(VAPOR BARRIER STUDY SPOKANE WASHINGTON WITH 103 HOMES)

Discuss architecture, planning, interiors, landscape, and environmental design related-topics. Moderated by the ArchitectureWeek editorial and support team.

(VAPOR BARRIER STUDY SPOKANE WASHINGTON WITH 103 HOMES)

Postby Natural Law Student » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:56 pm

(VAPOR BARRIER STUDY SPOKANE WASHINGTON WITH 103 HOMES)
The following is a paste in from a website: Both links are pasted below this article

Vapor Barriers / Retarders
Retarders
Retarders
Retarders

#Page 2

Page 2 of 4
Traditional hard-coat stucco applied over building paper
and OSB sheathing.
Vapor Semi-permeable
10 perms or less and greater than 1.0 perms
Plywood
Bitumen impregnated kraft paper
OSB
Unfaced expanded polystyrene (EPS)
Unfaced extruded polystyrene (XPS) 1-inch thick or less
Fiber-faced isocyanurate
Heavy asphalt impregnated building papers #30 pound
Most latex based paints
Vapor Permeable
Greater than 10 perms
Unpainted gypsum board and plaster
Unfaced fiberglass insulation
Cellulose insulation
Synthetic stucco
Some latex-based paints
Lightweight asphalt impregnated building papers (#15
building paper)
Asphalt impregnated fiberboard sheathing
Housewraps
Mixed climates have a complicated situation. During the heating season, temperature and
moisture vapor move from inside to outside. During the cooling season, the temperature
and moisture vapor move from outside to inside. Hence it makes sense to have a wall
system design that allows drying to both the interior and exterior to accommodate the
changing seasons or a “flow-through” wall assembly. Placing a vapor impermeable
material in a wall works against the concept of a “flow-through” wall assembly.
Vapor barriers are used to keep moisture from moving from one side to the other. If a
wall cavity gets wet, the vapor barrier will restrict drying to the opposite side. If the
vapor barrier is place on the warm side, the wall cavity can only dry to the outside.
Vapor barriers are intended to prevent assemblies from getting wet. However their use
also prevents them from drying.
A look at some real-life scenarios point toward the acceptability of the “flow-through”
wall assembly concept. This is not a new concept but one that unknowingly has been
used for millions of homes. During the 70’s energy crisis, significant efforts were made
by the U.S. Department of Energy to insulate existing houses for lower income persons.
These weatherization programs continue today. All that is typically done is install “vapor
permeable” cellulose insulation without the use of “vapor impermeable” polyethylene
film when retrofitting existing walls. This would not be acceptable under the current
building code in certain climates however it was and continues to be common practice.

#Page 3

Page 3 of 4
If the science behind the current building code was correct, then there should be millions
of houses experiencing problems as a result of the government’s weatherization program.
In 1979 a field study in Portland, Oregon (4,792 degree days) concluded there is no risk
of moisture damage in mild climates without a vapor barrier however it was not
established whether it might be a problem in colder climates. Thus a second major field
study was done in Spokane, Washington (6,835 degree days) by George Tsongas, Ph.D.
P.E. Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University. The exterior
walls of 103 homes were opened, 79 with retrofitted insulation and 24 uninsulated as a
control group. “This study strongly concludes that the addition of wall insulation without
a vapor barrier does not cause moisture problems in existing homes in climates similar to
that of Spokane.” Bonneville Power Administration provided funding for this study.
A 2004 study released by building scientist Erkki Kokko of Finland, ”Hygroscopic
Cellulose Fiber Insulated Structures” found the use of permeable building materials
resulted in improved indoor air quality. The absence of a vapor barrier, such as
polyethylene film, allowed the wall to absorb and desorb relative humidity. This enables
the interior relative humidity to remain more constant and comfortable to the occupants.
They also found a 30% reduction in the carbon dioxide levels.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program is reengineering the
American home for energy efficiency and affordability. The EEBA’s Builder’s Guide for
Cold Climates states in Appendix III, “Polyethylene on the inside of building assemblies
in cold, mixed-humid, mixed-dry, hot-humid, and hot-dry climates is not generally a good
idea.” “A classic flow-through wall assembly should have a permeable interior surface
and finish and permeable exterior sheathing and permeable building paper drainage
plane.” This permits drying to both the interior and exterior.
In a December 2001 presentation in Proceedings of Thermal Performance of Building
Envelopes VIII, Asst. Prof. John Straube stated “In many practical situations, a low-
permeance vapour barrier will not improve hygrothermal performance, and may in fact
increase the likelihood of damaging condensation or trap moisture in the system. In
some cases, a low-permeance vapour barrier may be called for, but in many practical
high performance enclosures, none is needed, and eliminating them will actually improve
performance by encouraging drying and avoiding solar-driven diffusion wetting. The
preconceptions of many building codes, standards, and designers need to be modified to
acknowledge the facts of low permeance vapour barriers.
Joseph Lstiburek, Ph.D. P.E. in “Understanding Vapor Barriers” in the August 2004
ASHRAE journal proposes a vapor semi-permeable vapor retarder (i.e. latex paint) when
the exterior sheathing material has a perm over 1.0 (vapor semi-permeable, i.e. plywood,
OSB, fiberboard) for DOE climate zone, which includes Ohio.
Kraft faced fiberglass has commonly been accepted as a vapor retarder yet this material
falls in the vapor semi-permeable category along with latex based paints due to a perm
rating of 5 under a wet-cup test to determine permeability. However when cellulose
insulation is installed, often a vapor impermeable polyethylene film is required.

