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Building America Best Practices Cold Climates

Building America Best Practices Cold Climates

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August 2005 • NREL/TP-550-38309
Building America Best Practices Series: Volume 3
Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving New Home Efficiency,
Comfort, and Durability in the Cold and Very Cold Climates
U.S. Department of Energy
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Bringing you a prosperous future where energy is clean, abundant, reliable, and affordable
Building Technologies Program
TOFENERGY
DEPARTMEN
U
E
N
ITEDSTAT
SOFA
ER
IC
A
M
MANAGERS

Putting building
science to work for
your bottom line

INTRODUCTION
Taking action in
your community
CASE STUDIES
Bringing it all together
SITE PLANNERS
& DEVELOPERS
Properly situated houses
pay big dividends
SITE SUPERVISORS
Tools to help with
project management
DESIGNERS
Well-crafted designs
capture benefits for builders,
buyers, and business
TRADES
Professional tips for fast
and easy installation
MARKETERS

Energy efficiency
delivers the value that
customers demand

HOMEOWNERS
Shopping for value,
comfort, and quality
Building America Best Practices Series: Volume 3 Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving
New Home Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability in the Cold and Very Cold Climates
Version 2, 8/2005 • TTL-1
Building America Best Practices Series: Volume 3
Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving New Home Efficiency,
Comfort, and Durability in the Cold and Very Cold Climates
Prepared by
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Michael C. Baechler
Z. Todd Taylor, Rosemarie Bartlett, Theresa Gilbride, Marye Hefty, Heidi Steward
and
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pat M. Love
DISCLAIMER

This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor Battelle Memorial Institute, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof, or Battelle Memorial Institute. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

Acknowledgments
MANAGERS

Putting building
science to work for
your bottom line

INTRODUCTION
Taking action in
your community
CASE STUDIES
Bringing it all together
SITE PLANNERS
& DEVELOPERS
Properly situated houses
pay big dividends
SITE SUPERVISORS
Tools to help with
project management
DESIGNERS
Well-crafted designs
capture benefits for builders,
buyers, and business
TRADES
Professional tips for fast
and easy installation
MARKETERS

Energy efficiency
delivers the value that
customers demand

HOMEOWNERS
Shopping for value,
comfort, and quality
Building America Best Practices Series: Volume 3 Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving
New Home Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability in the Cold and Very Cold Climates
Version 2, 8/2005 • ACK-1

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program is comprised of public/
private partnerships that conduct systems research to improve overall housing performance,
increase housing durability and comfort, reduce energy use, and increase energy security
for America’s homeowners. Program activities focus on finding solutions for both new
and existing homes, as well as integrating clean onsite energy systems that will allow the
homebuilding industry to provide homes that produce more energy than they use. In addition
to the DOE management and staff, the Building America Program includes seven consortia,
four national laboratories, and hundreds of builders, manufacturers, and service providers.
Building America works closely with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
(HUD) Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) Program, co-manages the
ENERGY STAR Program along with the Environmental Protection Agency, and works with
other federal agencies to coordinate research findings and disseminate information. These
partners make the program a successful source of knowledge and innovation for industry
practitioners and government policy makers. Together, these cooperating agencies have
provided reviews and shared insightful comments, as well as making the authors aware of
their technical libraries.

The U.S. DOE Building America Program funded the development of this series of
handbooks. DOE also funded the Building America consortia and national laboratories to
form the basis for these best practices. The seven consortia are listed on the back cover of
this document. The consortia have taken on the hard work of applied research, field testing,
training builders, and transforming the results into building practices. Numerous drawings,
descriptions, photos, and case studies originated with the consortia.

Many builders have chosen to use the Building America process in collaboration with the consortia and are quoted in this series of best practices with over a dozen featured in case studies. These builders deserve thankful recognition for contributing to the success of the Building America Program and the Best Practices Series.

Building America partners worked diligently on this project to further the cause of efficiency,
resource conservation, or improved building performance. These groups have voluntarily
supplied technical materials, review comments, or help in distribution. These contributors
include Southface Energy Institute; Energy and Environmental Building Association,
Wisconsin ENERGY STAR Homes Program; Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Air
Conditioning Contractors of America, National Fenestration Rating Council, and National
Association of Home Builders. National Association of State Universities and Land Grant
Colleges Extension Service Professors from universities throughout the nation provided
valuable and in depth contributions. In particular, professors from the following universities
devoted their time and shared their insights: University of Kentucky, Cornell University,
University of Florida, University of Louisiana; and the University of Minnesota.

This project required coordination among the national laboratories. Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have taken the lead at producing
this document. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory made its library of Building
America documents available to the authors, reviewed the document, and has responsibility
for posting the document to the Web. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
reviewed the document contents.

Christina Van Vleck lent this project her skill as a graphic artist. She prepared all of the
original drawings and designed and laid out the overall series of books.
The authors and DOE offer their gratitude to the many contributors that made this
project a success.

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