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September 2007 - [Sustainable Concepts] Cold Climate Construction & Water Saving Tips
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter September 2007, vol. 54
in this issue
  • 8 Water Saving Tips
  • Construction for Cold Climates
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the September 2007 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "Water is the driving force of all nature."
    -Leonardo Da Vinci

    Lisa A. Swan

    8 Water Saving Tips

    Many areas of the US are experiencing droughts and record low rain falls this year. Here are a 8 easy tips that can help you save water around your house.

    1. Install water saving shower heads and flow restrictors. (Saves 500-800 gallons/month)
    2. Run only full loads in the washing machine & dishwater. (Saves 300-800 gallons/month)
    3. Capture tap water. While waiting for hot water, catch the cold water and water your house plants and yard. (Saves 200-300 gallons/month)
    4. Turn the water off while you are washing your face, shaving or brushing your teeth. (Saves 3 gallons/day)
    5. Water your lawn and garden only when you need to and water during the cool hours of 6:00pm and 8:00am. (Saves 750-1500 gallons/month)
    6. Break up your watering schedule into three 9-minute sessions thoughout the day instead of one 30-min cycle. Adjust sprinklers for run-off, overspray and waste. (Saves 500 gallons/month)
    7. Fix leaky faucets, plumbing joints, hose bibs, and sprinkler heads. (Saves 20 gallons per leak per day)
    8. Don't water sidewalks, driveways, or gutter. Use a broom to clean off these areas. (Saves 600 gallons/month)

    Article Lisa A. Swan. Photo www.ci.zebulon.nc.us

    Construction for Cold Climates

    Last month we spoke about hot-humid climates. This month we will focus on the challenges of building in a cold climate. It is important to control for water, air and heat. Many areas need to be considered in order to create a design that works for cold climate areas:

    1. Rain water infiltration is the largest source of material deterioration in buildings. The exterior's primary plane of water shedding (cladding, shingles, metal roofing, etc) is not necessarily completely watertight. A secondary drainage plane (usually a housewrap or taped insulating sheathing) is installed behind the main exterior water shedding surface. This drainage plane in combination with flashing details allow any water that may penetrate through the exterior water shedding plane to drain back out to the exterior.
    2. Air leakage is the second most common mechanism for depositing moisture in wall assemblies. In order to control air leakage, a continuous plane of air seal must be created. This air seal must be continuous not only for each building assembly, but at the connection between adjoining building assemblies.
    3. The overhangs from the roof are designed to extend a minimum of 12 inches from the exterior wall. This amount of overhang will provide some protection for the wall elements such as windows and doors that are traditionally common sources of water leakage.
    4. Use vented cathedral ceilings and attics that are air-tight with the use of gypsum board and sealants.
    5. Increase insulation with minimum R-21 in the walls with wood studs at 24" o.c. plus R-5 sheathing for the exterior. For the roof, use R-38 in the attic and R-35 in the cathedral ceiling.
    6. HVAC must be properly sized and high efficient. Look for the highest SEER rating.
    7. Install a bead of non-expanding urethane foam between the window frame and the rough opening on all four sides of the window. 8. Ducts should be placed in conditioned spaces. Grilles should be placed high on the wall to avoid being blocked by furniture in bedrooms and low on the walls in hallways. This will help create a even distribution.
    9. Conditioned basement or crawlspaces should be used to keep the living space more comfortable.

    Read on find out about a design example that works for a cold climate.

    Article Lisa A. Swan. Picture buildingscience.com


    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

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