Q : What are the tweaks in your building processes to improve comfort and energy efficiency?

A: We have focused on three main areas of our construction for the year 2015. They are improving the building envelope, improving indoor air quality and improving our drainage systems. I would like to describe what these are and in further articles describe how we are making improvements in these areas.

Think of the building envelope as the shell of the home that protects you from outside elements. A typical exterior wall is constructed with 2 x 4s, 2 x 6s or 2 x 8s. The outside of the wall has a vapor barrier like Tyvek, siding, stone, OSB or plywood and windows. The inside of the wall has insulation, drywall, drywall texture, paint, windows and window trim. Plumbing pipes, electrical wiring and outlets are also part of the wall cavity. Sealants are used decrease air leakage. Techniques and products are used to help with sound abatement. The roof has vents, shingles or tile, skylights, OSB or plywood, trusses, sealants and insulation.

Indoor air quality is an exciting area to improve. Tremendous products and techniques are available to improve the air we breathe indoors. Think about the indoors of a building as a separate ecosystem. We look at everything like the flooring we walk on or the cabinets we see as opportunities to improve indoor air quality. Don’t forget about crawl spaces! Keeping the house clean during construction will also impact the home once finished.

Drainage encompasses more than just the yard. Storm water regulations dictate our construction methodologies. Every job is different. We are highly focused on keeping water out of the house. I am excited to share with you on what we are doing to protect the building envelope.

These tweaks will be shared with you over the next few weeks.