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

New Group Promotes “Climate-Smart” Wood

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and four environmental advocacy groups in the Pacific Northwest have launched a promotional campaign for forest practices and wood products that help lower carbon emissions. The Climate-Smart Wood Group says it wants to help builders, architects, and other buyers understand the difference between wood products on the market and make it easier to locate lumber that meets sustainable forestry standards. In a statement laying out its goals, the group said that growing interest in mass-timber construction underscores the need to choose wood products carefully. Promoters often cite timber as a less carbon-intensive building product than…

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Energy Code Development Begins: Focus on Residential

This is part one of a two-part series. Code officials, builders, energy efficiency advocates, and others weighed in last month on proposals to update the next model building energy code–a crucial policy tool for states, counties, and cities as they work to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. Debate at the Committee Action Hearings held by the International Code Council (ICC) in Albuquerque was often as spicy as the famous New Mexico chili. The end result leaves us hopeful that the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will improve energy efficiency for both residential and…

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Sanity Check on an Unvented Roof Assembly

Mapping out the roof assembly for a new house in Climate Zone 6B, Steve Mackay has settled on long I-joists insulated with a mix of closed-cell spray polyurethane foam and blown-in fiberglass. He doesn’t plan on venting the roof, and he wants to be certain his design will be problem free. Here’s what it looks like: 14-inch I-joists with 5 inches of closed-cell foam sprayed on the underside of the roof desk. The balance of the insulation will be fiberglass (Mackay wants to use the BIBS system) with no interior vapor barrier. In all, he gets R-67 in the roof…

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A Discussion of the Living Building Challenge Certification Program

What is a Living Building? A Living Building is rooted in place yet harvests all it needs, including energy and water. It is adapted to its climate and to its site. It operates pollution-free. It is comprised of integrated systems. And, it is beautiful.In this episode of the Green Architects’ Lounge, Phil and Chris discuss the Living Building Challenge (LBC), a certification program that aims to transform the marketplace, with all its joys and challenges. Collaborating for the first time, their firms are working on a LBC project, The Ecology School in Saco, Maine. On the show, Phil and Chris…

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Pete’s Puzzle: What Exactly is a Vapor Perm?

This is a story. Much of this story I believe to be true, but I can’t document much of it either. It all just makes sense, particularly as parts are conveyed by Bill Rose, our industry’s heralded building-science historian (see #2 in Bill’s to-do list for the building industry). Much of the story is based on one or more conversations I have had with Bill, which usually started something like this: “Bill, where the hell do the units 1 grain of water and 1 in. of mercury vapor pressure come from in our unit of measure for water vapor permeance?”…

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Flatrock Passive: Thoughts on a Winter Greenhouse

Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of blog posts by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive House standard. You’ll find his complete blog here. It is now May. The weather is shaping up, and after a long, cold winter the ground is starting to thaw. Old Man Winter did give me one thing this year: a lot of time to think. I have been thinking mainly about food security and accessing more locally grown food. We had a successful harvest last year and…

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