'Editor's Notepad' Blog - Fine Homebuilding

Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

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Q&A Spotlight: Getting a Fair Shake on a Green House

Q&A Spotlight: Getting a Fair Shake on a Green House

6 comments

Many people are having trouble getting loans to build better houses because appraisers and lenders won't put real value on energy efficiency and durability.

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A Conversation with Marianne Cusato

A Conversation with Marianne Cusato

The designer of one of the iconic Katrina Cottages talks to Fine Homebuilding about the housing crisis, the way cities evolve, green building, and working for peanuts

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How to Install Vertical Siding over Rigid Foam Insulation?

How to Install Vertical Siding over Rigid Foam Insulation?

Board and batten siding is a popular choice, but how do you install it over foam sheathing? Do you use extra long screws, furring strips, or both?

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Water Crisis: What is Virtual Water Content?

Water Crisis: What is Virtual Water Content?

2 comments

Virtual water content describes the amount of water used to make or grow a product. By being aware of a product or material’s virtual water content you can refine your purchasing decisions to be sure you’re buying products and materials that are created using less water.

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Vapor Barriers Are a Good Thing, Right?

Vapor Barriers Are a Good Thing, Right?

19 comments

Builders once routinely stapled up sheets of polyethylene plastic on interior walls before the drywall went up to stop the flow of moisture-laden air into exterior walls. With moisture stopped in its...

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The Goldilocks Approach to Tight Houses: Is There A 'Just-Right' For Leakiness?

Many say "Tight houses need to breathe." To which, tight house advocates say "Where should I poke the hole, and how big should it be?"

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Q&A Spotlight: Can Solar Heat Be Stored for Next Winter?

Q&A Spotlight: Can Solar Heat Be Stored for Next Winter?

6 comments

Solar collectors crank out plenty of hot water during the summer, and can even make some contribution to space heating in winter. But conventional solar systems can’t store enough heat to make...

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Carpenter quits job, builds himself a tropical island

Carpenter quits job, builds himself a tropical island

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Who hasn't dreamed of giving up the 9-to-five and escaping to a tropical island to while away the days until the bank account ran dry? Well, carpenter Richie Sowa is one who made the move and is...

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Q&A Spotlight: How Do I Choose the Best Energy-Efficient Window?

Q&A Spotlight: How Do I Choose the Best Energy-Efficient Window?

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There was a time when opening, closing, and letting in light was all that any good window had to do. Nowadays, windows are anything but simple.

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Was sind diese Dinge? (What are these things?)

Was sind diese Dinge? (What are these things?)

5 comments

These mystery accessories were photographed in a kitchen in Germany. Do you know what they are?

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Q&A Spotlight: How Green Are Tankless Water Heaters?

Q&A Spotlight: How Green Are Tankless Water Heaters?

If your super-efficient tankless system gives you an endless supply of hot water, you might actually be more likely to waste energy and water.

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Safer Electrical Plugs and Outlets Save Lives and Energy

Safer Electrical Plugs and Outlets Save Lives and Energy

4 comments

A talk from a recent TED conference illustrates how to improve on 130 year old technology

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Does Rigid Foam Insulation Trap Moisture in the Walls?

Does Rigid Foam Insulation Trap Moisture in the Walls?

9 comments

You can seriously cut your home's demand for energy by adding rigid insulation, but will wrapping your home with foam cause the walls to rot?

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A Victorian Porch Wins Our Outdoor Project Contest!

A Victorian Porch Wins Our Outdoor Project Contest!

1 comment

With its beautiful period details and perfect proportions, this adaptation of an original 19th century porch won our latest gallery challenge by a landslide.

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Notes from the Pacific Coast Builders Show

Notes from the Pacific Coast Builders Show

4 comments

A look at the show's best and worst offerings

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