927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

Urban Rustic: Basement Paint Splatter

We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on basement flooring. We wanted to keep things simple, especially because we weren’t going for a high-end look in that space. The basement is mostly unfinished, at least by traditional standards. We use it for working out, reading, office work, some smaller arts and crafts projects, and miscellaneous storage.Whatever flooring we came up with had to be durable, if only to avoid having to replace any of it should the basement ever have a problem with water (e.g. from a failed sump pump or a leaky hot water tank). The plan…

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Why Is Indoor Air Pollution Largely Unregulated?

When most of us think of air pollution, we typically envision big smokestacks billowing clouds of noxious gases, the smog that coats major cities, or even the smoky haze that drifts in from wildfires. However, much of the most serious air pollution that threatens our health comes not from giant power plants or freeways, but from inside our homes.Indoor air pollution comes from a variety of sources; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified building materials, furnishings, and mold as serious concerns, but much of the danger also comes from burning things. For instance, smoking cigarettes or burning wood…

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Attic Ventilation for a Revamped Timberframe

Jonathan Sinclair’s home, a 225-year-old timber frame in New Hampshire, is getting a facelift. Sinclair is residing the building with fiber-cement lap siding, and he plans to install the siding over a vented rainscreen—a thoroughly modern detail.“My question comes from building an adequate soffit vent that will flow air,” Sinclair writes in this recent Q&A post. As he explains, the original builder included 2×6 soffits with a 2 1/2-inch-wide gap between the building and the edge of the soffit. That gap was then covered with molding. Sinclair plans to incorporate this gap into the top of his rainscreen so that…

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The BS* + Beer Show: All About Advanced Framing

Advanced framing, also called optimum-value engineering, or OVE, was developed decades ago as a way of saving materials and making more energy-efficient buildings, but many designers and builders have been reluctant to adopt it. Though many of the details will be familiar to GBA reader—2×6 framing on 24 inch centers, two-stud corners, single top plates—other see weak structures, wavy walls, and not enough fastening for drywall and trim when the imagine houses built with this approach.While advanced framing doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition, many builders—including our panelists—Mike Guertin and Tim Uhler—have adopted it as their standard way of…

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Ducted Minisplits in My Conditioned Attic (Part 2)

I’ve written previously about the load calculation and equipment selection process I went through for the new Mitsubishi* ducted minisplit heat pump in my house. Now it’s time to take a look at the design and performance of the duct systems for the two air handlers.Laying out the ducts The schematic diagram below shows the three zones for our main floor, two of which are served by the ducted minisplit. On the left (green) is the bedroom zone, and on the right (pink) is the common area zone. The sunroom is getting a new ductless minisplit this week but currently…

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How Renewable Energy Could Emerge on Top After the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is slowing the growth of renewable energy for now, but long-term prospects are still very strong. This Nova Scotia wind farm produces enough energy for more than 10,000 Canadian homes. Photo courtesy Dennis Jarvis / CC BY-SA / Flickr. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, renewable energy was growing steadily—but still not fast enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s carbon reduction goals, let alone to make the further strides needed to keep climate change from spiraling out of control. Now, the virus-induced economic shock is likely to slow the expansion of wind, solar, and other clean power sources,…

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