March 20, 2017

475 Presents: High Performance Gets Real

What exactly do we mean by high-performance building?  What are some of the obstacles to building this way?  And when compromises have to be made, how can we make cost-effective choices and still construct a high-performance, low-energy, and maybe even Passive House building? In this presentation, we talk about the 6 key characteristics of high performance […]

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March 15, 2017 ecocorencors200x200

The EXTOSEAL ENCORS Primer: The Essential Sill Protection

Window Flashing That Lasts Windows are the weak link in your assembly. Along with doors, they amount to the largest holes in your envelope.  To ensure that your building is air and water-tight, continuity between high-performance windows and your air barrier/WRB is essential. We’ve talked a lot about how to ensure air barrier continuity at […]

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March 14, 2017 MGI with INTELLO double stud fiberglass

New Mold Growth Index and Safe Double-Stud Walls: WUFI Pro Shows INTELLO Plus is Key

Double-stud walls have been regarded as a simple to build, low-cost, high-performance solution since the energy crisis in the 1970’s.  (See our blog post The Double-Stud Wall Simplified: Low-Cost High Performance, and free CAD details)  Pack them right, meaning 3.8 to 4.2 lbs/cubic foot of cellulose, 2.5 lbs/cf for fiberglass or wood fiber – and as Jesse Thompson of Kaplan […]

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March 13, 2017 wippro-front-thumb200x200

WIPPRO Klimatec 160: The Only Passive House Certified Attic Stair

Is your attic outside your thermal enclosure?  If so, access to that attic space should be carefully considered.   You want easy and comfortable access but also need to maintain the continuity of the airtightness and insulation layers.   Needless to say traditional attic stairs do not deliver the needed performance.  Until today, the best […]

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February 15, 2017 Roof-THUMB

Daylight Helps the Healing Process: Project Spotlight in Leicester, UK

Daylighting’s known benefits include better student performance and faster patient recovery in medical facilities – so this beautiful roof, in a building that houses the University of Leicester’s medical education, health sciences and psychology departments, serves as an example of striking design that is sensitive to the needs and comforts of occupants.  Now the largest Passive House […]

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February 14, 2017 airtight gap

Top Ten *NO* Eleven Air Barrier Failures

1. It’s not continuous! The mother of all failures. You don’t have an air barrier if it’s not continuous – it won’t be air tight. Many of the items that follow below are all causes of discontinuity. Like a balloon or a submarine – the continuity of the airtight layer must be sacrosanct. While discontinuity can […]

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February 12, 2017 foam_cracking_2

Foam Fails Reason #6: Inflexible and Prone to Cracking

It’s important that a building’s air barrier and insulation be dimensionally stable – or resilient to movement. Foam is neither. The curing process after spray foam is applied inherently entails shrinkage and hardening.  Not only can such shrinkage result in pulling back from stud bays and other connections – which often leads to gaps in the […]

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February 10, 2017 Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 12.45.37 PM

GUTEX Gets Instagram Famous

We’re very excited to see so many images of GUTEX wood fiber board insulation popping up on projects across North America. Along with being the healthiest and most sustainable rigid insulation available… it also turns out to be pretty photogenic. Too bad you have to cover it up. Check out these pioneers in foam free […]

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January 23, 2017 IMG_1267

Vented High Performance Standing Seam Metal Roof

SOLITEX UM Project Spotlight in Waltham MA SOLITEX UM from Pro Clima is  a 4-layer, vapor open and waterproof membrane with integrated 3-D mesh.  Like other SOLITEX membranes, it has an actively vapor open, monolithic layer of TEEE film that is extremely waterproof (see The SOLITEX MENTO Difference)– and outperforms vapor closed underlayments both in outward drying potential as well […]

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January 23, 2017 Vana_Moving

How to Stay Airtight When Buildings Move

Buildings move. Ensuring that your air barrier is resilient to movement is crucial to ensuring the longevity and performance of your building. Unless you’re building a structure using just one material (like superadobe), your building will consist of an array of different materials. In response to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, different materials expand and contract at […]

