1 Low-cost Construction for High-energy Savings Brian J. Wimmer Construction Manager Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity
2 Objectives: 1. Control air & moisture in high-performance, low-cost construction 2. Basics at design stage of house 3. Material options (insulation, windows, mechanicals, etc.) for high-performing homes 4. Improve basics & modified techniques before hightech solutions 5. ENERGY STAR for Homes process & checklists 6. Performance measures in diagnostic testing 7. Assess energy use in completed homes
3 What does it take to build an energy-efficient home? 1) Labor u Standard methods, OVE, new best practices u Devil in the details 2) Materials u Energy-efficient u Durable u Wet/dry? u Over time u Maintaining Durability
5 The climate throws a lot at us Are we building ships? It may make for natural beauty but in our homes it conspires to undo our work!
6 Control air & moisture in highperformance, low-cost construction u u u Top cause of heat and moisture movement is air flow Preventing heat and moisture flow through the foundation system Preventing heat and air flow through the building envelope u Follow up after sheetrock installation, attic and walls u u u u Sealing doors and window openings Air-tight framing methods Framing to foundation transition Air-sealing the attic
7 Control in the wall assembly Outside Inside Heat Summer Moisture Control Wall Assembly Control Heat Winter Moisture
8 #1 Means of heat & moisture transfer in wall assemblies is: Air Flow
9 Stop the air flow! And stop the heat loss & the moisture damage Control Air Flow Control
10 From constructioninstruction.com u The reality: Many walls have too little insulation and too many leaks. This means that warm moist air can get in, find a cool surface, and condense. Result: The wall gets wet, mold and mildew begin to grow. u Moisture can be carried by the flow of air into or out of the home through holes and cracks in the building envelope. This airflow is caused by a variety of forces including stack effect, the wind, and mechanical systems. u By building a tight envelope and controlling mechanical pressures, we can reduce moisture flow through a building.
11 Preventing heat, moisture & air flow through the building envelope u Start with air-tight framing u Testing at insulation stage (we found biggest leaks due to framing) u WRB barrier, taped top, bottom, edges u Stopping wind pressure from producing air infiltration u Interior barrier methods u Poly/air-tight drywall, smart vapor retarders (vapor retarders whose vapor permeability changes based on the humidity conditions) u Connecting the interior and exterior barriers u Sealed to framing for complete air block u Under slab control of moisture & radon u Poly film, polystyrene board
12 Start with air-tight framing Caulking the framing Caulking the framing
13 Rim joist areas These areas need sealing
14 Sealing the gaps Penetrations such as electrical boxes Bottom plate Foundation to wood connections
16 Follow up after sheetrock installation, attic & walls, etc.
17 Preventing heat & moisture flow through the foundation system u u u u u u u Build foundation like a boat hull underwater Capillary break between footing & foundation wall (radon control) Connecting the capillary break to under slab radon control Insulating under the slab (new energy code) Use of ICF Capping the foundation top with waterproof membrane Connection between foundation and framing
18 Under Slab Poly & Foam Board Poly from under ICF wall Sealing around plumbing
19 Connection between foundation wall & framing
20 Connection between foundation wall & framing WRB sealed behind foundation protection
21 Basics at design stage of house u Planning for minimal ductwork u Keeping ducts inside the thermal envelope u Pass-through instead of ducted returns when possible to minimize ducts u Simplified design of home u OVE framing u Line up floor trusses, wall studs, roof trusses (24: o.c.) u Reduce thermal transfer
22 Central Returns w/pass throughs
23 Pass-throughs, returns
24 Material options (insulation, windows, mechanicals, etc.) for high-performing homes u u u u Polystyrene board Fiberglas batts New energy code/no interior vapor barrier required? Foam fill around windows u Inexpensive caulk & air-tight framing u WRB, tape and sealing the entire envelope u All sealed ducting u Triple-glazed window costs
25 Polystyrene + Fiberglass
26 Improve basics & modified techniques before high-tech solutions u Details, details, details. The Devil is in there! u Focus on the details to achieve maximum performance of materials through best practices u OVE framing practices u Two-stud corners, ladder pocket, alignment of components u Pre-poly and poly connection to WRB u Complexity and cost of generating power lower use first. u PV is a rapidly changing industry and current equipment will continue to drop in cost and go up in efficiency (a changing variable)
27 Ducts/plumbing in unconditioned space
28 ENERGY STAR for Homes process & checklists u Checklists: u Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist u HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist u HVAC System Quality Installation Rater Checklist u Water Management System Builder Cheklist u Hiring a qualified HVAC contractor u Must
29 Checklists u Thermal Enclosure u HVAC Contractor u HVAC Rater u Water Management
30 Performance measures in diagnostic testing u Energy rater three stages of evaluation u Site Visit 1 (SV1) Completion of framing u SV2 after HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical & insulation & poly VB u Blower door and duct leakage testing numbers SV3 u Duct leakage testing a t SV2
31 Site Visit
32 Site Visit
33 Site Visit
34 Duct Leakage Test Missed it! Main Level SF Lower Level SF Total SF = 1, ,880.8 SF / 100 = x 8 CFM25 = Your allowable total duct leakage is Your test results were this does not meet the requirements.