#Page 4

Page 4 of 4
Cellulose insulation combined with latex paint on the gypsum drywall provides the same
“flow-through” characteristics as the commonly used fiberglass with kraft facing.
Based upon building science, the DOE proposed a code change that eliminates mandatory
use of vapor retarders in most of the U.S., including every county in Ohio. It read, “The
building design shall not create conditions of accelerated deterioration from moisture
condensation. Frame walls, floors, and ceilings not ventilated to allow moisture to
escape shall be provided with an approved vapor retarder. The vapor retarder shall be
installed on the warm-in-winter side of the thermal insulation. Exceptions: 1. In
construction where moisture or its freezing will not damage the materials. 2. Frame
walls, floors, and ceilings in jurisdictions in Zones 1 through 5. (Crawl space floor
vapor retarders are not exempted.) 3. Where other approved means to avoid
condensation are provided.”
Unfortunately the following was approved and contained in the 2004 SUPPLEMENT to
the INTERNATIONL RESIDENTIAL CODE (IRC) pertaining to moisture control and
vapor retarders. No scientific basis was provided for dropping zone 5 from the exception.
SECTION R318.1 MOISTURE CONTROL
R3181. Moisture Control. In all framed walls, floors and roof/ceilings comprising
elements of the building thermal envelope, a vapor retarder shall be installed on the
warm-in-winter side of the insulation. Exceptions:
1. In construction where moisture or freezing will not damage the materials.
2. Where the framed cavity or space is ventilated to allow moisture to escape.
3. In counties identified as in climate zones 1 through 4 in Table N1101.2
Southern portions of Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania are included in zone
4 while the northern portions are included in zone 5. At least the building codes are
finally recognizing building science on this topic.
Conclusion:
Vapor retarders are a complicated topic however a couple of key points need to be kept in
mind. Wall cavities can get wet. If they can get wet, can the wall assembly allow them
to dry? Vapor semi-permeable and vapor permeable materials provide the best
combination for wall cavity assemblies to allow them to dry in both an exterior and
interior direction depending upon the season of the year. Will polyethylene film cause a
wall assembly to fail, probably not if moisture can be kept out of the wall cavity. The
difficulty is keeping moisture out of wall cavities. Since this is a difficult challenge, why
not use permeable building materials utilizing a “flow-through” wall assembly that give
the wall assembly the best chance to dry after getting wet.
The above do not apply to special use enclosures such as spas, pool buildings, museums,
hospitals, data processing centers or other engineered enclosures such as factory, storage
or utility enclosures.



1.
This is the link to the main Spokane Moisture Experiment Article pasted in above.
http://www.advancedfiber.com/AFT%20Summary%2001.pdf

2.
This link is for a Straw-Bale Moisture comparison with wood frame construction. Note the lbs of H20 per cubic foot of wood versus straw bale or similar cellulose insulation.
http://www.thelaststraw.org/bonus-articles/strawter.htm

3.
Washington State Builder link showing pictures of double wall framing. Very interesting method for framing thick walls. R-60 Fiberglass walls. Almost no thermal bridging.
http://www.castlehomesinfo.com/articles.html

4.
500+ Solar and Other Experiments freely posted online. Major collection of experimental idea’s that stimulate further experimentation.
http://www.builditsolar.com/

5.
Larson Truss system with very low thermal bridging for a super insulated Wall System
http://www.greenfret.com/house/larsen.html


6.
This is the link where I pasted in the data on the Spokane Washington Vapor Barrier Study: try clicking on the pdf link
http://www.advancedfiber.com/AFT%20Summary%2001.pdf


7.
Rice bales are 80% to 90% silica which I’ve read about is very difficult to rot since silica is a type of quarts or glass, and this is why rice farmers choose to burn their fields rather than have rice straw laying around that won‘t rot/compost.


