Over the years, I've developed a simple system to control random air leaks in the energy-efficient houses I build in Massachusetts. Of all the possible energy-saving upgrades, air sealing is the most cost-effective, since about 30% of the heat loss in a typical home is due to uncontrolled air leaks. Using the techniques described here, we build houses with consistently low infiltration rates — 0.6 square inches (or less) of leakage per 100 square feet of shell area, well under the Energy Crafted Homes standard of 2.0 square inches.
If you are committed to minimizing air leaks in the houses you build, you need to be sure that everyone on the job site, including the framing crew and the subcontractors, understands the basics of air sealing, and understands your expectations for maintaining a tight air barrier.
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