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The BS* + Beer Show: Roof Venting: When, Where, Why, and How?

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features Martin Holladay and Ben Bogie (with a guest appearance from Kohta Ueno) sharing insights into the ever-popular topic of roof venting. As co-host Emily Mottram rightly notes, “No matter how many times we talk about roof venting, there will always be more questions.”  Ben starts us out of the gate by saying, “If you are thinking of venting, you probably should.” He wonders about the feasibility of foam-free unvented roof assemblies, noting they are often spoken of as impossible. He sees them as doable but requiring hyper-vigilant detailing. Martin shares a…


Code Development Changes Could Silence Voter Voices

When it came to defending strong building energy codes, 2020 was a busy year—and it looks like the work won’t be slowing down any time soon. After approving a 2021 energy code that will be more efficient than ever before, the International Code Council (ICC) is considering changes to the code development process that will eliminate local input. The ICC announced last month that it wants to change how the nation’s model building energy code is developed—moving it from a large, open process to having it be developed by a committee without input from the local government building officials who…


The BS* + Beer Show: Lighting Design Strategies

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features lighting design expert and educator David Warfel (author of “Lighting for the Long Term” and “The Lighting Power of LEDs” ), and Jeff Calkins, owner of Calkins Electric Supply Co. The conversation runs from the theoretical to the practical. We learn about the ways in which light (and lack thereof) affects our eyes, mood, and overall wellbeing, and we hear some strategies for optimizing the quality and quantity of light in our homes. David shares some intriguing science and how it has influenced the lighting products market. He describes the state…


Could Green Hydrogen Be Key to a Carbon-Free Economy?

Saudi Arabia is constructing a futuristic city in the desert on the Red Sea called Neom. The $500 billion city—complete with flying taxis and robotic domestic help—is being built from scratch and will be home to a million people. And what energy product will be used both to power this city and sell to the world? Not oil. The Saudis are going big on something called green hydrogen—a carbon-free fuel made from water by using renewably produced electricity to split hydrogen molecules from oxygen molecules. Last summer, a large U.S. gas company, Air Products & Chemicals, announced that as part…


Positioning Control Layers in a Cantilevered Floor Assembly

Cantilevered floor systems are frequently used in residential architecture. They provide an opportunity to capture additional square footage without enlarging the house’s footprint. But they can be problematic if not detailed well—leading to moisture issues and occupant discomfort. Correctly positioning the water, air, vapor, and thermal control layers is crucial. In the control layer hierarchy, bulk water management comes first. An overhanging floor system inherently protects the wall assembly below but we should still strive for appropriate water management within the wall assembly itself. In this detail, we used Zip R-6 sheathing, a type of OSB backed with 1 in.…


Changes in Code-Writing Rules Leave Critics Seething

The organization that publishes the country’s most influential energy conservation and building codes has proposed rule changes that would leave key decisions to a single committee while cutting thousands of government officials out of direct voting. Critics say the changes under consideration by the International Code Council (ICC) would put too much power in the hands of a building industry that has resisted requirements for more energy efficient buildings in the past. The dispute may look arcane, but the outcome will affect how the widely used International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and parts of the International Residential Code (IRC) are…

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