8.
Lack of flame spread with cement stucco straw bale, and cellulose as compared to fiberglass. Please Google it.
Too much air inside a wall system with fiberglass creates chimney effect.

9.
Post and beam with straw-bale infill wall system is Code here in New Mexico.


10.
What about isolating Kitchen-Bath-Laundry and high moisture area's of a building with a double door hallway type of vapor-lock-system especially during the winter to keep moisture isolated from a thick wall portion of a dwelling? How about a hybrid building design with moisture tolerant material being used where the plumbing is located? This link is interesting.
http://www.houleinsulation.com/frost.html


11.
Excellent what Robert has had to say “previous posting” about Cellulose wicking away moisture from wood framing material, which led me to continue researching vapor barriers and walls that breathe.


12.
Edward Mazria’s excellent book (The Passive Solar House Book) that explains insulation in relation to thermal mass: even the BTU’s of Humans are factored into occupancy and design of his buildings.
http://archrecord.construction.com/feat ... mazria.asp


13.
Think like a Thermos Bottle with Thermal Mass inside. Quote from a New Mexico Solar Architect around 1975

14.
Past two fixer houses had complete rot of the mudsill on the Freezing Cold North Sides of the House. Obviously no sun to dry out that wall and no way for moisture to keep moving through that wall because of solid plastic blocking the moisture. Winter is the time of year for moisture problems inside walls. I observe a glass of ice water in a humid kitchen and a puddle of water sits on the counter: think cold plastic in a humid house/wall system and a puddle of water will be sitting on the mudsill. Think shower curtain effect or cold walls in a bathroom. Condensation happens fast when its cold.


15.
Arizona Retirement Homes primarily use OBS wafer board and tons of formaldehyde
Glue. Interesting to note that the occupants of such a structure almost always have some kind of serious immune disease with in 5-6 years and have to leave a big empty house behind, especially if that house was constructed brand new and had no chance or time for out-gassing: those huge houses bake in 110 to 115 degree heat in summer and outgas constantly.

16.
The Thermal Bridging Question for conventional wood frame construction for me has been exceptionally well answered in this forum. I thank you all for that. it’s the moisture trapped inside of wall systems that’s bugging me and Code Compliant Requirement’s could = my having a building prone to rot. I don’t like that for an answer.

17.
New Mexico has adobe buildings several hundred years old, and Native Pueblos 600+ years old with only a roof over hang for protection from rain. No plastic vapor barrier and no evidence or comment about moisture freezing in the adobe and causing weak walls in two story buildings….? Coatings that trap moisture is some else to read about.

18.
2.4 watt salvaged computer cpu fans for positive or negative air pressure zones in house. Super low electrical use 20cfm or less on timers. Push experimental solar hot air to cold parts of house and at same time push moisture out. Very inexpensive to use 4” electric drier flex hose and a J with a nerf ball at the turned up end and gravity holds it in like a cork when the timer shuts off. Little micro-fans are cheap to run with a 250 ma transformer from radio shack. Nice little micro motors and transformers inside old computers for salvage. Easy to push air slow and not over heat or chill off a room in a house. Push the moisture out with micro computer fans they fit perfect inside electric drier flex hose. Timers cost $5.00. Entire system including control panel for under $50.00

19.
Please note: The above links are to a wood frame versus straw bale moisture content experiment, and another link to 500+ do it yourself Solar and Other types of experiments that can make a house more functional depending upon need and use. To compare existing technologies with brand new or old experimental technologies has been my research. My intent behind this posting is to share data and learn. I’m no expert on any of this. I have some experience with wall system rot and massive labor rebuilding north facing rotted walls on the past two house restorations that I’ve done here in New Mexico. I’ve spent the last 4-5 years considering and researching Spokane as my next place to live. Retrofit of Super Insulation in an existing house or build new.

