work to date has been done in Europe using proprietary formulations from the companies that pioneered the material for commercial use. This has been great for the development of hempcrete use on an ever-growing array of European projects, but the dependency on imported materials has made the use of hempcrete in North America prohibitively expensive for most.

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New "Pulse" Device Could Replace Blower Doors as a Fast, Easy Way to Test Airtightness

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 25, 2016 2:29:13 PM

The unit creates a short low-pressure pulse that can measure building leakage in about a minute.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham and Elmhurst Energy in the UK have been working on the device in one form or another for about 14 years—and it's finally ready for prime time.

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Passive Solar and Earth-Bermed Homes Have a Chance This Time Around

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 21, 2015 11:48:41 AM

Some energy-saving ideas from the 1970s are much more viable now, thanks to new products and systems.

Often, good ideas, simply because they've been around for a while, are assumed to be less effective, or even obsolete. But many of the energy-saving principles of the solar homes of the Carter era actually have the potential to work even better today. That's because insulating techniques, window glazings, and even window coverings have improved dramatically.

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Insulation and Air Sealing

Posted by Suchi Rudra

Dec 8, 2015 12:40:36 PM

Insulation makes any project greener, but choosing the best product requires more than just looking at its R-value.

IN THE MULTIFACETED world of thermal insulation and air sealing, there are several factors to consider. Do you select a product based solely on its thermal performance, or is that outweighed by its material composition and safety? And what about affordability? It’s not always easy to find one product that checks off all the right boxes.

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Building Products with Integrity

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Dec 2, 2015 11:38:45 AM

Some progressive manufacturers are skipping the green wash and developing products that are both renewable and transparent.

GETTING THE CARBON OUT is just the beginning. Growing awareness of the impact of product and material choices on indoor air quality is driving interest in non-toxic products and resulting in greater transparency for manufacturers. Here is where “natural” products have an edge. They tend to be simpler, with fewer components, and fewer, if any man-made chemicals, which tend to bio-accumulative and have undesirable health effects.

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