Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Energy Conservatory’s New Blower Door Kit

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TEC did its homework: its new blower door package is a truly engineered and integrated equipment system
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I don’t do blower door work every day, but I do enough of it to appreciate the attention to detail that The Energy Conservatory (TEC) built into its new blower door kit. The kit features a digital pressure and air flow gauge, the DG1000.

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/building-science/energy-conservatory-s-new-blower-door-kit

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Questions to Ask Your Prospective Builder

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Getting the answers could help you avoid picking the wrong builder
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You're having your dream house built. You're into the design phase, working with an architect or looking through collections of house plans. You're doing your homework, trying to find out how to ensure you get a top quality house. And that's when you run into all this stuff about building science, high performance homes, HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. design, blower door testing, and the like. Now you're hooked.

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/articles/dept/building-science/questions-ask-your-prospective-builder

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Hidden Flaw in Some High-Efficiency Furnaces

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Hint: Furnaces use two forms of energy
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You can tell how energy-efficient a furnace is by its official efficiency rating, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency(AFUE) Widely-used measure of the fuel efficiency of a heating system that accounts for start-up, cool-down, and other operating losses that occur during real-life operation. AFUE is always lower than combustion efficiency. Furnaces sold in the United States must have a minimum AFUE of 78%. High ratings indicate more efficient equipment. (AFUEAnnual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Widely-used measure of the fuel efficiency of a heating system that accounts for start-up, cool-down, and other operating losses that occur during real-life operation. AFUE is always lower than combustion efficiency. Furnaces sold in the United States must have a minimum AFUE of 78%. High ratings indicate more efficient equipment. ). It's a measure of how much of the heat originally in the fuel that's being burned is available for delivery to the home. The more heat that gets lost up the flue or through the cabinet, the lower the AFUE.

But that rating doesn't capture all the ways a furnace can lose efficiency. Some, like how well the heat gets distributed to the house, aren't related to the furnace itself. But there's one big one that is related to the furnace.

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/articles/dept/building-science/hidden-flaw-some-high-efficiency-furnaces

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Five Ways to Do Balanced Ventilation

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Including some you can use to convert an exhaust-only system
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Ventilation is a great thing. Bringing outdoor air into the home and exhausting stale indoor air improves indoor air quality. Well, most of the time, anyway. Sometimes the outdoor air quality is worse than indoor air. Sometimes you bring in too much humidity and start growing mold. And sometimes you bring in the wrong outdoor air. But the issue of outdoor air vs. indoor air is a topic for another article.

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/articles/dept/building-science/five-ways-do-balanced-ventilation

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Home Performance Forum Has Launched!

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A popular LinkedIn group has moved to its own website
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The Internet age has made it easy to find information. Occasionally you can find some that's even true. That's where it becomes helpful to have someone more knowledgeable than yourself to be able to ask for advice and input on stuff you read online, get feedback on ideas you'd like to try on a project, or discover what cool things other home energy pros are doing.

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/articles/dept/building-science/home-performance-forum-has-launched

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pete’s Puzzle: Fanciful Fuel

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Where did the water and blue-green staining on this fireplace support column come from?
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A new client called me, saying that his insulation contractor urged him to contact me about some moisture problems in the home before they actually embarked on a major energy upgrade. (That was gratifying.) The home was actually moved many years ago off of a failing rubble foundation to a new concrete masonry unit (CMUConcrete masonry unit. Precast concrete block used to build walls. CMUs have hollow cores that can be filled with concrete onsite for additional reinforcement. The use of stronger, more lightweight types of concrete such as autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) is becoming increasingly popular in CMU manufacture. ) foundation on a different site.

Image #2 (bottom of page) shows the home from the front. Image #3 shows the bare CMU on the above-grade portion of CMU foundation.

But it is Image #1 (right) that is the real puzzle. Here are the puzzle pieces:

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/building-science/pete-s-puzzle-fanciful-fuel

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Does a Bigger Volume Mean More Heating and Cooling Load?

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Many people answer this question incorrectly
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What happens to the heating and cooling loads when you encapsulate an attic? With the insulation and air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both. at the ceiling below the attic, you're excluding the attic space. That volume of air up there isn't involved in the conditioning of the home. But when you move the enclosure to the roofline (usually by installing spray foam insulation beneath the roof deck), now the attic's volume is included in the conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. .

Occasionally I hear people say the loads will be higher because of the extra volume. Does having more air inside really increase the loads?

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from Building Science http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/articles/dept/building-science/does-bigger-volume-mean-more-heating-and-cooling-load