20.
http://arch.designcommunity.com/topic-1 ... sc-15.html
Natural Law Student
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:36 pm

Postby csintexas » Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:22 am

Lots of interesting info, thanks.

I also think when considering "green design" we need to look at the amount of materials being used, the amount of energy needed to produce them, the amount of pollution generated in their creation, the cost of maintenance, longevity, etc..

The goal of course would be to build a zero energy home. This is a home which requires zero energy. Since this is not achievable for our modern standards our next goal is to make sure the energy it does use is renewable and pollutes as little as possible. (this means we need to pay attention to the first goal)
csintexas
millennium club
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:12 pm
Location: USA

Moisture reduction and conservation of utilities w/micro fan

Postby Natural Law Student » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:53 am

Nice that your reply is all about being as Green in Building Design as possible, I totally agree with you. This will be interesting to see how a discussion might unfold. I've been reading that in order to keep moisture out of a wall assembly they recomend that the owner heat up the wall. Its not about a reduction of utilities is it. They should be recomending a reduction of moisture. I think a double door vapor lock during winter makes for common sense, at least for me. I can close a couple of doors: during the winter, and still keep enough dry heat pushed through the moisture part of the building, to help dry out that part of the building and keep the plumbing from freezing. Cluster the plumbing pipes in one area of the building and property that is (KNOWN AS THE MOISTURE SACRIFICE AREA) we have some new house rules for ya, and its not that hard to learn a new behavior such as closing a door, and for ease of winterization if/when the building is not occupied, then only that compact part of the building where the water pipes are located need be heated, or pipes drained, when building is not occupied. I can also keep major amounts of moisture out of the super insulated wall system with a few good design idea's included into the building's architecture. Vapor Lock similar to a protected entry/mud room. Reduction of Moisture need's to be included into building design. Maybe the bath/shower and kitchen sink/dishwasher could be designed with vapor lock of some kind. Like a kitchen stove exhaust hood but more compact. Other wise all that moisture is vented to several thousand cubic foot of air in a typical house. The typical 50cfm bath fan empties way too many btu's out of a home in winter which is expensive. I have this image of an ever so slight negative air pressure zone with micro fan connected to a timer that exhausts moist air: and how many complete air changes are recomended per day: I think they say 3 air changes so air stays fresh. I have 7 or 8 digital indoor/outdoor thermomeaters with high/low so I can measure solar and natural gas heating around this property. I used to write all the data on a calendar but got tired of it. My solar device brings in 163,000 to 300,000 btu on a good sunny day with very little wind. I have free heat to play with on calm sunny days.
Natural Law Student
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:36 pm

Postby P.C. » Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:53 am

Please allow me to question a particular issue ;

"During the heating season, temperature and
moisture vapor move from inside to outside. During the cooling season, the temperature and moisture vapor move from outside to inside."

What I found in particular with brick structures or structures where the materials and structure can hold vapor is ; that in the summer the building mass being dried out durng the winter, again accumulate vapor.
Then the first few month when it get colder, the heat energy is mainly used to vaporise the water inhalt the structure masses --- and these accumulated vapor ask a lot of energy before they are transported out , before the building masses are dry again.
Put your hands under a water tap make your hands wet, and then blow some air over your wet hands --- you be surprised how cold your hands will get , just becaurse you dried some of the water out into the air surrounding.

Also --- emagine an older city brick house, people in that house are told to save energy and meters are placed on the radiators , so everyone can pay for the energy everyone uses individualy by each floor or flat.
Now the scroutch old guy on third floor simply turn down the radiators and the ones living on second floor beside those living beside the old guy , now pay most parts of his heating expenses right ?
But what happen with this energy saving meters is, that rot suddenly start in the building structure all around third floor, as when the warm air enter the cold building structure, it condensate the water ; see I don't even need to ask if I am right here, as these dameages turn up here there and everywhere, in all the houses where meters are installed. And every place I know, it was someone who wanted to "save" money that way.
P.C.
millennium club
 
Posts: 2160
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 7:25 am
Location: Denmark

Postby P.C. » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:06 am

I will add that around the corner where I live, in a simular house , what happened when the structure was opened , -- that water, real water, poored out m that is how huge the problem can become. But emagine how difficult it is to explain these issues, as if you want to save energy, you simply turn off the valve,and do it get realy cold , just becaurse of that ; no not at all, and "people uses much to much heat , there are those who hold 21 deg. in their flats --- and is it justice, that other's , others who know how to save energy must pay their silli vaste of energy ?"
P.C.
millennium club
 
Posts: 2160
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 7:25 am
Location: Denmark

Postby birgco » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:29 am

NLS,
On your point #16, I am currently using blown cellulose insulation in a 12-14 inch thick exterior wall (new construction) with no vapor barrier.
Insulation design was given full approval by local building officials and also solved my concerns about trapping moisture inside the exterior walls.

