Chris Laumer-Giddens's Blog (20)

Insulating a Slab-On-Grade in Hotlanta

Insulating a Slab-On-Grade in Hotlanta

Why in the world are we insulating a slab-on-grade in Hotlanta?

Reason #1: Atlanta is not, I repeat, NOT a cooling dominated climate. Wait...What?!?!?

Yes, it gets plenty hot here in the Summer, but it also gets downright cold. Which is why it's one of the more difficult climates to design and build in. We get both extremes.

I'm not saying we know what cold is, like all y'all do up yonder in them…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on February 1, 2016 at 4:03am — 9 Comments

Using Stone and Wax for a Perfect Residential Building Enclosure

A Perfect Residential Building Enclosure

Buildings fail. It's a harsh reality, but they do, and for many different reasons. Two pretty common ways are by falling down, and by making the people in them sick. There is a long list of other reasons, but this post is focused on these two.

I am going to…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on January 19, 2016 at 2:30am — 2 Comments

High Performance Tiny House, an Experiment

High Performance Tiny House, an Experiment

In graduate school, I chose to focus on the work of Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, during a study abroad trip. One of the buildings that stood out, was his …

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on January 11, 2016 at 5:30am — No Comments

Sparky Doubled the Air Leakage in this Home!

Sparky Doubled the Air Leakage in this Home

This is the home.

high-performance-bunglaow

This is the hole that Sparky (electrician) "innocently" made to feed a wire to the light on the front porch of the High Performance Bungalow. I discovered it a day or two after our home performance diagnostics team, Carl Seville and Abe Kruger, of SK…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on November 24, 2015 at 6:08am — 4 Comments

Building Science is Worthless...

Building Science is Worthless...

Thousands of hours went in this construction detail. When we factor all the time spent by building science engineers, from all over the world,…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on August 25, 2015 at 3:30am — 1 Comment

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky, Especially their Capacity

Mini-Split Heat Pumps are Quirky and Still Effective

The name "mini-splits" generally refers to heat pump systems with one outdoor unit and one or several smaller capacity air handlers. The efficiency of their operation comes via the inverter compressor and variable refrigerant…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on September 17, 2014 at 1:32pm — 6 Comments

1825 Home Becomes an Energy Efficiency Role Model - Remodeling Magazine

Recently, Jodi and I sat down with freelance journalist, Scott Sowers, to discuss the design challenges of the Historic Molette House in Molettes Bend, Alabama. Below is…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on June 11, 2014 at 4:58am — 13 Comments

What do Ducted Mini-Splits Look Like?

The most recognizable and commonly used mini-split system is the wall-mounted ductless system. They’re seen all over the world and are starting to become noticed and used here in North America, particularly in homes with small heating and…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on July 31, 2013 at 5:18am — 11 Comments

0.72 ach50 Before Drywall - This Home is already 90% Tighter than Energy Code

Before drywall was installed, I tested the infiltration (air leakage) at the Proud Green Home (PGH) at Serenbe,…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on April 15, 2013 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

Installing Ducted Mini-Splits and ERV in Modern High Performance Home

Things are really moving along on the Proud Green…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on March 26, 2013 at 11:18am — 15 Comments

Designing A Perfect Residential Wall - Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia has a reputation for getting pretty darn hot, but it can also get pretty dang cold (No snickering from you Northerners, please!). Believe it or not, Atlantans use more energy to heat their homes than they do to cool them. The design temperature set by …

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on March 6, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

14 Design Don’ts for High Performance Homes

There are a lot of ways to design a home. Designing one for high…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on February 14, 2013 at 7:30am — 8 Comments

Why Don't Architects and Interior Designers Care About HVAC Systems?

GUILTY! Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at mechanical engineers and contractors if they'd ask me, as the design architect, for a bigger room to put the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment in.

"Are you crazy? And give up valuable storage space???"

They might have also ask me for dropped soffits and vertical chases to run the ductwork through. To which I would reply:

"What?!?! That's not consistent with my innovative and beautiful design! The…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on December 13, 2012 at 7:54am — 2 Comments

Part II: Designing for High Performance, Controlling Heat Flow in Slab-On-Grade

In Part I of this series on designing for high performance, we discussed the control…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on August 15, 2012 at 3:15am — No Comments

Designing for High Performance: Slab-On-Grade, Part I – Controlling Moisture Flow

We’re just a few weeks away from a computer generated, self-guided interactive virtual tour of the Serenbe Residence near Atlanta, Georgia (Climate Zone 3a). We’re using REVIT software to generate the 3D model, then  …

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on August 13, 2012 at 4:00am — 6 Comments

The Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump's Big Brother - CITY MULTI

In my last four HVAC Design jobs, I've specified ductless mini-split heat pumps. I have four more such jobs underway now.

Why mini-splits?

  • Efficiency (up to 26 SEER)
  • Variable Refrigerant…
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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on May 11, 2011 at 8:02am — 1 Comment

No Carts Before Horses - Design for Energy Efficiency Early

My recent visit to Savannah for the USGBC's green product expo charged up my historic preservation bug and got me to thinking about how to apply building science to historic buildings.

Most of us that have ever lived in, owned, or even just visited a historic home…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on May 4, 2011 at 4:30am — No Comments

No More "Damn Architects!" - The Case for Integrated Design

In 1997, I helped my parents design and build their home. Early in the construction process, I had suggested that the house be built 25 feet back from where we originally had it planned, and that the fireplace be moved to the back side of the living room. We had already put the stakes in the ground and were ready to start digging for…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on April 19, 2011 at 6:19am — No Comments

A Green Home - It's Just Good Design

What makes a Green Home green? Is it the bamboo floors? Maybe it’s the low-e windows or the extra insulation in the walls? What about a high efficiency heating and cooling system? Or maybe it's a plaque by your front door that says, “I'm Green!”?

How about all of the above and then…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on April 11, 2011 at 8:02am — No Comments

Google SketchUp for Home Energy Raters - Measurements Made Easy

Hey, HERS raters, what if I told you that you could get the volume of a multi-pitched roof for all of your home energy…

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Added by Chris Laumer-Giddens on March 21, 2011 at 4:30am — 5 Comments

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