Guides and Manuals

Documents detailing various building techniques and methods.

EcoVillage Homeowner Handbook

After a high performance home has been designed, constructed, and commissioned, what ensures that the home is actually operated at peak performance? It takes just 24 easy-reading pages for the homeowner to learn just how simple it is to achieve the full benefits of these particular energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy, and durable homes.

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Attic Air Sealing Guide and Details

Attics should be air sealed prior to adding insulation. Adding insulation alone does not save much energy and can lead to health and durability problems. The intent of this guide is to provide information for the preparation work necessary prior to adding attic insulation.

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Guide to Insulating Sheathing

Residential housing design continues to move towards the development of high performance sustainable building systems. To be sustainable, a building must not only be efficient and durable but also economically viable. From this, new methods of enclosure design have been examined that provide high thermal performance and long-term durability but also take opportunities to reduce material use (including waste), simplify or integrate systems and details, and potentially reduce overall initial costs of construction.

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READ THIS: Before You Design, Build or Renovate

This pamphlet is designed for members of the residential construction and remodeling industries, as well as owners and managers who work in affordable housing. It presents building guidance for both new construction and rehabilitation, as well as practices that can be used by property maintenance personnel.

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International Residential Code FAQs

The IRC FAQ information sheets provide responses to commonly asked questions about specific International Residential Code clauses.

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Rainwater Management Performance of Newly Constructed Residential Building Enclosures During August and September 2004

To review the performance of residential assemblies in the central Florida (Orlando) area during the three hurricanes in August and September 2004. The specific focus of the review is on the water management details associated with stucco claddings. Two types of stucco claddings were reviewed: "traditional three coat hard coat stucco" and "cementitious decorative finishes." Both are renderings applied to substrates and the fundamental physics apply to both equally.

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READ THIS: Before You Move In

How you live in your home and how you clean and maintain your home affect the quality of air in your home. Keeping your home clean and dry makes it comfortable and healthy for you and unfriendly and unwelcoming to pests.

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READ THIS: Before You Turn Over a Unit

This pamphlet is designed for members of the residential construction and remodeling industries, as well as owners and managers who work in affordable housing. It presents building guidance for both new construction and rehabilitation, as well as practices that can be used by property maintenance personnel.

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READ THIS: Before You Ventilate

This document reviews ventilation strategies for different climate zones and includes schematic drawings and photographs of various ventilation installations.

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Review of Residential Ventilation Technologies

This paper reviews current and potential ventilation technologies for residential buildings with particular emphasis on North American climates and construction.

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Design Process for Sizing: Cooling and Heating System Capacity, Room Air Flows, Trunk and Runout Ducts, and Transfer Air Ducts

A design process is laid out for sizing cooling and heating system capacity; for specifying the airflow and duct sizes to each conditioned space; and for specifying the free area needed to transfer air supplied to closed rooms back to the central return. The software program RHVAC (from EliteSoft) and additional calculations are used to establish this process. An actual builder's plan is used as an example of the design process.

Design Process for Sizing: Cooling and Heating System Capacity, Room Air Flows, Trunk and Runout Ducts, and Transfer Air Ducts - Read More…

Water Management Details for Residential Buildings

Explanation of the concepts of drainage, wetting and drying potential using graphics in relationship to window installations and building envelope penetrations. Also, a special review of in-field installation practices.

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Quality Assurance Roadmap for High Performance Residential Buildings

BSC’s Quality Assurance Roadmap outlines the approach to quality assurance in the construction process as recommended by Building Science Corporation for new residential construction. Seven process steps are described from the assessment of current construction practice, through design and documentation changes, to training and quality control for on-site personnel. This document is intended to be used in lieu of a formal QA process to support high performance construction in Building America Research Prototype houses.

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BSC Building America Quality Control Checklist

The Building America Quality Control Checklist has been developed by Building Science Corporation as both a guide to assist in the transition to high performance home building, and as a simplified tool to be used as part of any builder's on-site quality control procedures. There are two parts to this document: the checklist and the resource appendix.

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High Performing Precast Concrete Building Enclosures: Rain Control

High performance precast concrete enclosure walls stand apart from most "rainscreen" walls in several key respects: how they control rain penetration, how they provide airtightness, and their sequence of construction. This guide reviews the requirements for high performance enclosures as they apply to precast concrete, with special emphasis on the control of rainwater penetration.

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Mass Save Deep Energy Retrofit Builder Guide

Existing homes present an incredible variety of conditions. The variations of building techniques over time and across different regions combined with the inherent individuality among builders lends to a mind-boggling variety of configurations in existing housing stock. Rather than try to encompass all of the possible solutions responding to each of various existing conditions, this guide details a limited number of options for deep energy retrofit of common configurations found in wood framed New England homes. Through its experience in guiding high performance retrofit projects, BSC has found the solutions in this guide to be applicable to the vast majority of circumstances. Some retrofit projects will require solutions that are not described in this guide.

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