Category Archives: Good Design

Well-Built Dumb Home

Well-Built Dumb Home One of the smartest things ever said about building a new home, was about something dumb: “A Well-Built Dumb Home beats the Smart Thermostat Every Time” – Mike Rogers, OmStout Consulting Mike said this in response something I shared on LinkedIn, which was a blog post written by the British architect, Elrond Burrell, known for his PassivHaus musings, where he […]

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PGH at Serenbe is 90% Tighter than Energy Code – Before Drywall!!

Before drywall was installed, I tested the infiltration (air leakage) at the Proud Green Home (PGH) at Serenbe, and the home achieved 0.72 ach50, or 0.055 ELR (more on these numbers in a minute). In other words, it’s really tight!!! The 2009 International Residential Energy Code (IECC), which is adopted in most states, requires an infiltration rate of […]

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Heat Flow, Electric Furnaces, and Lessons in Energy Efficient Design

When Jodi and and I moved from Tampa to Atlanta in 2008, we decided to try high rise living. We were living in a 1916 bungalow, which we loved dearly, and looked forward to something fresh and new. Something that would not leak like a sieve, and as a result be more comfortable and use less energy. The sales […]

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Serenbe Modern Proud Green Home Update: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems

Things are really moving along on the Proud Green Home at Serenbe. This past Friday, the mechanical inspector paid a visit and we passed! Ahead this week; the builder has ordered the final plumbing inspection, the sprayfoam contractor is installing the open-cell foam in all the walls and roof, we will be performing the pre-drywall inspection for […]

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Designing A Perfect Residential Wall – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia has a reputation for getting pretty darn hot, but it can also get pretty dang cold (No snickering from you Northerners, please!). Believe it or not, Atlantans use more energy to heat their homes than they do to cool them. The design temperature set by ASHRAE for the Metro Atlanta area to use when designing heating systems, is […]

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14 Design Don’ts for High Performance Homes, Part One

There are a lot of ways to design a home. Designing one for high performance, though, or even better-than-average performance, has many recommended best practices that are based on a lot of research of homes that have failed because they’re unhealthy, inefficient, and/or falling apart. This is why we have building scientists (see SOAP BOX […]

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Design and Build Smart: Use Advanced Framing to Save Time, Money and Energy

Employing Advanced Framing Techniques during the design and construction phases saves on labor, material and the amount of heat loss in a new home. 25% of a the building shell area in a typical home is made of wood. The other 75% is primarily windows, doors, insulation, finishes and cladding. When you factor in the […]

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Why Don’t Architects and Interior Designers Care About HVAC Systems?

GUILTY! Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at mechanical engineers and contractors if they’d ask me, as the design architect, for a bigger room to put the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment in. “Are you crazy? And give up valuable storage space???” They might have also ask me for dropped soffits and […]

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