The weatherizing crew that worked on this wall section achieved excellent density and found most of the cavities, including the one defined by the hidden diagonal brace at upper right. Unfortunately, they completely missed the narrow stud bay at far left - an omission that would significantly reduce the final R-value of a real-world wall assembly.
The weatherizing crew that worked on this wall section achieved excellent density and found most of the cavities, including the one defined by the hidden diagonal brace at upper right. Unfortunately, they completely missed the narrow stud bay at far left - an omission that would significantly reduce the final R-value of a real-world wall assembly.

Weatherizing older homes is hard, isolating, and often thankless work. It involves a lot of squeezing into tight, dusty spaces, many of which are hung with cobwebs and studded with rusty nails. So when weatherization workers get together for regional conferences, it's only natural they should want to show off their skills in front of those best equipped to appreciate them: their peers.

Bob Scott, a former director of the West Virginia weatherization program, has been judging crew-skills competitions for years. He says that these events are designed to approximate the conditions faced by workers in the field - though without the spiders, bats, and other wildlife. In one regular event, for example, crews build an air-sealed...

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