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January 10, 2017 businessbackslowcarbonusa

475 is proud to join: Business Backs Low-Carbon USA

475 is about climate change activism.  Today, we’re taking another step by joining more than 620 companies including Patagonia, Aspen Skiing Company, and investors across the United States – to encourage the incoming administration and new Congress to stick with the commitments we’ve made in the Paris Climate Agreement.  We pledge to do our part to […]

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January 1, 2017

What’s 475 About – Reflections for a New Year

When people ask what do we do, one abbreviated response is: “We sell tape.” Though “we sell tape” describes a simple act, it is one with a potentially huge impact. We sell air-sealing tape as a specialized and critical component in a complete building enclosure airtightness system, which is the foundation of a low-energy building. […]

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December 24, 2016 foam-fire-nyc

Foam Board Fire in New York City

On December 14th a NYU Langone Medical Center roof caught fire.  As reported on dnainfo by Ben Fractenberg and Aidan Gardiner: Workers were cutting metal when a spark flew onto a roofing insulation material called “rigid board” and caught fire on the seventh floor of 560 First Ave. near East 30th Street, a vacant property that’s […]

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December 20, 2016 CoverShot

Year in Review: 6 Bright Spots from 2016

2016 was a good year for high-performance and Passive House building. 475 is grateful to participate in making a new paradigm for robust sustainability. We are inspired by the great work our customers do across Canada and the United States. Here’s a sampling of things that came about in 2016 to give us hope in these dark […]

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December 6, 2016 hphmr_thumb

475 Presents: High Performance Historic Masonry Retrofits

30 Minute Webinar Video We recommend you download the companion eBook and CAD details for this presentation.   Description: The goals of historic preservation and energy efficiency and comfort often seem in conflict, as higher insulation levels can pose new risks to these timeless structures. Yet it need not be so. This comprehensive presentation discusses […]

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December 6, 2016 pantheon-oculus

LAMILUX Delivers The Unbeatable Benefits of Roof Daylighting

In the world of high performance and Passive House buildings, roof daylighting has been largely ignored – a victim of misconceptions about what is possible.  The misunderstanding is well earned, due to a long history of roof skylight units that are poorly performing – causing thermal discomfort, interior condensation and leaks. Skylights are often huge holes in […]

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November 26, 2016 20150426_inq_re1deal26z-a

4 Hurdles to Hitting Passive House Performance & How to Overcome Them

Passive House performance is the future of building.  As with any trip there are obstacles.   Yet professionals new to Passive House can be disoriented and may not readily see them.   What’s going on? The Passive House Paradox On the one hand Passive House is simply a rediscovery of basic building science with a more rigorous arrangement […]

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November 22, 2016 crashtestdummy

Drive Safe, Build Safe

As we get ready to drive over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, our minds turn to safety and the risks we take for granted every day.  What’s your risk tolerance? When you drive, do you tailgate the car in front of you or do you leave a safety buffer?  Although you are very unlikely to […]

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November 15, 2016 lunos-e2-and-ego

LUNOS Ventilation FAQ

Lunos HRV systems are a great way to add healthy, balanced and efficient ventilation to your project. For cold climate ventilation we offer three primary products: the Lunos e², Lunos eGO, and Lunos NEXXT. This post is mainly about the e² and eGO systems, each of which consists of through-wall paired fan units with regenerative heat recovery cores. These […]

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November 10, 2016 apollo-13

Avoiding the Abyss: Climate Crisis, Apollo 13 & Passive House in the Age of Donald Trump

  As the New York Times, post-election, reminds us: if Trump abandons the commitments of COP21 made in Paris, other countries like India will likely become disincentivized to act. If this comes to pass it will be impossible to prevent runaway global warming, with human population collapse, massive species extinction and unimaginable levels of suffering. Climate tipping points […]

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November 4, 2016 Last reflection.

