More Hot Water

Just found a whole bunch of UK studies of hot water – Yay! Here’s one on the cost-benefit of installing thermostatic mixing valves: “It is very likely that installing TMVs as standard in social housing in new buildings and major refurbishments accompanied by educational information represents value for money.”  Here’s a powerpoint from the American Burn Association discussing scald prevention: […]

Net Zero Energy Houses

I recently enrolled in Marc Rosenbaum’s Zero Net Energy Homes class, which is starting on October 1st. Marc’s blog is here. I’m a fan. As part of the class, I’m designing a zero net energy tiny house on a trailer. Depending on cash flow, Abel and I are hoping to build the house in the fall. If you’d like a […]


Much of the traffic on this blog arrives here by searching for information about Accuvent ventilation baffles. We don’t have any commercial interest in Accuvents or the company who makes Accuvent, which is Berger. We use a fair number of Accuvents, but we never – yes never – install them to the manufacturer’s standard. In doing so we always – […]

Duct Performance

Part of the problem with ducts is related to language. In English, the word ‘always’ and the word ‘never’ sound very similar. Pictured here is the attic duct system on a very inefficient and uncomfortable house. How often should you tap multiple supply ducts into the very end of a supply trunk? Probably nalways.

Category Construction, News

Improving buildings in the real world

There is an incredible wealth of information on how to construct energy efficient, durable, and comfortable buildings. Sure, most of that information is totally disregarded when buildings are constructed. But it would be difficult to argue that houses in the US are constructed poorly because technicians don’t have access to good information. This wealth of information should be directly applied […]

Changing heating costs

One of the most complicated issues for homeowners is determining whether or not to make a change to their 1) heating system efficiency, or 2) heating fuel type. There are a multitude of factors that could go into making this decision, including: Current system efficiency, Proposed system efficiency, Current cost of heating fuel, Future cost of fuel, Cost of change […]

Look Ma, No Replacement Windows!

Here are the blower door results from one of the NJ Home Performance with Energy Star jobs we did this week. In most houses we anticipate 30%-40% leakage reductions, which is generally considered pretty good. But 55% leakage reduction is pretty awesome! I’ll try to find time over the weekend to elaborate on our evolving techniques for sealing buildings. Here’s […]

NJ Home Performance with Energy Star

Just found this video tutorial regarding New Jersey’s Home Performance program. We’ve been doing quite a bit of NJHPwES work. Enjoy!


Testimonials can demonstrate that at some point someone said something nice about you. Despite my skepticism, I’ll be posting some of the nice things people occasionally say about us. None of the testimonials will be from my mother, who probably doesn’t have much nice to say about Tay River anyway. The most striking aspect of our NJ Home Performance with […]

What have you been up to?

Fixing water in buildings doesn’t make for very pretty pictures. Here are some progress shots from a recent job. Photo above shows a fairly recent repair to the chimney. Key to fixing water problems is ensuring that there’s no opportunity for water to pool against the building, for instance, at chimneys. New flashing is kerfed into the chimney and caulked. […]

Category Construction, News