May 25, 2021

BetterBuilt NW May 2021 Newsletter


Building with Ducts in Conditioned Spaces Training

Join BetterBuiltNW and Earth Advantage for a 2-hour online training designed to help builders, architects, designers, and HVAC contractors in the Northwest learn how to design and build with ducts located inside a home's conditioned envelope.

Designing and building homes so that HVAC ducts, equipment and air handlers are located inside conditioned spaces can reduce energy use by 15 to 20%, compared to typical HVAC installations. Building with ducts inside also improves occupant comfort and can reduce construction costs when skillfully implemented.

Participants of this online, self-paced training will analyze and be able to apply six different strategies for building with ducts inside: open web floor trusses, insulated attic trusses, conditioned attics, inverted soffits, dropped soffits and conditioned basements.

In this training, builders who build with ducts inside will describe the specific strategies and approaches they use. The training also includes access to resources such as CAD drawings, case studies, trade guidelines, implementation strategies, training manual, a dedicated website, and more.

Register today for the free Building with Ducts in Conditioned Spaces training. This training is an update of the Building with Ducts in Conditioned Spaces On-Demand training available on

New Resource: Thermal Break Shear Walls Fact Sheet

The BetterBuiltNW team has identified several advanced wall construction techniques that can assist builders to meet new codes and build homes that will produce comfort at the lowest home operating cost. This document is designed to inform and provide resources to developers, architects, home builders, relevant trades, Raters/Verifiers, and inspectors about thermal break shear walls and extended plate & beam walls. View the full fact sheet here.

Programs in the News

Every month BetterBuiltNW highlights different programs in the news to keep builders and Raters/Verifiers informed about key updates, program changes, and features. This month’s Programs in the News features the following updates:

  • NGBS Green Certification Modular Pilot Program
  • Resilience is Key (Part 1 of 4 in our Resilience Series): New NGBS Options

NGBS Green Certification Modular Pilot Program
Due to the level of quality control and manufacturing precisions available with off-site construction, modular and panelized homes and multifamily buildings may have an advantage in achieving above-code green building certification. However, testing and verification for green building compliance can be challenging due to timing and travel costs.

To offer more flexibility to modular and panelized partners, Home Innovation Research Labs is offering an alternative verification process for NGBS Green certification that will run as a pilot through September 2022. This new process requires that an accredited verifier submit a Modular Producers Verification Plan that details quality assurance measures, production schedule, and verification plan, including use of sampling and remote verification.

This pilot offers a great opportunity for modular producers and builders to revisit the feasibility of NGBS Green certification. To learn more, see the NGBS Green Builders’ Resource Guide (page 11) and contact the Home Innovation Green Team with any questions.

Resilience is Key (Part 1 of 4 in our Resilience Series): New NGBS Options
The 2020 NGBS is the first version to include a section to address a building’s resilience. Section 613 Resilient Construction for new construction and Section 11.613 Resilient Construction for the renovation provide certification points for enhanced resilience and durability above building code minimum design loads. This means that architects, designers, developers, and builders that design and construct more resilient homes and multifamily buildings can earn recognition for their buildings’ enhanced ability to withstand the forces generated by flooding, snow, wind, or seismic activity and reduce the potential for the loss of life and property. Read more in on NGBS’s blog.

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