Great post, thanks.
birgco
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 9:36 pm

Postby csintexas » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:28 am

I would think that in New Mexico moisture would not be a problem. As I pointed out in the double wall thread, building sciences does not recommend a vapor barrier unless you are in a very cold climate which probably does not even include Spokane.

I don't see any advantage of trapping higher moisture in one area of the house. It seems to me it would be better to either distribute it evenly or expel it from the house. Why would the thickness of the wall matter?

I guess I would have to look at specific cases, otherwise we are talking in very generalized terms. (straw bail in Washington or New Mexico?) that makes a big difference.

There is a guy (pstu) on my website who is big on gadgets also, you two would get along well. My own approach is that we should make every effort to make a house work naturally without complex machinery as much as possible first and then add machinery only if we have to.

I like your idea about being able to make manual adjustments (like opening and closing doors) in order to regulate the environment of our homes. A home should be like a sailing ship.
csintexas
millennium club
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:12 pm
Location: USA

Postby P.C. » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:46 am

You are not alone with this standpoint --- I find it obvious how to get around those problems , and I know other architects who eagerly claim that these vapor membrames are not nessery and often make things vorse. Now that don't mean they or I think they are useless, not at all, but putting a bit thought into it, maybe allowing what at first could be seen as vaste of energy, but what as side effect mean better isolation is possible, and not just possible to be able to make savings.

One thing though to make this possible, one thing that ask more care then, is to make sure the rooms are wall tight, with that I mean that no air ever, bust be able to pass thru to a colder volume so it there can condensate the moisture. Case you emagine a primitive structure for this, it will mean an air tight inner box that carry the insulation on it's outside, then an outher protective shield that allow some air to ventilate , be slightly heated and that way capable of drying out, is possible and realistic. -- and even without the insulation , as long as one realise the mechanics.
P.C.
millennium club
 
Posts: 2160
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 7:25 am
Location: Denmark

(FRENCH DRAIN SYSTEM FOR THICK WALL MOISTURE REMOVAL)

Postby Natural Law Student » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:25 pm

(FRENCH DRAIN SYSTEM FOR THICK WALL MOISTURE REMOVAL) (GREEN BUILDING IDEA'S)
So what if moisture in the (NORTH WALL) for me is inevitable? and….That code requires a shower curtain vapor barrier constantly be installed. How could I deal with removing moisture building up on the mudsill…?
This would only work for a 12” super insulated or some kind of thick wall system. How about the installation of a septic system drain field/perforated 6" drain pipe just above the mud sill, after framing in a (moisture catching system) with mild framing in the (North Wall) where I’ve had the worst moisture problems. Just above the moisture protected mudsill on top of several inches of crushed pumice-rock R 1.5 per inch, then installed is a 6”perforated septic field drain pipe: maybe with additional holes drilled on the opposite side of the pipe, so more air can breathe through that pipe, then more crushed pumice rock on top and, then install conventional or what ever type of insulation desired and vapor barrier if still required into that wall system. The vapor barrier/shower curtain installed so as to direct the dripping moisture to the perforated drain pipe. Micro-fan on one or both ends and/or T-fittings going through the middle of wall system to vent moisture outside.....
French Drain Vapor Removal System for a moisture prone wall. A home owner does not have to use it. The ends of drain pipe can have screen to keep out bugs and animals. When not in use the ends can be capped off. The drain pipe would be dead air space when micro fan is not used. This would not hurt a 12” thick super insulated wall system on the north side of a house where I personally have had major moisture problems in the winter. Depends upon use of that north wall space and the moisture located in that space. Most area’s of the country have approximately 150 days of winter 5 months x 30 days = 150
One person wrote about blue board being a vapor stop inside a thick wall system. Interesting idea. If a shower curtain is going to be installed inside a wall then it would seem logical to build a trough at the bottom of the wall to catch that dripping moisture and build a French Drain for exhausting vapor. Straw bales have truth windows built in where one can see the straw inside the wall. Maybe a Moisture truth window of some kind could be built in so this experiment could be observed over time. How much moisture IS getting inside that wall….? Who wants to build in this experiment…? In any case if excessive moisture did get into that wall and as I predict with my own North Wall System Rot then I have a French Drain Wall Ventilation System already built into that vulnerable wall. It sure is better than tearing it out and rebuilding another rotted mud sill. Or worse yet when the framing and joists rot back and have to be scabbed and/or rebuilt.
Taos New Mexico has several builders that build Pumice-Crete wall systems. R 1.5 per inch. No rot possible. No tree’s being used in that wall system.
Canada has an experimental wood chip clay infill system that I found very interesting: see theses links. Often wood-chippers are dumping this free material in landfills. Newspapers are being dumped all the time. Readily available building materials for almost free. U-Haul it yourself


