Electrically commutated motors (ECM) in air-handler fans promise improved efficiency. But does improved technology necessarily mean efficient HVAC systems? This article was first published in Home Energy, May/June 2010. Reprinted with permission.
Smarter strategies can save money, speed construction, improve energy efficiency, and cut down on jobsite waste. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, October/November 2005, pages 50-55.
How water gets into a structure, why it doesn’t leave, and how these architectural flaws become HVAC headaches. This two-part article was first published in HPAC Engineering, December 2001 and January 2002.
Today’s houses make it easier for mold to find the food and water it needs to thrive. The cure is a quick cleanup and smarter choices in materials. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, December 2006/January 2007, pages 70-75.
Can a 150-year-old house approach zero energy use? Three case studies point the was from the 19th to the 21st century. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, April/May 2008, pages 51-57.
Think $50 per square foot and $50 a month for utilities are unattainable? Government-sponsored research proves otherwise. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, June/July 2005, pages 56-61.
Show water to the exit with a well-detailed drainage plane and flashings. Rerpinted from Journal of Light Construction, March 2003.
Outdoor air is added to a building via a controlled ventilation system. What isn't controlled is the air change created by wind effects, stack effects and pressure effects caused by the operation of the HVAC system. The following article was published in ASHRAE Journal, April, 2002, pages 18-21. Reprinted with permission.
Top ten blunders that rot your house, waste your money, and make you sick. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding Magazine, April/May 2004, pages 52-56.
Windows and curtainwalls are ubiquitous building enclosure components. Like all parts of the building enclosure, they have to meet the fundamental functional requirements of support, control and finish (Straube & Burnett, 2005). Reprinted with permission from Journal of Building Enclosure Design, Winter 2010, pages 12 -15.
Adhered veneers, in which masonry units are directly attached to a substrate via mortar and ties without a drainage or ventilation gap, have become a very popular finish in residential and light commercial construction. Reprinted with permission from Journal of Building Enclosure Design, Summer 2009, pages 31 - 35.
Evaluating the risks associated with insulating exterior masonry walls from the interior on a three-story school constructed in Toronto, Ontario in the late 1950s. Reprinted with permission from Journal of Building Enclosure Design from Summer 2009, pages 11 - 17.
Multifamily public and low-income housing have particular problems when it comes to moisture and air pollutants. In this first of a two-part series, we look at one particular type of multifamily construction: midrise housing. Originally published in Home Energy September/October 2001, pages 24-28.
Here we explore issues unique to Veterans Era Housing and present three cases where moisture problems were successfully addressed. Originally published in Home Energy November/December 2001, pages 33-37.
Understand when to vent your roof and when not to, and how to execute each approach successfully. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, Aug/Sept 2011, pages 68-72.
Over the past decade, Toronto's building boom has been dominated by tall glass condo towers.
What we learned from updating a 16-year-old deep-energy retrofit. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, February/March 2012, pages 55-59.
This article reports on field experience of unvented cathedralized (UC) attics in several environments in the United States. Traditionally, in some regions of the country, because of high water tables or the risk of flash flooding and lower cost, slab on grade construction is a preferred mode of construction. Mechanical equipment for air conditioning and distribution ducts are usually located in the attic spaces to conserve space. Conventional construction involves providing insulation on the floor of the attic and venting the attic space to the outside. The loss in efficiency in operation of the equipment and through duct leakage is no longer sustainable. Insulating the attic roof itself and blocking of ventilation to the outside transfers the air and thermal energy controls from the boundary with the living space to the plane of the roof. The air distribution systems now fall within conditioned space, which increases their efficiency, durability, and maintainability. This article was first published in the Journal of Building Physics, Vol. 29, October 2005.
So-called double-façades (DF) or ventilated façades, environmental second skins, etc. have attracted great interest as modern building enclosures. Numerous examples have been built in Europe but only a few have been completed in North America. The DF label actually covers a wide range of different enclosure types. In most cases, a DF has three layers of glazing with ventilation and solar control devices between the outer two glazing layers, although some ventilate the space between the inner glazings. In most cases, the airflow through the glazing cavity is driven by natural buoyancy (hot air rises) aided by wind pressure differences, although some systems use small fans (often driven by photovoltaics). In hybrid systems, HVAC supply or exhaust air streams are directed through a glazing cavity before connecting with the outside. Reprinted with permission from Journal of Building Enclosure Design, 2007, pages 48-53.
One-third of the energy you buy probably leaks through holes in your house. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, pages 45-49, October/November 2012.
By creating a path for air to move, structural vents are supposed to prevent the buildup of moisture in an attic. This article was first published in Builder Magazine, January 2006.
A multi-zone, single-gas, tracer gas decay measurement technique was used. A single-story, slab-on-grade 1350 sq. ft. house was tested in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a two-story, 3192 sq. ft. house with basement was tested in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The ventilation systems studied included various configurations of exhaust, supply, and balanced ventilation, with and without whole-house recirculation by the central heating and cooling air-handler unit fan. Some of the systems were independent of the central air distribution system, while others were integrated with it. In general, results showed that all ventilation systems benefitted from periodic operation of the central fan, giving excellent uniformity of ventilation air distribution. System without central fan recirculation showed poor ventilation air distribution for closed rooms where there was no ventilation system duct. This was first published in ASHRAE Transactions 2000, Vol. 106, Part 2. Reprinted with permission.
When designing a building’s envelope and its interaction with the mechanical system, temperature, humidity, rain and the interior climate often are ignored. The focus for the building may be more on aesthetics and cost than on performance. This article was first published in the ASHRAE Journal, February 2002, pages 36-41. Reprinted with permission.
Development and testing were conducted for a prototype phase-change material (PCM) wallboard to enhance the thermal energy storage capacity of buildings with particular interest in peak load shifting.
Two moisture-storage coating mixtures developed and tested between late 1990 and early 1991 could provide a low-cost, building-integrated method of managing indoor humidity in hot and humid climates.
Three sprayfoam topics that might have you rethinking your decisions. This article was first published in Sprayfoam Professional, Spring 2014, pages 16-19.
Double-stud walls insulated with cellulose or low-density spray foam can have high R-values; compared to approaches using exterior insulating sheathing, double-stud walls are typically less expensive, and have exterior details similar to typical construction. However, double stud walls have higher risks of interior-sourced wintertime condensation damage. Field monitoring was installed in a Zone 5A climate house with 12” thick double stud walls; assemblies included 12” open cell polyurethane spray foam, 12” netted and blown cellulose, and 5-½” open cell spray foam at the exterior of the stud bay. Kohta Ueno was interviewed by the Journal of Light Construction, covering the results of this research, and recommendations for building these thick insulated walls. Reprinted with permission from JLC, March 2015, pages 39-42.
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