Tag Archives: performance first

Preserving a Historic Home with Building Science

PRESERVING A HISTORIC HOME with BUILDING SCIENCE Historic Preservation is mostly about preserving and protecting buildings, objects, landscapes or other artifacts of historical significance. The Historic Molette House, ca. 1825 has a lot of significance in the Molette Family, as well with the people near the Molette’s Bend area near Selma, Alabama. When the home was moved […]

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The HERS Index is THE Home Energy Efficiency Gauge

GET ON BOARD THE HERS TRAIN, YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID. The HERS Index is already the industry standard for measuring a home’s energy efficiency. In 2015, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will allow the option for all new homes to use the HERS Index to comply. Considering that residential buildings account for approximately 36.5% (2012 figures) of […]

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Attention to High Performance Details In New Homes Pays Off

On the One Hand… …the Proud Green Home at Serenbe has been a kind of Experimental House for High Performance Design and Construction. Some of the features, products and practices we’re trying for the first time with this home, others we’ve used or done before, but they are still relatively new to the industry. To […]

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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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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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Designing High Performance Homes is Sketchy Business

Architects love to sketch! No matter how advanced, or how user friendly software programs get, we will probably always have a roll of tracing paper, a sketchbook, a napkin or even an iPhone app close by to lay down our ideas on. We can’t help it! A Higher Performance Sketching the designs for this home (right), the […]

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Improved Energy Codes, Diminishing Return, & a New Performance Baseline

It wasn’t long ago that the EPA’s ENERGY STAR New Homes Program created an uproar in the residential building community by releasing Version 3.0 of it’s volunteer 3rd party verification program. One of the biggest crack downs in the new version was it’s requirement for HVAC Contractors to test and verify their installations of the heating […]

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Designing for High Performance: Slab-On-Grade, Part III – Controlling Air Flow

In an earlier post, I talked about 3 of the most important strategies for making a home energy efficient. They were; 1. Air sealing, 2. Air sealing and 3. Air sealing. Air sealed, or tight, homes do a better job at containing the conditioned air coming from the HVAC system where it belongs…inside. Tight homes […]

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Part II: Designing for High Performance, Controlling Heat Flow in Slab-On-Grade

In Part I of this series on designing for high performance, we discussed the control of moisture flow at foundations. We showed you this detail (below) from the Proud Green Home at Serenbe and reviewed the practices that we and the builder are employing for keeping unwanted moisture out of the building. Looking back, we said the […]

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The 3 Most Important Strategies to Achieve an Energy Efficient Home

Your House Leaks. Period. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in a Passive House home or a grass hut. Your house leaks air both in and out through the many cracks in the walls, ceilings, floors, etc. In a Passive House the size and number of cracks are kept to a minimum. In a grass […]

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