Does Super-Insulation Make Sense in New Orleans? - Fine Homebuilding
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets

Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Does Super-Insulation Make Sense in New Orleans?

comments (3) January 9th, 2012 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

      Normal 0     false false false  EN-US X-NONE X-NONE                                                                                                                                                                     

 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:Table Normal;
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-bidi-font-family:Times New Roman;}

This award-winning Passivhaus home in New Orleans by sustainable.TO helped kick off a debate about insulation in a hot, humid climate.Click To Enlarge

This award-winning Passivhaus home in New Orleans by sustainable.TO helped kick off a debate about insulation in a hot, humid climate.

A winning design for an energy-efficient house in the Deep South sparks a debate: Can more insulation make a house harder to cool?

More from
Passivhaus Homes are Extremely Tight and Energy Efficient

Are Passivhaus Requirements Logical or Arbitrary?

Is It Time to Stop Insulating?

Green Basics: Cooling Options

The house was designed to meet stringent Passivhaus standards for low energy consumption, but a GreenBuildingAdvisor reader comes across a comment suggesting lots of insulation might, under some condtiions, actually make the house harder to cool.

The reason? Internal heat gains. That is, heat thrown off by the refrigerator, lights, water heater and other sources would not dissipate as easily in a heavily insulated house when it's too humid outside to throw open the wndows.

Although no one is trying to make a case for less insulation in new construction, the paradox is enough to generate a number of comments and is the subject of this week's Q&A Spotlight.

Read the whole article at


Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More

posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, insulation

Comments (3)

harvbob harvbob writes: Thermal Mass is the answer, In Germany the building code requires the insulation to be as far as possible to the outside of the building. This means most of the office towers in north america have the insulation on the wrong side of the thermal mass. If the insulation is on the outside of the concrete thermal mass the heat can be ventilated out at night cooling the mass which will absorb heat during the day. There are claims that no air conditioning is required in a normal work day in a high thermal mass building. The same applies to a high thermal mass concrete block house with concrete block partisions. People have been building high thermal mass houses for thousands of years in hot desert climates. As for heat fron refrigeraters how hard is it to vent the heat out. One of the things that I have thaught was stupid is a 'convenience store' with 20 coolers running flat out and pumping the heat back into the building in the summer. It would be easy to vent the heat out. Without venting you need an air conditioner equal to all the cooling capacity jest to nearly break even. weard or what? correct me if I am wrong ....
Posted: 12:50 am on January 18th

ATLbound ATLbound writes: The newest comment on the linked page on PH in New Orleans was dated August of '11??
Posted: 1:56 pm on January 16th

butyl butyl writes: How about having your link to Green Building Advisor actually go to page the article is on?

I received an email from you guys that linked to this article 2 hours ago and the linked article is not on the GBA homepage. It was either cycled out in a hurry or never was there.

This is not the first time.
Posted: 5:45 am on January 16th

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.