August 21, 2013

UVA ecoMOD: Research Award Winner

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ecoMOD: Trent Bell Photography

Congratulations to the UVA ecoMOD team on winning an Architect Magazine 2013 R&D Award – including the UVA students, leader Professor John Quale, Passive House consultant Barbara Gehrung, Cardinal Homes and others.  At 475 it is a priority to help students  – the next generations of architects, engineers and construction trades – build affordable high performance, and we were happy to offer product consulting assistance in this effort.

ecoMOD_CHI_feb2013The project was built by Cardinal Homes, a modular builder in Virginia, for two nonprofit affordable housing organizations, the Southside Outreach Group of South Boston Virginia and People Inc. of Abingdon Virginia. These three modular houses were built for just $105 per square foot and were completed in June.  Two of them are Passive Houses, one located in South Boston, and one in Abingdon.  And then what really makes this a true research project – the third structure is a “control” house, which was built to meet the standard building code and is located next to the PH in South Boston, so performance will be monitored and compared between the two.

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Construction used a combination of SIP walls, which were airsealed with TESCON Vana tapes (including the lugs connecting the panels). Roofs were framed and airsealed on the interior with INTELLO membranes. We are working on a project feature with Barbara Gehrung (lessons learned etc) that we plan to publish soon on the 475 blog.

All this taping ensured that the two Passive House houses’ blower doors tested well. Both were below 0.6ACH50. And yes, SIPs are airtight, but their joints sure are not. Make sure to tape them for durable airtigthness with Pro Clima tapes on both the interior, exterior and at window bucks.

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