Wednesday, June 24, 2009

17 things I learned at the David Weekly Homes construction class featuring Dr. Joe Lstiburek

Thanks to Joe Barfield, I was able to attend a real estate agent oriented presentation by David Weekly Homes on Wednesday June 24 which included a short talk by Dr. Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation. Here's a list of seventeen things I learned and remember.

1. Dr. Lstiburek was first hired by David Weekly Homes after he addressed a meeting of 150 major builders and told them, "You guys are stupid."

2. Lstiburek definition: "Turd Polishing"- putting photovoltaic panels on a poorly built home.

3. According to Lstiburek vinyl clad windows always conduct less heat than aluminum clad ones. He says, "I know this because we make frying pans out of aluminum."

4. Wood frame windows are not durable but wood is much less temperature conductive than aluminum. The doctor says, "I know this because I have never seen wood wiring." Aluminum is 450 times more conductive of temperature than wood.

5. Jump Ducts increase energy efficiency by moving air between rooms to toward the A/C return.

6. Acceptance of some part of the federal stimulus funds ( I didn't catch the details) require states to adopt the 2009 ICC (International Code Council) construction code.

7. The goal of the US Department of Energy "Building America" project is mass marketed zero energy homes by the year 2030. Half of the gains will have to come from conservation (efficiency).

8. Be sure to enclose all six sides of a hot wall (one with a side in the attic). Because the one in the attic is not usually seen it is often not sheathed on the attic side.

9. All homes that are sold will soon require a HERS test from RESNET, even older homes. (Translation: Home Energy Rating System test from the Residential Energy Systems Networks.)

10. New David Weekly homes are testing out at about 72 HERS and will soon meet the challenge issued by President Bush to reach 70.

11. Current duct leakage in DWH homes is 3%. According to Dr. Lstiburek this is a really big achievement, as in going to the moon and back big but you seldom hear about it.

12. All new David Weekly homes are blower door tested but at Dr. Lstiburek's suggestion they suck air out of the house rather than blowing it in.

13. David Weekly homes are built at a diamond level of the "Environments for Living" program.

14. Zurn brand pex plumbing pipes are guaranteed to last 25 years. The Dow construction tape Weekly uses is very important. It is guaranteed to last 10 years.

15. Weekly uses recycled plastic in their door jambs, to prevent the difficult repair of replacing rotted wooden ones.

16. The last item on Dr. Lstiburek's list of "Top Ten Dumb Things to do in the South" was meant ironically.

17. Finally according to Dr. Lstiburek, "It's a bad idea to get rid of your stuff every ten years, so stay married."

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