With insulation planned for the coming week, the crew has turned their attention to preparing the air barrier on the exterior walls of this high-performance home. The air barrier, which is Intello Plus Membrane, is stapled to the studs on the exterior wall and will hold back the dense packed cellulose insulation. Three-quarter-inch strapping, as seen on the ceiling and walls in the photo, will prevent the membrane from expanding too far off the wall when the cavity is stuffed full of cellulose, while providing a surface where the sheetrock can be fastened.
In our experience as a custom home builder, Intello makes a great air barrier once all the joints are taped (not completed in the photos). Not only that, it is designed to allow moisture to move out of the wall cavity should it build up. That’s important when the exterior sheathing works as an air barrier as well. If the moisture doesn’t have a way to escape, it could lead to potential problems. We don’t want problems.
We’ve also begun using air exchange units manufactured by Lunos. In the picture, you’ll see a six-inch pipe through the wall that will house a low voltage fan. This fan will work in tandem with a buddy to provide fresh air to the house. One fan will exhaust air, while the buddy fan brings fresh air in. After a certain amount of time, the fans reverse direction.
The fan unit consists of a ceramic core that is warmed by exhausting air as it leaves the thermal envelope of the house. Then, when the fan reverses, the fresh air brought into the house is warmed by passing through the preheated ceramic core. The installation is very quick and the time savings is worth it. In addition, no ductwork is needed. It’s a win-win.
Week 10 will be a biggy with this zero energy home. The cellulose insulation will be pumped into the walls, Siding will begin, and the roof will be 100% shingled. Good thing, because now that it's stopped snowing, it has decided to rain almost every day.
Here are a few more pictures:
Notice Specifically in the picture below how we took the time to create a continuous air barrier at the corner of the exterior wall where an interior wall connects. A strip of intello was in place before the interior wall was framed, and then taped to the connecting pieces. The key component to creating a solid air barrier is not as much the products used as it is the willingness to invest the time install them right!