62 Things We Should Ban to Improve Home Building

first_imgLet’s face it. The state of home building isn’t good. Yes, we have building science and energy codes and green building programs out the wazoo. We have cool new products and home energy raters and even Joe Lstiburek. Despite all this, we still have wild ductopuses, holey air barriers, and insipid insulation installations.And I’ve finally lost my patience. I think the only way to improve the state of home building in America is to ban these things.Wait! Don’t leave yet. I know your blood may be boiling just after reading the title of this article, but please read all the way through. There’s something for everyone here. You may not like the idea of banning batt insulation, but how about blower door tests?This list is progressive. The things further down the list build on the earlier ones.Here we go:(1) Powered attic ventilators – They suck conditioned air from your house and backdraft water heaters.(2) Ventless gas fireplaces – Even the industry has a hard time justifying these things, which are already banned in Canada and other places. RELATED ARTICLESBanish These Details From Your PlansMartin’s Useless Products ListMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof Design (3) Foil-faced bubble wrap – A small step up from insulating paint. Let’s use real insulation.(4) Batt insulation – It’s almost never done right.(5) Flex duct – Kinks and sags and ductopuses. Oh, my!(6) Recirculating range hoods – Would you want a recirculating toilet? That’s what Prof. John Straube compares them to.(7) Smart vents – A poor solution for a bad duct system. Do the ducts right to begin with.(8) Rules of Thumb – Thumbs are great things but shouldn’t be used to size air conditioners.(9) Vented crawl spaces – They’re moisture and mold factories. And they sometimes allow you to breathe dead possum!(10) Vented attics – Too often a place for ducts, powered attic ventilators, and dead bats.(11) Housewrap – It’s never installed well enough to be a great air barrier and installers still haven’t figured out how to flash windows with it.(12) Attached garages – If you like to breathe carbon monoxide and other toxic gases, this is a great way to add those vital nutrients to your lungs.(13) Dormers – Too hard to insulate and air seal.(14) Complex roofs – Likely to cause moisture damage.(15) Electric-resistance heat – It may be 100% efficient… but you can do better!(16) Recessed can lights – They’re a problem when they’re put in the building enclosure, especially vaulted ceilings.(17) Panned joist returns – A guaranteed way to suck in that moldy air from the crawl space… and the dead possum particles that come with it.(18) Undercut doors for return air from bedrooms – They’re just not going to let all the air get back to the main return.(19) Dryer vents terminating near air conditioner condenser units – Blowing lint into those fins is a good way to kill the efficiency of your AC.(20) High flow range hoods – You really don’t want your house to suck that bad, do you?(21) Excess wood – Less room for insulation, more thermal bridging, and it’s just a waste of money and resources.(22) Zoning that requires less than 12 units per acre – More density is better for location efficiency.(23) Unbalanced ventilation – Like that unbalanced cousin of yours, you just don’t want it in your house.(24) Thermal bridging – Would you leave cow-sized gaps in your cattle pen?(25) Airtightness higher than 1 ach50 – Air-sealing gives you the most bang for your buck in making homes energy efficient. You know this is where we’re heading, right?(26) Carpet, vinyl, and other offgassing products – “If there is a pile of manure in a space, do not try to remove the odor by ventilation. Remove the pile of manure.” Max von Pettenkofer said that in 1858, and it applies here, too.(27) 2×4 walls – Eventually all walls will have to be at least 12 inches thick.(28) Ceiling fans – People don’t turn them off when they’re out of the room anyway.(29) Manual J load calculations – Sophisticated HVAC contractors have figured out how to get rule-of-thumb results from computer programs. 96 occupants. Single-pane windows instead of low-e. Worst-case orientation. It’s easy to add load when you need to justify that oversized AC and furnace.(30) Combustion appliances – Long after our caveman ancestors discovered fire, we’re still polluting our caves with combustion products.(31) Bonus rooms – Nobody uses that room anyway. It’s too uncomfortable.(32) Attic kneewalls – One of several reasons bonus rooms are so uncomfortable. Rarely done right.(33) Energy modeling – See Manual J above.(34) Storm doors – They’re not a great investment for saving energy.(35) Thermostats – Too many people set them incorrectly anyway, sometimes at the suggestion of their helpful HVAC service company.(36) Rim and band joists insulated with anything other than spray foam – It’s just not going to work.(37) Spray foam insulation – It smells. It shrinks. Some greenie weenies don’t like it.(38) Rim and band joists – Since there’s now no way to insulate, they must be banned. Ban the band!(39) HERS ratings -Wildly imprecise. Didn’t you see my article on the Stockton study?(40) HERS raters and energy modelers – Why should we pay for something so imprecise?(41) Cantilevers – We’ll never get to 1 ach50 and no thermal bridging without eliminating cantilevers.(42) Homes without advanced framing – See excess wood above.(43) Stick building – We might as well just go all the way and admit that stick building is the root of so many problems with home building.(44) HVAC contractors – The industry is broken. It’s time to start over.(45) Home builders – Ditto (what I said about HVAC contractors).(46) Windows – One of the biggest liabilities for heat loss/gain and moisture problems.(47) Skylights – A particularly bad kind of window that deserves to be singled out.(48) Site-built homes – The only way we’ll ever get good houses is to build them in factories in China.(49) Blower door testing – We should use that money for air sealing instead.(50) Single-family homes – Too inefficient.(51) Tiny houses – A fad for millennials who don’t know they’re just expensive trailers.(52) Mansions and McMansions – Just as no one needs more than 640 kB of memory in their computer, no one needs more than 500 square feet person in their home.(53) Ugly houses – As Joe Lstiburek said, “Ugliness is not sustainable.”(54) Energy Star New Homes Version 3 – Builders abandoned it in 2012 anyway.(55) LEED – Can we really support a program that requires all-glass houses!?(56) Passive House – A boutique program for architects who think they can do physics.(57) Know-it-all bloggers – Someone’s always got to come behind them to dispel the myths they create when they try to dispel myths.(58) Stack effect – Too controversial.(59) Psychrometrics – Too complicated. Have you seen that chart!?(60) Rain and snow – The cause of so many problems with houses.(61) Hot and cold weather – A terrible waste of energy.(62) Occupants – The number one reason high-performance homes never reach their full potential!OK, that’s it… for now. Clearly we have some issues in the world of home building. And as you should have been able to figure out by the time you got to the bottom of the list, I don’t really think we should ban all these things.The root of the problem isn’t really using the wrong products or even doing things the wrong way. It really boils down to motivation. Builders are motivated to build to code when they know they’ll have to pass inspections. They’re motivated to build energy-efficient houses when there’s demand for them. They’re motivated to build houses without comfort or moisture or IAQ problems when they’ve had too many callbacks to fix those problems.Of the 62 items on this list, there’s only one I would definitely like to see banned: ventless gas fireplaces. I’d like to see less of some of the others or better ways of doing them, but I think the real problem is getting home builders and other stake holders — including home buyers — motivated properly.And the good news is, as Joe Lstiburek likes to say, the gap between stupid and hurt is narrowing. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