1.
http://pumicecreteunlimited.com/gpage4.html
2.
http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inve ... mice-crete
3.
Silver City New Mexico just permitted its first paper-crete insulated house. Rodeo New Mexico and places south of Silver City re-invented this technology. A stock tank or septic tank is mounted on top of a differential with drive shaft cut back and modified and a mixer blade welded on and newspaper and sand and portland cement are added to the mix. Entire mixer is then towed down a dirt road for ¼ mile and back and then the slurry is poured into forms or walls cast in place.
http://www.papercrete.com/
4.
Canadian use of wood chips infill wall system. Huge Thermal Mass and Insulation combined. Cast in place wall system. This wall system appears designed to absorb excessive moisture.
http://www.foxmaple.com/proclay.html
5.
New Mexico has a massive supply of pumice. Volcanic rock covers a huge area of the South-West. Could be the next building material for wall systems around this area.
http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/pumicecrete.htm
6.
Paper Adobe Experiment from New Mexico
http://www.desertexposure.com/200606/200606_padobe.html
7.
Press blocks of paper and cement
http://papercreters.blogspot.com/2007/0 ... _8024.html
8.
I just read a number of posting's on the forum. Nice information and problems to consider. I was for a long time totally against mechanical solar systems i/e as a purist no way would I ever want to use an electric motor to push hot air around a building. Not a problem if the building was designed to be passive solar in the first place. The building I live in now is about as far away from being a passive solar design as I have ever seen built. Which has been a good experience since its forced me to consider other ways to push solar hot air to the cold extremities of this property and living spaces. I have about 5 hours of solar heat per day x 150 days and a 20cfm micro motor running at 2.4 watts of electric on a timer: this type of heat is so minimal but effective that a differential thermostat did not work for me. I'm guessing at my math I did some time ago. That I could run that micro motor for about 2kwh per year about $1.00 added to my utility bill and get 960,000 cubic foot of hot air out of my solar heated hip roof that has dark tan colored shingles on it. The peak of the roof is 95 degree's to 115 degree's during the winter on calm sunny days and the heat exchanger is a 4 inch aluminum electric drier hose. I could have used some other scounged single wall pipe for the heat exchanger. I've been considering a huge solar collector by using a back wall on the workshop and ducting heat under the house into the basement: heat rises and lots of thermal mass under the house. If I vented that heat inside the house, this place would be swelteringly hot and I could not stand it. I designed it on paper and filed it. I can't afford to build what I really want into this property. I don't want to do that installation here because I want to live with it long term if possible and adjust it and document what I learn from it.
9.
Yeah I've been hearing how apartment complexes milk heat with microfans off of hot water pipes. Surrounding neighbors pay for heating other peoples living space. First time I ever heard about the colder neighbor being a moisture sink for building rot, which makes logical sense when I think about it. Brick buildings should have weep holes to allow mosture to get out. Maybe some kind of micro size conduit with negative air pressure used to pull moisture out of existing walls. Periodic evacuation of moisture with micro fan on a timer. Minimal loss of utilities and winter heat. So many houses need inventive retrofit of some kind. Makes no sense to be tearing buildings apart when some small idea could be installed that would do the job.
10.
The pumice-crete and paper-crete and portland cement wall systems might get mold but they won't rot not with the concrete structure holding the building block material together. But then again paper-crete is designed to be recycled and to be crushed up and thrown back into the mixer for recasting into some other shape, and if moisture collects at the bottom of the wall then its not going to stay structurally strong.
Natural Law Student
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:36 pm

Postby P.C. » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:48 pm

Maybe they are right, that a fan run exactly when, is realy a good way to keep things dry -- when that is allowed to fit the parameters by automatic that, could eacily be a good idear to, to put a bit more mechanics into the structure now everything, seem to profit this digital thing.
One must be very aware of the real matter of the stuff that is true, but so often , it is the functions and geometrics more than the strength of the material, that add the functionality of the build structure. Also a building core that form a matrix, of possible interconnective planes in a building, is no bad advance either.
P.C.
millennium club
 
Posts: 2160
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 7:25 am
Location: Denmark

Postby csintexas » Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:06 pm

I think moisture problems requiring a drain pipe would indicate much more than household generated moisture. In other words a normal wall protected from water would not be likely to have moisture problems. The fact that the sill plate roted out on some walls indicates other problems existed.

