Post image for The Worst House Ever Audited (Was Built in 2008) Part 3

    To recap: Last post I started reviewing possibly the worst house I ever audited. The house had built in 2008, which hit one of my pet peeves: That new automatically means good. But to reiterate a buddy’s favorite saying, “a house built to code is the worst house you’re legally allowed to build.” […]


Post image for The Worst House I Ever Audited (Was Built in 2008) Part 1

    OK, maybe THAT house wasn’t built in 2008. One thing apt to set my teeth on edge as an auditor is when folks casually assume that a new home won’t have energy problems or be inefficient. I was just discussing some marketing with a friend, who casually dropped that weatherization and efficiency work […]


My First Energy Audit…Part Dos

by Erik North on January 28, 2013

Post image for My First Energy Audit…Part Dos

  OK, it’s been a few weeks but with good cause. I recently had a bad accident, breaking my ankle and right tibia. Granted that shouldn’t have affected my writing output but it is difficut to concentrate on other things when walking is suddenly out of the question. Last post, we looked at the house […]


My First Energy Audit…Part Uno

by Erik North on January 2, 2013

Post image for My First Energy Audit…Part Uno

  I thought I’d start the new year by looking back: My first (paid) auditing gig. My first energy audit was a few months after I’d completed Maine State Housing’s Auditor certification program. It was a two week program, one week of class work and one week of field training. Just enough learning to make […]


Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding – Blobs of Cellulose Mold

      This was a first. I’ve never seen dense pack cellulose in a basement. The sills had been netted and packed with cellulose. The netting and been pulled down in some places but the packed cellulose remained. This may not have been a problem if not for the surrounding swamp. The house had […]


Is R-Value Dead as a Dodo?

by Erik North on November 28, 2012

Post image for Is R-Value Dead as a Dodo?

    Once upon a time, house insulation meant an extra sweater and stop your damn complaining. Men were men, women were women, and cats and dogs were cats and dogs, I assume. There were heat retention and heating features built into houses, things like double back plaster walls or central chimneys. But until the […]


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 […]


Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.8 – The Case of The Missing Insulation

    A classic example of, hey, just not insulating a few wall bays. The house had formerly been uninsulated. The owner hired an low bid insulation contractor who blew in and out in two days. While we can’t speak to whether the cellulose is uniformly dense without tearing out some walls, we can sure […]


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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