35 HVAC System u NO un-ducted cavity returns u Seal ALL seams u Seal cabinet u Seal boots to subfloor/wall/ceiling u Credentialed through ACCA OR Advanced Energy
36 Performance Measures & Testing u Blower door: 4 ACH50 u Air induced pressure of -50 Pascals u Meant to simulate a stiff wind perhaps mph u Ducts total: 8 CFM / 100 SF finished u Total of all ductwork u Ducts outside: 4 CFM / 100 SF finished u Total leakage in ductwork in unconditioned space u Just Right & Airtight, Joe Lstiburek BuildingScience.com
37 OVE Framing Practices
38 Advanced Framing: An Examination of its Practical Use in Residential Construction Based on the case study, some OVE techniques were practical to implement (when visibly marked on the construction plans) and had noticeable material savings, thermal benefits, and positively affected the quality of framing. Other practices were found to be problematic, either from a technical or logistical standpoint, or had minimal energy or lumber saving benefits (considering that exterior foam sheathing was employed on the home). On a first-time home, these added soft costs associated with the implementation of even the most basic OVE practices are likely to offset any savings accrued from reduced lumber use. Furthermore, the energy efficiency gains associated with using continuous exterior insulating sheathing overshadow the efficiency gains from employing OVE framing techniques.
39 Reducing backing requirements
40 Assess energy use in completed homes u u u Energy rater Blower door test and understanding the results Duct leakage test and understanding the results and why it s important
49 Special thanks to Molly Berg, Sustainable Building Program Manager at Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota Contributions: Cost analysis, assistance with Energy Rating, filling out the forms, etc. Molly Berg
50 In accordance with the Department of Labor and Industry s statute , Subd. 11, This educational offering is recognized by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry as satisfying 1.5 hours of credit toward Building Officials and Residential Contractors continuing education requirements. For additional continuing education approvals, please see your credit tracking card.
51 Links: OVE: Building Science: Construction Instruction:
52 Time-permitting: Exterior foam board/ new energy code.
54 Incorporating Thick Layers of Exterior Rigid Insulation on Walls Wall assemblies are one portion of the building that provide a separation between the inside environment and the outside environment. This separation is often referred to as a building enclosure or a building envelope. For wall assemblies, control of rainwater, airflow, water vapor flow, and heat flow are key factors to providing a durable enclosure. The control of these elements can be separated into four principle control layers. They are presented in order of importance: u A water control layer u An air control layer u A vapor control layer u A thermal control layer The best place for the control layers is to locate them on the outside of the structure in order to protect the structure.
55 Incorporating Thick Layers of Exterior Rigid Insulation on Walls u u u There are three principle control approaches to dealing with water in the vapor form. The first is to let the water vapor pass through the assembly from the inside out and from the outside in. This type of wall assembly is called a flow-through assembly and can dry to both sides. The second is to locate a distinctive vapor control layer to retard the flow of water vapor into the wall assembly from either the inside or from the outside. This type of assembly is called vapor control layer assembly. The most common location for a vapor control layer is on the inside warm in winter side of the thermal insulation. The third is to control the temperature of the surfaces where condensation is likely to occur by raising the surface temperature with insulation. The most common method of achieving this is to use rigid insulation on the exterior of assemblies. This type of assembly is called control of condensing surface temperature assembly. When rigid insulation is added to the exterior of the structural sheathing, the interior surface temperature of the structural sheathing is increased since the insulation keeps the sheathing warmer. By raising the temperature of the condensing surface of interest sufficiently, condensation from interior water vapor migrating into the wall assembly does not occur. This allows assemblies to be constructed in cold climates without interior vapor control layers. The building codes recognize this and provide guidance on the minimum thermal resistance values of rigid insulation required to control condensation, when Class I and II vapor retarders are replaced with Class III retarders in specific regions.
56 Table 5 is information taken from Table R Class III Vapor Retarders of the 2009 IRC and Table R Class III Vapor Retarders of the 2012 IRC and provides guidance for thermal resistance values to control condensation for Climate Zones 5, 6, 7, 8 and Marine 4. Table 5. Thermal resistance values to control condensation for climate zones 5, 6, 7, 8 and marine 4 from (2009 IRC and 2012 IRC).
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