Generally in cold climates over the last 30 years a plastic vapor barrier is used on the inside of the wall, down south the vapor barrier is placed on the outside, perhaps higher elevations in New Mexico are considered to be cold climates, -I don't know.

How is the water getting into the wall? Is the sill plate treated? is it sitting directly on the concrete? Is there a proper drainage plane on the outside of the wall?

Pumice sounds like a good material. I remember driving through volcanic areas and seeing houses built with lava rock.

Retrofitting houses which where not designed and built correctly to begin with will always be a problem.
csintexas
millennium club
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:12 pm
Location: USA

Great article, great posting

Postby usarender » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:38 pm

Great article and great posting.

Many practical design applications! It is high time America re-thinks some of it's building practices and that we as architects begin to re-think our designs in terms of this zoning of wet areas and the possibility of creating protected vapor lock areas as you suggested. Some have opposed this idea, do not understand exactly why they would rather distribute it evenly throughout the house? Now, expelling it from the house is a good way also, as suggested.

This idea of using the computer micro fans is interesting as well. It is creative ideas as this that frequently are lacking. I do like the suggestion someone made to make the house work naturally, as much as possible, without the use of complex machinery. Thus, the need for proper design and care in the application of vapor barriers, in zoning of the house, and in the design of the exterior walls in wet areas.

All the lack of sufficient research and knowledge on this subject has been pushing the homes towards greater fuel comsumption, unhealth environments and assembly deterioration from humidity.

I also like the way you diligently keep tabs on your btu gains or losses during the day and the impressive performance of your solar device.

Now, this air tight construction issue is another problem. An environment that is too air tight is also breeding grounds for bacteria and air-borne disease. There is a need therefore, for a building, overall, to breath. The inner environment as well as the walls themselves. The amount of breathing through the walls is determined by the extreme temperature differentials. Now, the zoning of areas is a great way to design exterior walls according to the interior and exterior conditions and amount of humidity on both sides of the wall.

I like the French drain vapor removal system for a moisture prone wall as well. Allow us to deal with critical walls in a special way, and make special provisions where needed, and where there are moisture prone areas and walls.

However, I agree with csintexas point on the wall having an excessive amount of moisture on the sill plate. This in fact indicated an abnormal situation and certainly the drain pipe system is a good cover up, but better to see the source of the problem.

I like the ideas of the moisture truth windows built in for observing of internal conditions as well. Perhaps these could be treated in an architectural way as well and built into the experimental designs as features. It could be, so to speak, an experimental home.

I find Canadas experimental wood chip clay infill system most interesting as well.

And this suggestion is fantastic -->>

Brick buildings should have weep holes to allow mosture to get out. Maybe some kind of micro size conduit with negative air pressure used to pull moisture out of existing walls. Periodic evacuation of moisture with micro fan on a timer. Minimal loss of utilities and winter heat. So many houses need inventive retrofit of some kind. Makes no sense to be tearing buildings apart when some small idea could be installed that would do the job.

Indeed good point. Incredible to realize many big problems like this can be solved with simple cheapt technology.

In those apartment complexes with the heat being robbed, and certain areas creating moisture sinks for the rotting of the building, there should be standards set by the codes that require all the units to be maintained at similar temperatures, and a way to measure the temperatues in individual units and send this information to a central processor. This could be done with cheap technology and it would be a matter of compliance on the part of individual occupants. Just a simple device installed in each unit with all the devices connected to a central computer. Anyone cheating the system could be penalized.

The pumice-crete and portland cement wall systems present some nice challenges as well, but certainly present durability issues.

Now, this pumice application is not new. From what I can tell, the Romans first used this and it has it's history in concrete itself. Nice to see it being used again as a means to guarantee pleasant environments in structures. This is the only true serious honey-comb mixture I have seen, contrary to this pc honey comb thing, totally false.

