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The Westford Habitat House is a 1,400 square foot single-family home located in Westford, Massachusetts. Built into an existing community, the three bedroom, two bath house features a front porch that serves to shade dining and living room windows as well as to provide a space for outdoor living. Large overhangs limit direct solar gain through the high performance windows during the summer and welcome solar gain in the winter. Rainwater and snowmelt from the roof drain off the overhang into a gravel drainage system that daylights at the rear of the site. An interior perimeter drain is also...
The retrofitted 1850's house and barn, located in the heart of Westford, reuses the historic structure for modern living through the utilization of advanced technologies. Spray foam insulation installed to the underside of the roof deck with drywall applied below the insulation convert the attic into a finished space with two additional bedrooms and full bath. Exterior walls, basement walls as well as the basement floor use rigid insulation in their assemblies. Adjacent to the house, the retrofitted barn retains its original structure while now providing comfort and necessities for a modern...
The Farmhouse retrofit is a combination of the renovation of an existing farmhouse and the new construction of a single-story, three bedroom and full bath accessible unit connected to the rear of the farmhouse. Both old and new constructions alike are equipped with high performance enclosures and high efficiency mechanical systems. Many specific window installation, eave and porch details were created and implemented in order to integrate the restoration of the home’s original aesthetic with the application of four inches of rigid insulation to both the walls and the roof. On the interior of...
Masonry walls are generally highly durable. However, when masonry walls are too wet during freezing spells, freeze-thaw damage can occur. This issue has particular relevance for energy efficiency retrofits: interior insulation makes masonry colder in winter, lowering its ability to dry and increasing the penetration of freezing temperatures. It is critical to prevent such damage, especially in historic buildings – at the same time, a huge opportunity for energy savings is lost if retrofits are unnecessarily avoided because of ultra-conservative, unfounded, and/or misguided risk assessment...
The Thermal Metric (TM) project was initiated in 2007 to support good design and construction practices by improving the way thermal performance is measured. Ultimately, the project goal is to develop a metric that can capture the in-service thermal performance of whole assemblies. More accurate measurements will allow truly high-performance assemblies (of all types of construction and insulation materials) to be identified and promoted.The TM project is supported by the TM consortium, a group of insulation manufacturers, and led by BSC. Previous research has identified multiple factors that...
The Vancouver-area “leaky condo crisis” began to surface in the 1980s. An unusually large number of moisture-related problems, not only in condos but also in most building types, prompted extensive public attention and ultimately many government and industry investigations. The Vancouver Test Hut Project was initiated in 2005 to gain a deeper understanding of how different wall assemblies perform in the coastal BC climate. Results from this project help to explain why the crisis occurred and also suggest best practices for the future.Interior of the Vancouver Test HutA 900 square foot...
This criterion defines the roles of and minimum requirements for mechanical ventilation systems in new low-rise residential buildings.
Aspen, Colorado has one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States. The mountains around Aspen provide beautiful views, skiing, and small-town seclusion, but they also limit the space available for the city to grow. In 2000, the Aspen Area Community Plan called for affordable housing projects based on the goal of housing at least 60% of the city employees within the city limits. The Burlingame Ranch project is one major step towards achieving this goal.
Fairburn – the first energy-efficient, healthy, affordable, community in metro Atlanta. All of the adjectives in this description are important to builder Jay Epstein of Health-E Enterprises. “I used to use these three terms to make up a triangle representing the way I build,” says Epstein. “Working with Building America has changed my image to a diamond with the fourth critical element being systems engineering and design.”Project Team: Building Science Corporation, Health-E EnterprisesAddress: Atlanta, GADescription: 1,400 - 2,100 ft2, three bedroom, two bath single-family homesEpstein...
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (HfHGL) has partnered with Building Science Corporation (BSC) on previous new construction projects. This working relationship continued with HfHGL’s renovation of a mid-19th century farmhouse into affordable housing meeting Building America performance standards. BSC guided the project through the compound challenges of implementing high performance construction in the context of Habitat’s construction process and in the context of a 150 year-old structure in an historic district.