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I'm curious as to how they're insulating the basement/foundation for this house? I would think air-sealing the floor would be more difficult and less reliable over time than insulating and air sealing the foundation walls. Is there a target design condition heat load they are working from?

Marc Rosenbaum

The basement is insulated both sub-slab and on the interior of the basement walls.


I am looking to discuss a whole house renovation of a 1858 farmhouse that will be a deep energy style retrofit. I am in the process of buying an old farmhouse down the street from me, that has been partially deconstructed. Having been a builder/carpenter of fine homes for over twenty years I may now have the chance to do it right for myself, and of course for my kids, and mother earth.

Having read many published articles I am full of questions. Like why foam? Seems as though many of your best building practices currently advise to use foam, foam, foam? Is it TRULY healthy for us? Why not rigid Roxul insulation? I have seen in many, many instances where foam suffered intrusion by pests, and bugs, and ants. Even with the higher R-values and vapor permeability being better the wool insulation, isn't the wool insulation healthier, more breathable, and maintains R value consistently over time? I was obviously hoping to use wool insulation in my Larsen truss style walls, roof cavities, and on my exterior foundation....but you have me second guessing myself??????

How would you detail a foundation with 160 year old hemlock sills and floor beams?

I have included a link to some section views I have done that further outline my questions at the links below.

Check out the pictures of the house I'll be tackling here (these are it's current condition in which I am buying it)


Your help, advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated.




Great to see the use of air barriers in residential homes. It’s great to see it being pout to such great use, but the universal use of air barriers doesn’t stop there. They have great potential in commercial ventures, such as food storage and preparation. The energy saving qualities alone are usually enough to warrant an investment, but the practical applications, in such cases as food storage make it a no brainer.

You’ve gone into great detail, and this would really help someone relatively new to the subject.

Great work.

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