I like this papercrete thing as well -->>

Papercrete... What the heck is it? It's recycled papers of all kinds, sand and a dash of cement...made into a slurry in an industrial size blender you can build yourself.

Pour the paper slurry into blocks, forms, panels, domes, sculpt like clay, use as a coating, filler and more. Build walls and houses with blocks of any size. Papercrete adheres to itself, can be used as a mortar for paper blocks, and dries quickly in hot/arid climates (longer in cold/wet environs). Doesn't mold, swell, attract insects, and is surprisingly fire resistant. This is a new method, and is still untested in many areas and environments, but the potential is enormous for do-it-yourself builders. Now experimenters are going beyond cement and using clay and sand and other natural, and free additives for very low cost construction. Check out the following information:


Sad to see now pc comes back to his matrix of interconnecting planes into this topic, as if in some way it is related. He is very obcessed with promoting this at any cost, despite the fact that I have shown him that his system is flawed.

I also agree on this retrofitting issue. Better to tear an old structure down at times then to try to retrofit things that have not been constructed properly.
usarender
millennium club
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 02, 2004 1:22 am
Location: San Diego, Ca

Postby P.C. » Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:20 pm

Sad though, that you realy had nothing to share, your oppinions what you "like" --- that's ok, but with so long a mail, what has you said ,nothing realy.
Please I think those who participate here, want new fresh inputs.
P.C.
millennium club
 
Posts: 2160
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 7:25 am
Location: Denmark

This does not make one bit of sense PC

Postby usarender » Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:31 pm

What you say also PC is contrived to look nice, but you keep coming back to your 3dh junk. Who are you to now ridicule my posts and censer what others wish to post, or call it irrelevant.

I have posted many relevant issues, and your only intent is to ridicule my every post. Why don't you go ahead and turn this post as well into a hate game. This you are already doing. Soon you will spoil all the posts, in your campaign of hatred and defamation.

You are not an architect and you have no business on these forums treating others as junk and despising their posts. You have no right to make such comments on my posts and so aggressively offend others PC. You don't belong on these forums in doing this.

P.C. wrote:You are not alone with this standpoint --- I find it obvious how to get around those problems , and I know other architects who eagerly claim that these vapor membrames are not nessery and often make things vorse. Now that don't mean they or I think they are useless, not at all, but putting a bit thought into it, maybe allowing what at first could be seen as vaste of energy, but what as side effect mean better isolation is possible, and not just possible to be able to make savings.

One thing though to make this possible, one thing that ask more care then, is to make sure the rooms are wall tight, with that I mean that no air ever, bust be able to pass thru to a colder volume so it there can condensate the moisture. Case you emagine a primitive structure for this, it will mean an air tight inner box that carry the insulation on it's outside, then an outher protective shield that allow some air to ventilate , be slightly heated and that way capable of drying out, is possible and realistic. -- and even without the insulation , as long as one realise the mechanics.


As I have pointed out, many of your posts are irrelevant PC. You claim special technical knowledge, but your limited knowledge of environmental control has led you to wild ideas. I have already pointed out the problems with your thinking.
Last edited by usarender on Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
usarender
millennium club
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 02, 2004 1:22 am
Location: San Diego, Ca

Postby birgco » Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:33 pm

Two additional items to think about when trying to design/build/retrofit a house with no exterior wall moisture problems. I would never use plastic sheeting as any kind of moisture barrier. Witnessed a number of demolitions where plastic vapor barrier had disintegrated under the sheetrock along with soaked insulation. Second, any heating device including fireplaces, which requires air for combustion should have an outside air source (metal or PVC pipe) to help eliminate negative interior pressure, (anything going up a flue needs to be replaced with outside air, sometimes damp and cold) An air-to-air heat exchanger is also a must for any tightly constructed house. Bathroom fans are a bit more problematic but a bathroom designed with radiant h/w floor heat usually will not require use of an exhaust fan (never had a fogged up mirror even with heavy hot shower use and the door closed).
Great to see a lot of renewed interest in this topic.
birgco
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 9:36 pm

Next

Return to Architecture Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

User Control Panel

Login

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 508 on Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:21 am

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest
DesignCommunity   ·   ArchitectureWeek   ·   Great Buildings   ·   Archiplanet   ·   Books   ·   Blogs   ·   Search
Special thanks to our sustaining subscribers Building Design UK, Building Design News UK, and Building Design Tenders UK.