The Home Building Industry's Technical Information Resource

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You can increase the value of your next remodeling project by including energy efficiency improvements. Learn how with Energy Efficiency Improvements for Remodeling Projects.

Find out more about heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems used by builders and remodelers. Technologies include heat pumps, radiant heating, ventilators, coolers and air conditioners.

Innovative Products & Processes - Technology Inventory [Back to Top]

Consider using the products below to take advantage of their potential to provide one or more of the following in the homes you build: Affordability, Energy Efficiency, Quality & Durability, Environmental Performance, and Safety.

Aerosol Duct Sealing
Central Air Purification/Ventilation/ Dehumidification Systems
Combined Heat and Power Systems for Residential Use
Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) for Gas Distribution
Crawlspace Ventilation Systems
Desiccant Cooling
Ductless (Mini-Split) Heat Pumps
Energy and Heat Recovery Ventilators (ERV/HRV)
Evaporative Coolers
Geothermal Heat Pumps
High Efficiency Air Conditioners without HCFC
High-Efficiency Whole-House Air Filtration System
Humidity-Sensing Control Device
HVAC "Smart" Zoning Controls
HVAC Equipment and Duct Installation within Conditioned Space
HVAC Sizing Practice
In-Line Fans
Mini-Duct Air Distribution System
Modular Air Handler Hot Water Coil
Modulating Furnace
Passive Solar Ventilation Air Pre-heater
Phase Change Materials
Plastic Ductwork Systems
Programmable Thermostats
Radiant Ceiling Panels
Radiant Cooling - Hydronic
Radiant Floor Heating - Dry System Hydronic
Reverse Cycle Chiller
Self-Sealing Duct Components
Solar-Powered Attic Fan
Two-stage Evaporative Cooler
Ventilation Control Systems
Water Cooled Evaporative Air Conditioning
Water Heaters With Space Heating Capability
Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Strategies
Wireless Thermostats

Design & Construction Guides [Back to Top]

Guides for designing and building various types of construction

Air Distribution System Design: Good Duct Design Increases Efficiency
Air Distribution System Installation and Sealing - Proper Duct Installation Increases Efficiency
Automatic and Programmable Thermostats
Controlling Moisture by Mechanical Design in Highly Efficient Homes
Energy Efficiency in Remodeling: Ducts
Energy Efficiency in Remodeling: House Air Leakage
From the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines: Understanding HVAC System Design Issues
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems - ToolBase TechSpecs
Heating and Cooling Equipment Selection: Care in selection is key to low-cost operation
Heating and Cooling Remodeling Options - ToolBase TechSpecs
HVAC Sizing Methodology for Insulated Concrete Homes
Residential Duct Systems - Selection and Design of Ducted HVAC Systems
Tech Set 3: Forced Air System
Tech Set 9: Indoor Air Quality
Performance Reports & Case Studies [Back to Top]