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NBA announces 2019 All-Star game will be held in Charlotte

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. The league had selected Charlotte to host the 2017 All-Star game, but later moved the game to New Orleans because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people. However, a compromise was struck in March to partially erase the impact of the House Bill 2 law limiting anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people.“While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. “Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.”Despite Silver’s intentions, the Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign has concerns that no protections for non-discrimination policies for the LGBTQ community have been put in place by the Charlotte or the state. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO Adam Silver, commissioner of the National Basketball Association announces that the 2018 NBA All-Star game will be held in Los Angeles at Staples Center during a press conference at Staples Center on March 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFPCHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA—The NBA All-Star game is headed back to Charlotte in 2019, a couple of years later than anticipated.The NBA announced that the All-Star weekend will be held Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte and the game will be played at the Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.ADVERTISEMENT Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why LATEST STORIES SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo MOST READ Going, going, gone at French Open Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend “North Carolina’s discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact,” said HRC senior vice president for policy and political affairs JoDee Winterhof.The NBA is the latest sports entity to return events to North Carolina; the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference also are bringing events back to the state after changes were made to the law.The now-repealed House Bill 2 required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. That’s been dropped, but LGBT advocates have denounced the replacement law because state officials took no action barring sexual identity and gender discrimination in workplaces, restaurants and hotels and instead prohibited local governments from acting on their own.Hornets owner and longtime NBA great Michael Jordan said in a release he is “thrilled” the game is coming back to Charlotte.“We want to thank Commissioner Silver for his leadership throughout this process and for the decision to bring NBA All-Star back to Buzz City,” Jordan said in the release. “All-Star Weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world.”ADVERTISEMENT Jordan asked Silver to keep the city in mind for 2019 after the league moved the 2017 game – hopeful the HB2 law would eventually be repealed.Silver honored that request.Hornets COO and president Fred Whitfield represented the Hornets and Spectrum Center in doing whatever he could to help facilitate a resolution, spending time meeting with legislatures and other business leaders in North Carolina.“From the very beginning I was in engaged to see if we could not only save the 2019 All-Star game, but the NCAA (basketball) regionals and the ACC Tournament, as well as concerts and events in the building,” Whitfield said. “We are operators of the building and we felt like we had to get engaged to assist to get some resolution.”Even as talks to repeal HB2 stalled at times, the Hornets continued to move forward with the league’s request to upgrade the arena.The $41 million renovation – $33.5 million of which came from the City of Charlotte – is almost complete, and has included a new scoreboard, new floor and renovations to suites and hospitality areas, among other upgrades.Charlotte previously hosted the All-Star game in 1991 at the Charlotte Coliseum, which has since been demolished.Pete Guelli, the Hornets executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, estimates a $100 economic impact for the city, but said the reputational effect will be even bigger.“This city has changed significantly since the last time it hosted a game 28 years ago,” Guelli said, “and the opportunity to showcase that on an international stage is incalculable.” Lakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicans View commentslast_img read more

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