TIGHT BUILDING ENVELOPE? How you going to do it?

TIGHT BUILDING ENVELOPE? How you going to do it?
Written By:Premier SIPS Technical Manager
Okay, so you’ve decided to build “green”.  Now you have to decide if you are going to follow one of the many “green standards” now available like LEED, Passive House, National Green Building Standard or some other standard.  Or, do you have your own ideas of what a green standard should be?  Chances are whichever way you go, one of your main goals is a tight, energy efficient structure.  You may even go so far as to use blower door testing to get a handle on how “tight” your building is.  After all the correlation between a tight envelope and energy efficiency is proven.
Stick framing has come a long way over the past few years with respect to tightening up the envelope of the building.  Attention to detail with proper sealing of connections and penetrations is paramount to having a stick framed building hit the Passive House requirement of 0.6 or less air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure.  Plan on spending a good amount of time attending to these details and you will, most likely, have to run the blower door test twice because you will have to go back and seal up some of the details you missed the first time around.
There is another option for you when framing the envelope.  Have you considered SIPs?  Buildings framed with SIPs for the exterior walls and roof routinely achieve blower door test results of less than 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure and you may only have to run the blower door test once if you are following the manufacturers typical details for sealing the panel joints.  Cool, what a deal.  Check them out.  It will be worth your effort.

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