Evaluation of how products and systems perform in real life applications

Air of Importance: A Study of Air Distribution Systems in Manufactured Homes This study analyzed the performance of air distribution systems in 24 manufactured homes and compared them with the results of 9 homes built to the more stringent MAP specifications.
Enerjoy Case Study: An Evaluation of Thermal Comfort and Energy Consumption for the Enerjoy Radiant Panel Radiant heating systems, such as a ceiling, surface mounting system used in this study, have the potential for significant energy savings by warming objects and occupants and only indirectly heating air. An Enerjoy radiant heating system, an air-to air heat pump system and electric baseboard system were evaluated in an occupied research home. The report includes tables and houseplans.
Field Test of Advanced Duct-Sealing Technologies within the Weatherization Assistance Program A field test of an aerosol-spray duct-sealing technology and a conventional, best-practice approach was performed in 80 homes to determine the efficacy and programmatic needs of the duct-sealing technologies as applied in the U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program.
Improving Air Distribution System (ADS) Performance in Manufactured Homes Building scientists were sent to 16 manufactured home plants to develop and demonstrate techniques to build tighter duct systems and to train production personnel in these techniques.
Measured Performance of Five Residential Geothermal Systems Data of the performance of five residential geothermal systems in northeastern Ohio was collected and analyzed to characterize performance of the systems in occupied homes and to compare the measured output at design conditions to standard sizing methods.
PATH Technology Inventory Review This report describes the process and results of a short-term activity initiated by the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) to review and identify technologies in the 162-item PATH Technology Inventory that should be high-priority candidates for a concerted PATH technology transfer or diffusion effort.
Preliminary Assessment of Ventilation Requirements for New Single-Family Homes This 1990 study reviews the ventilation requirements of codes and standards, and develops a method to estimate supplemental ventilation and associated costs.
TechPractices: Baycliffs, Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, OH How can you keep homes comfortable and economical when the thermometer can plunge to -10º F in the winter and soar to100º F in the summer? The developer of the planned 375-unit development solves the problem using a steel/rigid insulation panelized system with airtight, superinsulated walls, conditioned by a highly efficient geothermal heat pump drilled into rock.
TechPractices: Bentley Residence, Steamboat Springs, CO This 3,000 sf custom home is for a client who desires to showcase resource efficiency and recycled materials.
TechPractices: Carl Franklin Homes, Kensington Park, Dallas, TX Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), Geothermal Heating and Cooling units, and other PATH program technologies were used to produce houses that cost significantly less for low-income homeowners to operate and maintain than conventionally constructed units.
TechPractices: EcoVillage at Ithaca, Ithaca, NY By using an inventive arrangement of distribution systems, homes can be designed and constructed to generate low energy bills but maintain high indoor air quality.
TechPractices: Environmental Showcase Home, Phoenix, AZ The intent of the Environmental Showcase Home (ESH) is to demonstrate that products available on the market can make a resource-conserving home without compromising comfort or aesthetics.
TechPractices: FBC Infill Housing, Louisville, KY Durable yet inexpensive, these houses are planned with energy- and cost-saving features that make them affordable to would-be home buyers with marginal resources.
TechPractices: Greenlee Park, McStain Enterprises, Boulder, CO Greenlee Park, completed in 1997, is the first environmentally sustainable development built by McStain Enterprises, and has since had a big impact on how this company (which averages 250 units a year) builds homes.
TechPractices: Grove at Patuxent Woods, Patuxent City, MD In this project for seven affordable houses, it was possible to concentrate shared wastewater treatment systems in areas of the site with adequate soil conditions, allowing four houses to route their septic to a fifth lot, while two other houses shared a septic field.
TechPractices: Healing House, BBH Enterprises, Dallas, TX Located in a moderate income Dallas neighborhood, this house achieves its health and energy goals on a moderate ($65/SF) budget by pairing an innovative mechanical and ventilation system with a novel floor plenum design.
TechPractices: Hillside Oaks, Carl Franklin Homes, Dallas, TX What happens when you combine the technology of structural insulated panels with a geothermal heat pump system that costs less to operate and maintain than conventional HVAC systems?
TechPractices: Home Front, Inc., Brian Bishop, Venice, FL The panelized housing system developed by Brian Bishop of Home Front, Inc. gives homeowners the durability of a non-wood exterior system, the energy efficiency of full thickness foam insulation, and the lower cost of a panelized system that erects quickly without the need for heavy-lifting equipment.
TechPractices: Island Presentation Partnership, Dewees Island, SC Combining local climatic responses with new materials, Dewees Island contains a growing population while protecting its sensitive ecosystems.
TechPractices: Keith Swilley House, Koehnemann Construction, Panama City, FL This single-family Florida house uses a horizontal loop geothermal heat pump system and an array of energy-saving strategies.
TechPractices: NEDCO, Field of Dreams, Eugene, OR The Field of Dreams residential community, completed in Eugene, Oregon, combines ingenuity at several levels of project delivery.
TechPractices: Northern Enterprise Homes, Hartford, CT Northern Enterprise Home Manufacturing, a new company located in Hartford Connecticut, is a pioneer in constructing homes with pre-cast foundations walls.
TechPractices: Palm Harbor Homes, Dallas, TX Palm Harbor Homes has a line of HUD-Code homes that is the first to qualify for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star Homes Program label.
TechPractices: RBG Residence, Kingston, NY Energy efficient, comfortable, quiet, and convenient, geothermal heat pumps are an improvement over conventional systems because they use the soil's energy storage instead of relying on fossil fuels.
TechPractices: Solar Townhouses, Philadelphia, PA A builder in Pennsylvania is taking advantage of a new solar mortgage program and coupling it with government grants to make high technology affordable.
TechPractices: Stone Ledge, Leakwood, KS With "totally maintenance-free living," this small developer went after a small but discriminating market to show there's always a demand for well-built homes.
TechPractices: Warren Builders: Albertville, Alabama Comparison of three mechanical ventilation systems.

