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LBNL’s “Smart Ventilation” Research

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) scientists, led by Max Sherman and Iain Walker, are investigating whole-house ventilation options to support California’s Zero Net Energy Homes initiative. This research project is called Smart Ventilation for Advanced California Homes (SVACH). California’s energy-and-climate goal calls for all new residential buildings in California to be zero net energy (ZNE)[…]Read more

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Attic Vents and Venting – Part 2: Beyond the Simple Vented Attic

Attic vents and attic venting are the most familiar and reliable roof venting option. That was the subject of part 1 of this post. But they may not work depending on the building’s design. Features like sloping ceilings and cathedrals may dictate an unvented attic. An unvented attic and insulated roof are also a good idea[…]Read more

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Choose the Right Window Frames for Your Window Installations

Window manufacturers offer a variety of window frames for the variety of different new and retrofit window installations. Choose the right window frame. In most types of window installation, exterior window trim is an unnecessary and expensive extra to be avoided. Nailing Fin Window Frames The most popular type of window frame is the nailing fin.[…]Read more

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Installing High-Performance Windows

My complements to the European high-performance window manufacturers for providing built-in sills for their windows. I hope that North American high-performance window manufacturers soon provide built-in sills. The built-in sills, along with block-frame window installation, sure simplify installing high-performance windows in superinsulated walls. American builders have tried dozens of different procedures to install nail-fin windows[…]Read more

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10 Major Energy Retrofits

The best time to make major energy retrofits (also called deep energy retrofits) is during a renovation. This is when you’re making major changes to the building, and probably getting a building permit. Ideally, the house will be vacant during this process. Here are 10 major energy retrofits that should be part of every home renovation job. 10 Major Energy[…]Read more

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Rainscreens and drainage planes

Building assemblies can get wet Building scientists assume that some rainwater leaks through the cladding or roofing and that water vapor migrates through insulated building assemblies, sometimes condensing within those cavities. These two phenomena both can dampen building assemblies. What are rainscreens? Builders often provide a 3/4-inch air space between siding and the water resistive barrier (WRB) as[…]Read more

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Possibilities for Wetting of Cellulose Insulation Part 2

Relative Humidity, Temperature, and Moisture Content This is Part 2 of a two-part series on cellulose insulation and moisture. Cellulose insulation is a hydrophilic material, meaning that absorbs moisture readily. Under certain conditions condensation dampens cellulose insulation causing permanent damage due to shrinking, slumping, and very slow drying. Moisture adsorption into a hydrophilic material, expressed as[…]Read more