Resources

Please keep in mind that the information on this page is intended to be a starting point for self-education. It is not intended as a recommendation of a particular product or technique or building system on any particular project.

Exterior Walls

T-Studs: completely thermally broken studs  CLICK HERE

Offset Stud Walls (aka staggered stud) to minimize thermal bridging. There are more resources related to sound isolation walls rather than super-insulated exterior walls, but the principles are the same.

  • “Exterior Wall Framing For Homes, Additions, Garages, Workshops & Cottages” on renovation-headquarters.com  CLICK HERE

  • “Net Zero Ready / staggered stud construction” on YouTube CLICK HERE

  • “Building Soundproof Walls” By Mike Guertin  CLICK HERE

Mooney walls provide high R value, low thermal bridging, and good resistance to infiltration.  All this at a low cost (especially if you are providing the labor).

  • “Mooney Wall --  A retrofitable wall with high R value and low thermal bridging” on builditsolar.com           CLICK HERE

Zip System Insulated R-Sheathing solves thermal bridging by providing a continuous layer of rigid foam insulation outside the studs  CLICK HERE

Windows

Always buy the highest performing windows you can afford because they are the weak link in your exterior building envelope.

  • “Our Top Tips For Buying High-performance Windows” By Denis Boyer  CLICK HERE

  • Marvin Windows - Widely available, with easily tuned low-e glass (south windows let in solar heat, north windows block most energy transfer) and a great explanation of how it works:  CLICK HERE

  • Alpen Windows - Fiberglass frames, up to R11, designed to passivhaus standards, made in the USA  CLICK HERE

  • Zola Windows - Various frames, up to R11, designed to passivhaus standards  CLICK HERE

House Wrap

The following links relate to the housewrap specifications on our wall details.

  • "Sheathing Wrap” by Building Advisor. General Discussion of house wraps (including traditional tar paper, which is still viable and sometimes preferred)  CLICK HERE

  • Tyvek  CLICK HERE

  • Siga Mavjest 200  CLICK HERE

  • “Leaky Housewraps” by UMAss Amherst. Why Dumb Home does not recommend perforated housewraps  CLICK HERE

Insulation

Links to my favorite insulation types

You’ll notice a conspicuous absence of anything related to fiberglass in this list. Here’s why: “Is Insulation Dangerous?” by How Stuff Works  CLICK HERE

If you find any broken links on this page (or any page for that matter), I’d appreciate if you’d contact me and let me know.

Green Building Retailers

  • Amicus Green Building Center - Maryland  CLICK HERE

  • Center for Green building - New York  CLICK HERE

  • Eco Building Products - Michigan  CLICK HERE

  • Ecosupply - Virginia, New York, Massachusetts  CLICK HERE

  • Green Building Supply - Iowa  CLICK HERE

  • Greenworks building Supply - British Columbia         CLICK HERE

  • Peak Building Products - Minnesota  CLICK HERE

  • Small Planet Supply - Washington, British Columbia   CLICK HERE

Solar - Free Energy

Believe it or not, I’ve done much of my research and education about passive solar looking through books at the library. Many are rather dated, but the concepts haven’t changed. I don’t have any books in my library to recommend, but this one looks like a good place to start:

  • “DIY: How to Design Your Own Energy Efficient Green Home: Construction Alternatives and Sample Passive Solar Straw Bale House” by Sharon Buydens  CLICK HERE

  • Or for a basic overview: ”Passive Solar Design” by Williams College  CLICK HERE

If you’re interested in solar photovoltaics and/or a net zero home, my first recommendation is to connect with one of the many solar installers around the nation. They can perform the calculations to estimate how much energy you can gather based on the the roof size, pitch and house orientation. If you would like advice comparing purchasing the system outright vs. leasing, check this out:

  • “The Real Cost of Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels - Weigh all your options before settling on a solar system” By Josh Garskof  CLICK HERE

Building Science

Maybe I’m a nerd at heart (my friends are nodding vigorously), but I do love to dive into the technical details related to building an energy efficient, healthy home. This stuff may be too into-the-weeds for your taste unless, you are a builder. But I thought I would include a few favorites because knowledge is power, so they say.

Pocket Neighborhoods

I would love to design a pocket neighborhood of Dumb Homes!  This would involve around a dozen compact homes fronting on shared open space and a common building with gathering space, bedrooms for visitors, craft room, a wood shop, etc.  For more information on pocket communities, check out “Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World” by Ross Chapin  CLICK HERE

Radiant Heating

I can only begin to explain how much I love my radiant floor in winter:

  1. I’m always comfortable

  2. Doesn’t dry out the interior like most forms of heat

  3. Can barely hear when the heat is running

  4. No luke-warm air blowing on me from a heat pump

  5. No ductwork to clean

  6. Minimal equipment maintenance

Learn more:

  • “Hydronic/Radiant Floor Heating in Earthen Floors” blog post  CLICK HERE

  • "Healthy Homes - Earthen floor and hydronics explanation” on YouTube  CLICK HERE