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Practical Details for Energy Efficiency

Practical Details for Energy Efficiency

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    For a tight, energy-efficient house, plan your air-sealing strategy at the framing stage

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    Installing 1 inch of rigid foam insulation under the basement slab keeps the slab warm enough to prevent moisture from condensing on it. The perimeter insulation between the slab and the colder concrete wall provides a thermal break. The cast-in-place pressure-treated window frames will receive low-e argon-filled windows.

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    Recessing the band joist 2 inches provides room for exterior rigid foam insulation. To provide an air barrier, the foam is carefully caulked in place with Tremco acoustical sealant.

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    When the budget allows, 2x6 studs are spaced 24 inches on-center, and 1x3 strapping is installed horizontally at 16 inches on-center. The air space provides a thermal break between the studs and the drywall. Red 3M tape is used to seal seams and tears in the poly air barrier.

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    When a tub/shower unit is located on an exterior wall, the poly air barrier is installed before the tub goes in. To create a tight air barrier, the poly needs to be taped to the bottom plate of the wall.

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    Poorly sealed ceiling-mounted light fixtures continuously leak interior air into the attic. When the warm, moist air hits a cold surface, the moisture condenses, leading to mildew or rot.

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    Here, a forced-air register is installed in a piece of 3/4-inch plywood where it penetrates the attic air barrier. The register boot is caulked to the plywood.

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    Where this dryer vent penetrates the exterior wall (at bottom of photo), a plywood block provides a surface for taping the poly air barrier. This house has horizontal wall strapping, so there was no need to recess the plywood block between the studs. Note that where the partition meets the exterior wall, the penetrations for the plumbing vent and electrical cable are sealed with urethane foam. The photo also shows an Enviroseal airtight electrical box.

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    Most dense-pack cellulose systems require the installation of a reinforced polyethylene air barrier. Stapling the poly on the side rather than the edge of the studs helps keep the poly from bulging when the cellulose is blown in place.

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    Cellulose insulation effectively fills all of the spaces around the bottom chords of roof trusses. Because cellulose is cheap, it can be piled on deep.

Sources of Supply

3M

Construction Products Dept.
3M Center
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000
800/480-1704
3M 8086 Builders' Sealing Tape

ADO Products

P.O. Box 236
Rogers, MN 55374
800/666-8191
Durovent heavy-duty polystyrene attic ventilation baffles

Energy Federation Inc.

40 Washington St., Suite 3000
Westborough, MA 01581
800/876-0660
Retailer of air-sealing, energy-saving, and ventilation products, including Tu-Tuf polyethylene, 3M Builders' Sealing Tape, Pur-Fil aerosol urethane foam, and Enviroseal and LESSCO airtight electrical boxes

LESSCO

W1330 Happy Hollow Rd.
Campbellsport, WI 53010
877/533-8690
Airtight electrical boxes

ParPac

27 Main St.
Swanzey, NH 03446
877/937-3257
Good News Reused reinforced polyethylene air barrier

Poly-America

2000 W. Marshall Dr.
Grand Prairie, TX 75051
800/527-3322
Flame-retardant polyethylene sheeting, which can be left exposed in a basement

Resource Conservation Technology

2633 N. Calvert St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
410/366-1146
Distributor of Tenoarm, a reinforced polyethylene air barrier from Sweden

Ryeco Products

21 Laurier Rd.
Penetanguishene, ON L9M 1G8
Canada
800/470-7772
Manufacturer of Enviroseal airtight electrical boxes

Sto-Cote Products

Box 310
Genoa City, WI 53128
888/786-2683
Manufacturer of Tu-Tuf reinforced polyethylene air barrier

Tamarack Technologies

P.O. Box 490
W. Wareham, MA 02576
800/222-5932
Distributor of ventilation products, including the Airetrak timer/fan-speed controller

Todol Products

P.O. Box 398
Natick, MA 01760
508/651-3818
Distributor of Pur-Fil aerosol urethane foam and Pur-Fil foam guns

Tremco Sealants

3735 Green Rd.
Beachwood, OH 44122
800/321-7906
Tremco acoustical sealant