Tight Building Envelope and Thorough Insulation
Air leakage (also called infiltration) accounts for as much as 75% of total heat loss in a typical house. In the winter months lighter warm air pushes out through leaky higher walls and ceilings and cold exterior air pushes in through lower cracks with considerable force.
A BRES house combats this effect using a vapor barrier of polyethylene sheeting to sheath the interior of all exterior walls and ceilings (behind the drywall). This vapor barrier seals to all its penetrations like windows and electrical outlets, and makes an extremely tight building envelope. Quality windows and doors with strong seals are also an important part of the envelope. Our careful attention to these details reduces air changes in BRES buildings to about .1 per hour. Conventional construction will typically yield one to three air changes per hour, or ten to thirty times more air leakage. Many people think that a house needs to ‘breathe’ and we agree, but we want it to breathe on our terms. We use a heat recovery ventilator to exhaust the house introduce pre-conditioned fresh air into the living space
Under the vapor barrier, BRES leaves room for thorough insulation. In most new construction, exterior walls are 2 X 4. All of our exterior walls are 2 X 6, allowing for insulating to R 19. Ceilings are insulated to R 50 as they see the highest temperature differences in the summer.
Top quality windows and doors with the best insulating properties available are key to a tight, well insulated house. Additionally, all the ductwork in our houses runs within the envelope and thus avoids all the heat loss that duct runs in attics and crawl spaces suffer from.