October 27, 2022

BetterBuiltNW October 2022 Newsletter



Every month this section features must-read content from past newsletters – just in case you missed it.

Case Study: High-Performance Homes: Where fire-resistance meets energy resilience

Many energy-saving upgrades carry additional benefits, like improved comfort and safety. With the increasing prevalence of wildfires in the Northwest, it’s a good time for builders and homeowners to consider investing in energy-saving measures that also carry fire resiliency benefits.

This case study looks at examples of energy-saving measures that can also help keep a home safe in the event of a wildfire. It features advice from scientists in the Building Systems group at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and studies from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). To read the case study, click here.

Programs in the News

Built Green: Change Makers Inspire the Built Green Conference

The 2022 Built Green Conference was held on September 15, 2022 at South Seattle College. The day was filled with reunions, new connections, networking, and captivating sessions tackling everything from building science to policy to increasing housing and affordability in our communities.

Tess Studley and Greg Lasher from BetterBuiltNW explained how the 2018 Washington State Energy Code has impacted the way homes are being built. They discussed how home builders could consider reallocating design resources to air leakage reduction, envelope improvements, and efficient HVAC distribution that are currently underutilized, but represent significant opportunities for impact and additional energy code credits.

To read a conference summary, click here.

Built Green: 2022 Built Green Hammer Award Winners

The 2022 Built Green Conference recognized Built Green’s outstanding builders and advocates during their annual Built Green Hammer Award ceremony. The best projects from the previous year were highlighted, and Built Green supporters were recognized for their contributions to the program.

BetterBuiltNW and Dan Wildenhaus (formerly of BetterBuiltNW) won Built Green’s Private Sector Advocate award for their work, which includes contributing considerable hours to help answer difficult code questions, creating tools and resources for builders to accelerate adoption of high-performance building practices, partnering on Washington State Energy code proposals, and explaining the energy code in practical terms. To read this article, click here.

Built Green: Building Spaces of Belonging

Despite the myriad benefits of owning a home, many people do not have access to homeownership or are subjected to higher rates of environmental pollution in the places they can afford to buy due to codified and institutional systems that persist to this day. Built Green observed that to overcome these disparities, an equitable, just, and inclusive approach is required, one that opens the door to homeownership as well as living-wage jobs in the building trades. Responding to this challenge, Built Green implemented the Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) Section into its latest checklists to codify the intent of addressing inequality and alleviating barriers experienced by marginalized populations. To read this article, click here.

Zero Energy Project: The New Zero Energy Project Product Directory

New technologies are making zero energy homes and buildings more affordable, healthier, and more comfortable than ever. The Zero Energy Project now helps keep up with advanced building equipment and materials through their new Zero Energy Product Directory, which focuses on energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly products that support and hasten the transition to zero energy homes and buildings. To read this article, click here.

Energy Vanguard: A Layered Approach to Indoor Air Quality

The past 2.5 years of the COVID pandemic have put a big spotlight on indoor air quality (IAQ) and the spread of infectious disease. In this article, Energy Vanguard’s Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, explains IAQ with regards to COVID and how the outbreak has affected his views on IAQ. To read this article, click here.

Energy Vanguard: A Continuous Air Barrier Between Garage and House

An attached garage is the source of a lot of indoor air pollutants for many homes. Stored gasoline, pesticides, paints, and other toxic materials, as well as automobile exhaust are examples of such pollutants. This article explains how a no-fuss, no-muss continuous air barrier in homes can help keep pollutants out of living areas. To read this article, click here.

Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration News: Prepare Now for 2023 Energy Efficiency Standards

Big changes are coming to the HVAC industry, as of January 1, 2023, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) minimum energy efficiency requirements go into effect for all newly manufactured residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps. It is important for contractors to not only be aware of the changes taking place next year, but to take steps now to update inventory plans in order to be prepared for the new efficiency standards. To read this article, click here.

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