Field Evaluations [Back to Top]

Evaluation of how products and systems perform in real life applications

Asdal Builders
Bob Ward Companies
Brighton Construction - Liberty Village
Community Development Corporation
Constant Airflow Regulators (CAR) in Multi-Family Multi-Story Central Ventilation Systems
Davis Construction
Farnham Construction
Habitat for Humanity - Schenectady
K. Hovnanian Inc.
MADE Project
South Chicago Workforce
Weingarten House

Questions & Answers [Back to Top]

Frequently asked questions, answered by home building professionals

Can PEX be joined with solvent cement?
Can PEX be used for aboveground outdoor applications?
Can PEX be used for underground cold-water service applications?
Can PEX be used under the slab?
Can PEX save me money?
Can R-410a be used in R-22 systems?
Can R-410a be used interchangeably with R-22 refrigerant?
Do programmable thermostats save energy?
Have there been any problems reported with plastic vent pipes?
How are PEX systems sized?
How are PEX systems tested for leaks?
How can I be sure that PEX is a safe product for plumbing?
How do I insulate a steel framed home?
How do I thaw PEX lines?
How long can PEX be exposed to sunlight?
How long has PEX been used?
How much does the new refrigerant cost?
How soon after installation can you pressure test a PEX tubing installation?
I will be building a new 1,000 sq. ft. house for a client that has expressed interest in a high-velocity mini duct HVAC system. Does it make sense to install this system in a new house? What are the advantages?
I’ve heard about a product called biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil used in cars and trucks. I’ve also heard about home heating oil that also contains vegetable oil? Are they both the same?
I’ve heard that certain refrigerants will no longer be used. What is happening?
Is flexible PEX plumbed differently than rigid material plumbing systems?
Is it necessary to switch to a new refrigerant with the new high-efficiency air conditioners?
Is it possible to install a ceiling fan in the living room of a house that was built in 1965 and has radiant ceiling heat?
Is PEX freeze-break resistant?
Is the thermal expansion/contraction of PEX a problem?
I've heard that R-410a operates at higher pressure. Is it unsafe?
We’ve been hearing about the importance of crawlspace encapsulation systems and customers are asking about it. It is against code to cover vents in our region. Is it necessary to vent crawlspaces in the Pacific Northwest and if so, why?
What are manifold plumbing systems?
What are my options if I am working on an addition, and would like to add a separate heating zone and thermostat?
What are recommended uses for PEX?
What are temperature limitations for PEX?
What are the options in adding central air conditioning to a home that has no ductwork?
What is better about R-410a?
What is PEX?
What is Puron?
What is the expected performance of PEX water distribution systems?
What joining systems are available?
What sizes, lengths and packaging options of PEX are available?
What type of oil is used with R-410a?
Where is PEX approved for use?
Where is PEX available?
Where would I go for more information on ductless, mini-split heating and air conditioning systems?
Which manufacturing method for PEX is recommended for hot and cold potable water?
Why is PEX an excellent piping material for plumbing?
Will PEX systems help save on utility bills?
Will R-410a be around for a long time? I don’t want to start using something that won’t be available for servicing in the coming years.

Web Links [Back to Top]

Recommended Web resources for additional information