Project Spotlight – Prefab walls for a comfortable, cozy, and quiet Passive House in eastern British Columbia

Erik Olofsson of Erik Olofsson Construction has a vision of elegant and affordable design of the highest quality, reaching the Passive House standard for customers in his harsh Canadian climate.   Erik enlisted the help of Vincent Siu of Siu Architecture for the schematic design, and sought to deliver a highly predictable result with the pre-fab process – delivered […]

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November 1, 2016 cornell-tower

Notes From New York: Lessons From A Growing Market

Passive House is growing around the world.  Yet some regions seem to be moving farther, faster.  Why? 475’s own Ken Levenson had a chance to explore this question when asked to talk about what’s happening in the New York region as the keynote speaker at the recent Passive House Massachusetts Symposium in Boston.   What […]

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October 13, 2016 SOLITEX Mento 1000 over plywood

Why SOLITEX is the best WRB solution

We often get asked how Proclima’s SOLITEX Mento compares to Zip and Tyvek for weather protection. Here’s a short answer: SOLITEX Mento ensures the most durable and long lasting walls. That’s because it provides a continuous monolithic protective layer that is completely waterproof and airtight, while allowing the most reliable outward drying potential to keep moisture levels safely low. Zip and […]

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October 13, 2016 brightcommon-thumb2

Low-Energy Commercial Retrofit for High-Energy Kids

Bright Common Architecture and Design Jeremy Avellino of Bright Common Architecture & Design gave us a tour of a beautifully designed play-based arts and enrichment center. Play Arts in Philly, which opened in September, features energy saving techniques inspired by Passive House in order to save on operational costs and provide high indoor air quality. […]

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October 12, 2016 bainbridge-havelock-wool-thumb

Havelock Sheeps’ Wool and Performance Insulation

Insulation  contractors are on the front lines of high performance building, delivering comfort and efficiency.  It’s a tough business. It’s rough to manage high turnover, squeezed margins, and communication barriers.  Those who take pride in the work, are interested in the results.  And leaders do the best with what they have, while also continuously looking for […]

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October 3, 2016

New Yorkers, Start Your Blower Doors: It’s Blower Door Day

We’re happy to proclaim October 3rd Blower Door Day – here at our headquarters, in Brooklyn, New York – as the new residential building energy code requiring blower door testing at 3ACH50 comes into effect.  As we noted in May, of course New York isn’t the first to adopt the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code and keep […]

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September 30, 2016

Don’t Miss The Passive House Massachusetts Symposium

Calling all New Englanders!  We’re looking forward to participating in the Passive House Massachusetts Symposium, in Boston, on Saturday, October 15th.  It should be a great day of Passive House related presentations and discussions. 475 is proud to participating in multiple roles:  as a vendor, a Gold sponsor and in presenting. Co-founder Ken Levenson will be […]

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September 13, 2016 nyserda-logo

NYSERDA Supports Passive House

In support of New York State’s aggressive carbon reduction goals the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s new incentives are structured to support a “fabric first” approach and then push toward net zero buildings.  NYSERDA recognizes the power of Passive House in establishing very energy efficient, resilient, healthy and comfortable buildings as the basis of […]

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September 9, 2016 intello_news

In The News: Home Performance Industry using Intello Plus

A new energy efficiency rebate offered to homeowners in Bangor, Maine has been getting some press. And cutting edge home performance contractors are carving out a high performance niche in the competitive energy efficiency market. INTELLO Plus for Home Performance Retrofits One such contractor is Penobscot Home Performance, based in Bucksport, ME. They apply INTELLO Plus and other high performance […]

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September 9, 2016 ridge-vent

Vapor Venting An Unvented Roof: In Praise of Belts and Suspenders

Planes can fly safely with one engine. And you can keep your pants up with just a belt. But if you’re looking to be protected from fools, then adding suspenders to the belt might be what sets you free. So while we’ve previously outlined the essential importance of inboard airtightness and vapor control and have specifically written […]

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