building science

Early Thoughts on the Greenfield Project (architect)

By | affordable modern, business, Passive House, projects, Small house, super insulated, traditional vs modern, working with a builder, working with an architect | One Comment

I took a shot at writing down my own thoughts about the Greenfield project I’m doing for my wife’s folks. Sometimes I have so many half-baked ideas in my head that writing them down creates a jelling effect and helps me to clarify and focus my efforts. I’m planning on documenting this project to a much higher level than I…

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Always know what and where your AIR BARRIER is.

By | affordable modern, education, links, mutterings, Passive House, projects, super insulated, traditional vs modern, Uncategorized, working with a builder, working with an architect | No Comments

I’m working on detailing out a smallish house in Greenfield, MA. We probably won’t go full Passive House on this but we will look at what additional costs and detailing it would take. And if we’re close… We are doing some novel (to me) stuff for the shell of the house that, I suspect, will become more standard practice for…

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A Smallish House in Massachusetts

By | affordable modern, Passive House, projects, Small house, super insulated, traditional vs modern, working with an architect | One Comment

I am working on a 1400 s.f house in Massachusetts. Given that the walls are over a foot thick, the actual square footage is quite a bit less (about 1200). The extra insulation (and cutting edge building science) allows us to forgo a heat system other than a relatively inexpensive minisplit – and monthly fuel bills. Here are a few…

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A House for Slow Living

By | affordable modern, good ideas, Living in Vermont, Passive House, super insulated, traditional vs modern, Uncategorized, working with an architect | 11 Comments

A House for Slow Living The original concept came to me in a dream (yes – I dream architecturally) I think the dream may have been generated by this image which has been on my bulletin board fora few years: The original sketch was called “a house for food” The core concept was centered around the growing, preparation and consumption…

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Passive House Training – One year later.

By | business, education, mutterings, Passive House, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Note: this blog entry was published on Green Building Advisor on March 31, 2014 I have been asked about my Passive House consultant training by other architects enough times that I though I’d write up a quick synopsis, one year later. For me, the Passive House training was very useful for several reasons, not the least of which was the…

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If you want your house to breathe, give it a set of lungs.

By | bad ideas, education, mutterings, Passive House, super insulated, working with a builder, working with an architect | One Comment

I had another comment recently from a builder who wants to build a house that breathes. I started to reply in an email and then decided to put it hereon the blog instead. What we are doing nowadays in the world of high performance homes is based on studying hundreds of thousands of houses built in the last half century…

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Window installation in a super-insulated wall

By | education, Passive House, super insulated, working with a builder, working with an architect | 5 Comments

Designing a Super-insulated wall with good drying potential and good air sealing is easy. But the Devil is in the windows. With passive house level construction we want the window to be recessed toward the middle of the opening and the middle of the adjacent insulation layer. This is about thermal bridging and heat loss. An advantage that I’ve found…

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I am a Passive House Designer!

By | education, ego, Passive House, super insulated, working with an architect | 6 Comments

Apparently, although I never got an email, I am now a Certified Passive House Designer!! What is Passive House ? – The passive house standard represents the highest level of energy efficiency and “green building”. – The passive house standard is where state and municipality energy codes are headed. – Public housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity and regional…

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SEON – building science learning group in Brattleboro

By | education, good ideas, working with a builder | No Comments

SEON or Sustainable Energy Outreach Network is a relatively new organization in the Brattleboro area. The mission from the website is to “establish a network that promotes Southeastern Vermont and its neighboring regions as a vibrant center of sustainable energy.” which sounds rather vague. I think they are trying to feel out exactly what their role in the community will…

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Miscellaneous Musings

By | affordable modern, education, mutterings, products, projects, super insulated, traditional vs modern, working with an architect | 3 Comments

I am working on this new small greek revival in Maine. Not the high style Greek Revival with huge columns like you see on banks and government buildings but the small, simple style that is so ubiquitous in New England and doesn’t get much attention but everybody knows. I’m designing it to “pretty good house” standards. It is for a…

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EBN on Passive House

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Environmental Building News has a very thorough article on Passive house system and its relevance in North America. This is a very good and current third party state of the state of the art in energy efficient residential construction. Passive house represents an important step towards a zero energy home and meeting the 2030 challenge:The fossil fuel reduction standard for…

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New Home Energy Priorities

By | good ideas | No Comments

A lovely little quote lifted from BSI-014 “Deciding on Energy Priorities when Building New” from Buildingscience.com Hence, if you doubt energy prices are going to triple over the next 25 years, and have a hunch that PVs will soon get cheap enough to compete with grid-supplied coal power, you might choose to skip the ground-source heat pump, R75 attic insulation…

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Contact

Robert Swinburne Architect, LLC AIA, NCARB, CPHD, DAD bob@swinburnearchitect.com 802.451.9764
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