Excellent publication - try not to go overboard with changes and ruin a good thing. Don't reduce the dimensions of the page (a deal breaker at other pubs) and don't even think about reducing the quality of the photographs and illustrations. The illustrations are clearly superior to other trade magazines and provide valuable communication to the reader. If there is one thing Fine Homebuilding does very wrong, it's charging print subscribers to access online content. That's just wrong.
Bring back Chuck Miller!
Radiant barrier sheathing, foils and sprays were the rage in the South years ago. Not today; they don't work from an energy standpoint, some believe there is a slight comfort perception. Today it's spray foam and sealed attics, a method that does work and clearly saves money with a relatively short amortization period. If not foam, then well ventilated attics and plenty of air sealing and insulation. Not really any different from the North.
Be careful what you are measuring! It looks like the staff could use this tip. (Watch the close up's in Chuck's video)
I would agree change is needed particularly in areas like Texas where anything goes and inspectors are often non-existent. Texas just eliminated the state run home builder administration system. Let the buyer beware is considered enough in many states.
Even well intentioned builders are often confused about "energy efficient" technologies that emerge with only advertising to inform. Negatives are only publicly acknowledged by a manufacturer when that supplier has found a solution to market. Realtors and developer salesmen are often the "experts" home buyers depend on for recommendations.
Bogus or marginally effective techniques and "innovations" such as methods to reject attic heat have never worked in the climates like the south but continue to be sold and marketed aggressively by the suppliers and trade magazines, often as "green".
I recently talked to one builder who was completing his own house with 1980's technology. Why? Partially due to cost but primarily because of fear that a new synthetic stucco, aluminum wiring, plastic piping, asbestos siding, mold, etc. will emerge "when more is known". The conservative custom builder was too busy trying to meet his schedule and budget to worry about sealed attics and geothermal heat pumps. Of course the home will be beautiful and he can and will sell it when utility and comfort concerns dictate. Ah the free market...
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