House Designs

How to Avoid Mold Part 2 – Control Temperature

by Erik North on August 26, 2013


      An Energy Auditing Blog article on reducing mold risk by reducing the homeowner’s ‘water sports’ (water related activities in the house) was published at GBA last week. Allison Bailes, the self-described energy guy with the funny name, rightly pointed out that temperature plays a key role as well. Temperature Makes Humidity Relative […]


Major Thermal Bypasses – The Big Holes in Your House

by Erik North on November 14, 2012

Post image for Major Thermal Bypasses – The Big Holes in Your House

    First, a bit about my writing…I write longhand whenever I have spare time. Between audits, at lunch, after the gym when stopping for a coffee then I type them up. The thing is that I find a lot more spare time in my walking around day than at the home/office. To say there […]


Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.15 – VENT ALL THE GARAGES!

      Image from Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and A Half. She is wildly hilarious. Go read it. This is another classic. I was going to write ‘Maine classic’ but really this found everywhere in new construction with attached garages. I’ve written other posts about the challenges of insulating a finished room over a […]


Post image for A Variation on Esoteric – The REMOTE Wall System

      I mentioned in my last post that we were getting toward more esoteric wall systems like the PERSIST walls. Well, the REMOTE wall system is a variation on PERSIST, making it like an esoteric second cousin, once removed. And up front, I’m admitting that I’m flat out copying a lot of material […]


Post image for We’re Getting Esoteric Here…PERSIST Wall Systems

      Don’t call it a comeback… I’ve written about exterior foam insulation as a wall concept before, but thought I’d touch on a few of the specific systems out there: the PERSIST and REMOTE approaches. These are two incredibly well insulated, air tight approaches to creating an efficient, green house. What is PERSIST? […]

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Larsen truss wall

  Sometimes the homeowner conversations during audits wander into what could be done with a home as opposed to the best ROI or greenest options. It’s difficult to significantly upgrade wall R-value without a major project. Interior solutions involve gutting and re-insulating wall cavities or drilling holes for injection foam which wouldn’t substantially upgrade walls […]


Spray foam

    Hey, and I get to use the same foam image again. People don’t like abrupt change and in business it’s a formula for chaos. Excelling is hard if you constantly change personnel, products or ways of business. Do one thing superbly. In construction, this means sticking with the framing techniques you know rather […]


Walls with How Many Studs? Double Studs

by Erik North on June 20, 2012

Double Stud Walls

  The building codes are changing, adapting to both the rising cost of heating and the information on thermal bridging and air leakage that building science has uncovered over the last 35 years. The newest energy codes have requirements to address thermal bridging and blower door CFM50 standards. Building techniques like SIPs, ICFs and advanced […]

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Post image for Flash and Batt – The Oddly Illicit Sounding Insulation System

    One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that construction doesn’t change quickly and when it does, the change is apt to be along the lines of current practices. It makes sense. It’d be near impossible to run a business changing your technique and product five times a week. Flash and batt insulation […]


Ya Gotta Have Standards…Wall Standards

by Erik North on June 15, 2012

Standard framing

  I’ve been writing (yet to be published articles) about wall framing techniques off and on for a few weeks and haven’t defined your basic wall. These are the 2×4 framed walls contractors have been building basically since forever (or at least since the end of World War II). The push for new housing in […]