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FAQ: Why Do Some Builders Avoid Foam Insulation?

Q: Some builders and designers shun certain types of insulation because of their potential to damage the environment. What are the environmental tradeoffs involved in selecting insulation and why are some builders “foam free” advocates? A: Life was a lot simpler when we could select insulation solely on the basis of how effectively it stopped the flow of heat. The higher the R-value, the less heat would sneak through a wall or a roof and the more comfortable the occupants would be. That’s still true. The R-value of any given insulation is an important consideration. Building assemblies with higher R-values…

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Understanding Air Change Rates

Let’s talk about one of my (and David Byrne’s) favorite subjects: air. Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the novel coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) that spreads it, the indoor air quality (IAQ) community—researchers, mediators, manufacturers, bloggers, groupies—is having a moment. This must be the first time in history that IAQ researchers have logged so many hours on television and been quoted so frequently in news articles. And they’re tweeting up a storm, too. And that brings me to the tweet by IAQ researcher Dustin Poppendieck that served as the impetus for this article: That tweet was one of four in a…

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Cold-Climate Attic Air Sealing

I work in northern Minnesota, climate zone 7, where we can see delta Ts—the difference between inside and outside temperatures—reach more than 100°F. Many of the blower-door tests I conduct show leakage in the ceiling air-control layer. I wrestled with finding a solution that would not only improve the performance of the air-control layer but also provide vapor control. The latter is less of a concern but it is something I feel needs to be addressed in my climate—perhaps a discussion for another time. Polyethylene sheeting installed on a ceiling Regional preference for control layers Let’s start with what is common…

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Rising Sea Levels Deepen Miami’s Social Divide

This post originally appeared at Yale E360. There is an inescapable truth about life in South Florida: This low-lying region is set to be swallowed by the sea. An array of powers—municipal, state, federal, and private—have begun to plan and borrow and spend to defend Miami and its environs. But as sea levels steadily rise, the porous limestone rock its residents walk on every day means there is no stopping the Atlantic Ocean. The sea at the southern end of the Florida Peninsula has risen a foot since the 1900s, and almost 5 inches since 1993. The ocean reclaims chunks…

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The BS* + Beer Show: Permanent Wood Foundations (PWFs)

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features guests Mike Guertin and Jake Bruton talking about Permanent Wood Foundations (PWFs), a.k.a. “All-Weather Wood Foundations”—their construction, conditions for use, insulating details, modern-day viability, and more. Interestingly, their first documented use was in 1937. When that building was lifted to be relocated, its wood foundation was in excellent shape; it is still standing today beneath a functioning office building—a testament to the system’s durability and longevity. Having built a number of PWFs over the years, Mike presents an unbiased overview of the assembly method, describing a few of the projects he…

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EIFS Hero Awards: Call for Entries

EIFS Hero Awards: Call for Entries | 2020-10-15 | 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…

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