As so many of us are working from our own pods and bubbles this year, 475 is reinventing our annual year-in-review post into a blog series with each post written by a different member of 475’s Sales Team reflecting on stories and trends in their territory.
Part 1 is by Nick Shaw, 475 Product Consultant for New York, New Jersey & Connecticut.
2020 has been a rough year for many, but it’s invigorating to support projects that are exceeding performance standards set by Passive House while also addressing the immediacy of climate change through material selection.
Here in the NY / CT / NJ tri-state area there’s been continuing adoption of Passive House certification which has gotten folks focusing on and measuring operational carbon use. It’s wonderful to hear homeowners pushing projects towards Passive House standards. Project teams have been prioritizing Passive House certification which really excites me because regardless of achieving certification, they’re focusing on a holistic approach. I think a lot of these projects are benefiting from placing value on the process of holistic decision making.
The Passive House certification has encouraged a fantastic framework and I’m happy to see projects using that framework for their material selection. Adopting an awareness of materials performance – deeper understanding of airtightness and vapor control, but also material’s sourcing and environmental impact. It’s great to see projects prioritizing reducing embodied carbon like they’ve prioritized reducing operational carbon use.
"High performance" can mean a lot of things and it’s great to see people understanding that high performance should include human and environmental health. Double-stud construction is an approachable way of making durable, energy efficient buildings that can also prioritize plant based materials. Double stud construction has been considered risky by some because it often locates the sheathing on the cold side of the assembly. 475 is addressing this risk concern by including the INTELLO Plus (or INTELLO X) membrane on the interior side of the insulation. It’s liberating for projects to understand and see the benefits of INTELLO’s airtightness and smart vapor control. Everett Wrightson-Kramer’s homeowner-led double-stud project (pictured below) recently hit 0.27 ACH50 which is 2.2 times tighter than PHI’s standard (and 0.015 cfm50/sf which is 4 times tighter than PHIUS’s standard).
By prioritizing proper detailing and install of the INTELLO membrane, projects can confidently use thick layers of natural plant based hygroscopic insulations. Turning what would otherwise be a high embodied insulation into a healthy fibrous insulation that was a carbon sink and with the durable 100+ year timeframe of the home it’ll continue to store that carbon for generations.
If we’re able to build better during the rollercoaster ride of 2020, it gives me hope that next year can be an even greater acceleration for low-carbon building across the region.