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

An Undersized Minisplit Heat Pump

You may recall that I wrote about my undersized mini-split heat pump a couple of years ago. It’s undersized compared to both the heating and cooling loads, as you can see in the table below. I’ll discuss the heating performance in a future article. (It’s been fine for three winters). Today, though, I’d like to show you how well the heat pump did in a summer heat wave, when we had three really hot days in a string of six days at or above our design temperature. Cooling performance in the heat wave You can see from the numbers above…

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Going All Electric in a Cold Climate

After spending countless hours researching information from Green Building Advisor (GBA), Building Science Corp, Energy Vanguard and more, I undertook a mostly DIY, all-electric new-build project in Northwest Lower Michigan (Climate zone 6A, Cold). I’ll review overarching strategies and concepts and include real-world data, details, and general experiences gained over three full years since moving in. When designing our home I drew much inspiration from the Pretty Good House, PassivHaus and Net-Zero Energy programs. These programs generally boil down to first minimizing the building energy loads, then meeting those loads as efficiently as possible. The former focuses on the building…

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Checklist for Business Owners

Checklist for Business Owners | Walls & Ceilings This website requires certain cookies to work and uses other cookies to help you have the best experience. By visiting this website, certain cookies have already been set, which you may delete and block. By closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to the use of cookies. Visit our updated privacy and cookie policy to learn more. This Website Uses CookiesBy closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Learn More This website requires certain cookies to work and uses other…

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Cathedral Ceiling Venting

Hello. My house is now finished but it came to my attention that my cathedral ceiling (with no attic over) is neither spray foamed or has rigid board and is not vented with any soffit or ridge vents. We are zone 4a and the concerns is condensation as humid warm air rises and hits the sheathing. I just did air leakage diagnostics and the bedroom is incredibly leaky measuring more to outside than inside with a lot of air leaking through the allegedly sealed high hats. The finished ceiling has drywall over the batts.  There are air baffles already in…

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Detailing a Bonus Space in a High-Performance Home

With today’s high cost of living and building, it is important to maximize a house’s every square foot. As a result, many of our clients want to take advantage of a “bonus space” over the garage. Not all designs suit this type of construction, but many do.The space over a garage can provide flexibility to be an office, game room, guest suite, or even a self-sufficient VRBO or Airbnb rental. In terms of its construction, some builders say, “Just use attic trusses, install sheets of drywall, paint, and voilà, it’s done.” Sounds easy, and couldn’t cost more than a few…

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R-values advised by Pretty Good House: are they obsolete?

My rater used REM/Rate modeling software to model my future net zero house and help choosing the insulation. He concluded that with the current cost of solar panels the most cost effective way to build a net zero house in Zone 4a is to just choose R49 attic (U=0.02), R21 walls (U=0.058), R15 foundation walls, slab floor uninsulated (U= 0.365), floors R38 (U=0.028). Now PrettyGoodHouse last book suggests whole-wall R value of 8 for slab, 15 for basement walls, 30 exposed floor, 25 for walls, 60 for attic in zone 4.These value are based on a 2010 paper “Building America Special…

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