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The BS* + Beer Show: How to Build a Pretty Good House

For regular readers of GBA, the Pretty Good House is a familiar concept. And the original Pretty Good House tenets of finding the right balance between construction cost and energy performance seems to be a common goal among GBA members. Since Michael Maines’ original article on the topic however, the idea has evolved, and now includes, among other things, the goal of reducing embodied carbon. On this episode of The BS* + Beer Show, Michael, Dan Kolbert, Jeff Adams and Allison Bailes share the spotlight and offer introductions and case studies to the basics (and beyond) of the Pretty Good House concept…

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The Case for EPS

The Case for EPS | 2020-06-05 | Walls & CeilingsWalls & Ceilings logoWalls & Ceilings logo 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…

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Frugal Happy: A Stronger Neighborhood in a Covid-19 World

This coronavirus pandemic is terrible. By almost all measures, life now sucks for everyone. But there is one thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see during these unprecedented times, which is that despite all the social distancing, our neighborhood has actually become closer. Seems counterintuitive, but I suppose it makes sense. Since we’re all stuck at home and can’t go out for our usual activities, we are doing more things here in the neighborhood, which means we see and interact with one another more often. Can’t hang out with friends. Can’t go to the movies. No restaurants. No gyms. No…

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How to Look at a House like a Building Scientist (Part 4: Water) 

I’m back, with the fourth article in a series on various building diagnostic tools and techniques that I use in my work sleuthing out problems in buildings. You can see Part 1: Air, Part 2: Heat, and Part 3: Temperature, Humidity, and HVAC Systems before reading this post if you’d like. Here in Part 4, we’ll be looking at water and moisture issues. Water, buildings, and the importance of deflection Water and moisture problems are the most common cause of damage and durability issues in buildings. Within the category, the most damaging is liquid water, typically in the form of…

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Making Building Interiors Healthier in a Pandemic

This post, which was originally published at The Conversation, was written by Kevin Van den Wymelenberg, Leslie Dietz, and Mark Fretz. Architects and building engineers strive to create safe, productive places where humans can live and work. We have developed complex codes, regulations, and guidelines to achieve goals such as structural safety, fire safety, adequate ventilation and energy efficiency, and to anticipate extreme scenarios such as 100-year floods. The question for our profession now is whether and how the 100-year viral pandemic will change architectural design and building operations. How can societies safeguard buildings or homes from a viral pathogen…

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Building Strategies in a Hot, Humid Climate

AlbertoArriaga33 is wrestling with plans for a new home in a tropical location. He doesn’t say exactly where, but conditions are certainly challenging: high heat and high humidity, with nighttime temperatures dipping only into the upper 70s and outdoor relative humidity hovering at about 70%. Exterior walls will be grouted concrete block, what Alberto says is standard construction in the tropics. Outside walls will be finished with a cementitious plaster and then painted. On the inside, light steel framing and stud cavities filled with R-15 mineral wool batts. “However,” Alberto writes in this Q&A post, “I have many doubts and…

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