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Martin Holladay built his first passive-solar house in northern Vermont in 1974, and he has lived off the grid since 1975. He has worked as an editor since 1999 and is now senior editor at both Fine Homebuilding and GreenBuildingAdvisor.com. His weekly blog at GBA, “Musings of an Energy Nerd,” focuses on energy-efficient residential construction.
Residential builders are beginning to experiment with fluid flashing products developed for commercial jobs
Experimentation and learning have led one builder to integrate energy-smart techniques into everyday construction
A forced-air heating system isn’t as scary as it seems
The overall efficiency of machines are rated two ways: the modified energy factor (MEF) and the water factor (WF).
What’s the best way to insulate a slab-on-grade foundation?
An expensive water heater may be efficient, but will it save enough energy to justify the purchase price?
An unscientific—but telling—trial of air-sealing tapes
Even the most sophisticated programs have limits
Ducts, furnaces, and air handlers belong inside a house's conditioned space
If your kitchen has a powerful exhaust fan, it may be making your indoor air worse
Vented or unvented roof assemblies can work, but failure carries a heavy price
Properly air-sealed floors exposed on the underside to outdoor temperatures will have better energy performance
Your choice of insulation goes far beyond what’s on the shelf of the local home-improvement store. Here’s what to consider.
Before you begin tiling, make sure that you've chosen the right substrate
These materials are tougher than felt, but do they perform as well?
They don’t have the track record of wood windows, but chosen and installed with care, modern vinyl products can compete
Ice dams are a sign of an inefficient house
A conventional furnace is overkill in a small, well-insulated house. Here are some better options.
Polypropylene vs. Butyl
These energy smart details will help you build water-tight shading roofs for windows.
Both perform better than batts and are less expensive than spray polyurethane. Neither is perfect.
These energy smart details will help you build a tight house with a warm floor
Cutting a home’s energy use by 50% to 90% is a worthy goal, but the extreme costs keep it out of reach for many. We take a look at the most cost-effective alternatives.
These energy smart details will help you build a tight house with redundant air barriers.
These cold-weather windows are new to our shores and perform well, but some lesser known North American products may be just as good
This energy smart detail will increase R-value and prevent condensation
Foam sheathing and furring strips make the wall thicker; Make sure the sill can drain and the head is tight.
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