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- Storm-Ready Design > Episode 8: Concrete Color Staining, Soffits, and Energy Efficiency
Building an Energy-Efficient Florida Home
Bob reviews storm-ready features and visits with the homeowners and Tom Moorad of Moorad Painting as he applies a proprietary concrete staining product that will complement the Porcelanosa metallic-look tiles inside. This stain is dripped on, spread with a squeegee to avoid pooling, and topped with a clear coat sealer to give a long-lasting color finish. Joe Breese from Alcoa and Leslie-Chapman Henderson from FLASH join Bob for the vinyl soffit panel installation. Soffits are a major cause of roof failure and water intrusion during hurricanes, so this home has a reinforced soffit construction to tie it to the building walls and enhanced construction to make the panels grip tighter during high winds rather than pull apart. These panels channel air through grooves and provide 80 percent more ventilation than traditional vinyl panels. Bill Zoeller and Lance Keeling explain the energy efficiency measures that will save the home $100 per month in operating expenses like low-e glass that blocks up to 70 percent of solar heat gain, insulation in the concrete walls to prevent heat transfer, air conditioning ducts that are dropped in the attic floor and insulated with soy-based foam, and a 14 SEER heat-pump air conditioning unit.
- Part 1: Color Staining a Concrete Floor
- Part 2: Storm-Ready Vinyl Roof Soffits
- Part 3: Building an Energy-Efficient Florida Home
- This home will be about 50 percent more energy efficient than a typical Florida home. Bill Zoeller, a consulting architect with Mercedes, has changed specifications and products to make this home as efficient as possible. First, there are low-e insulated windows that will block about 70 percent of solar heat gain. The solid concrete walls are insulated with one inch of polyisocyanurate insulation board that is applied directly to the concrete walls. This insulation, which has the highest R-rating of any insulation on the market, will block the heat buildup during the day from reaching inside the home. In addition to Energy Star-rated appliances, the air conditioning ducts have been dropped to the attic floor and surrounded with insulation to reduce the efficiency challenge presented by running ducts through hot, Florida attic space. This technique was developed in California and is now part of their energy code. Dropping the ducts, wrapping them in insulating foam, and covering them in a polyurethane insulating foam improves efficiency and blocks condensation buildup in this humid climate. Lance Keeling, of BioBased Systems, explains that this foam insulation is soy-based but converted through chemical reaction to become completely inert to eliminate organic matter that could promote mold or mildew growth. This chemical is pressurized and sprayed with a hose to form a foam that sets up in moments. This foam provides a 4.8 R-value per inch but with a desired value of 6 from this part of the insulation, must be sprayed at a 1 1/2-inch thickness. This completely encloses the ducts to prevent any air loss and resulting moisture buildup. If a homeowner were to attempt covering ducts with commercial insulation, potential moisture buildup could be produced causing mold and moisture growth. The key with this technique is that it completely seals the ducts to prevent air loss and resulting moisture buildup. Zoeller and Keeling predict a savings of $100 per month in operating expenses due to the energy-efficient measures employed. Zoeller shows Bob the 14 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) heat pump air conditioning unit installed to cool the house. It is about 40 percent higher in efficiency than a traditional air conditioning unit. While initially more expensive, a smaller unit can be installed due to the high-efficiency of the overall home.
When hurricanes strike again and again, as they did in Florida in 2004, the effects are devastating. Bob Vila and crew work to completely rebuild a damaged house, using new standards for storm-ready housing. Along the way, Bob investigates a home's vulnerabilities in extreme weather and learns why some building systems fail and others succeed.
Also from Storm-Ready Design
Bob is in hurricane battered Punta Gorda, Florida, to build a storm-ready home in Season 1 of Bob Vila. Bob visits two homes in the same neighborhood, one that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, the other that was built to exceed hurricane codes and was left unscathed by hurricane winds and water from the same storm. Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes shows how enhanced building practices and technologies can create a storm-resistant home, while Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Secretary of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen discuss rebuilding Florida. Building inspector Randy Cole and Mercedes Homes’ Jesse Gonzalez review the site and watch the pour of a three-stage steam wall that sits below grade and ties the slab foundation to the ground. The resulting foundation will resist water penetration from storm surge by allowing water to move around the foundation without encountering entry points. Bob reviews the house plans with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes and learns how the house is constructed as an integrated system. Building connections are emphasized and reinforced rebar and steel mesh are extended from the stem wall to the roof line in preparation for the solid concrete pour that will form the exterior walls.
Bob recaps construction of the stem-wall foundation and integral concrete slab, the vertical steel reinforcing, steel mesh, window bucks, headers, and spacers put in place for the cast-in-place concrete walls. Cameron Parker and the crew of Solid Wall Systems spray the aluminum wall forms with an organic oil spray to prevent adhesion from the concrete and set the forms for the pour. Bob joins Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County Emergency Manager, to review cleanup, demolition, and repair one year after Hurricane Charley. sallade explains that housing built in the 1960s through the 1980s, before the Florida Unified Building Code, had stick framing, gable roofs, and siding. "It didn't stand a chance," he says. Looking at surviving 1920s Florida architecture, it's clear that unified construction, concrete walls, protected windows, and hip roofsare the way to design wind-resistant homes. Back on site, bob watches the pour, learns how the walls and window openings will be vibrated to eliminate voids, and sees the bracing set to hold the walls square before leaving the site to let it cure overnight. Once the forms are removed, Jesse Gonzalez explains how a traditional three-coat Florida plaster job will complete the exterior once the structure has cured for two weeks.
This episode of Bob Vila will focus on roofs, how they are built and tied down to keep structures safe. Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, explains how FLASH brings information about safe housing technologies and practices to homes across America, to protect them against floods, winds, hail, and wildfires. Chapman-Henderson explains how a connected house works as a system to beat back the pushing and pulling forces of wind. Randy Shackelford of Simpson Strong-Tie shows Bob the embedded truss anchors that will tie down each truss member of the roof framing, as well as retrofit tie-downs and heavy connectors designed to fight wind uplift forces. Jesse Gonzalez walks Bob through the steel-framed interior that has a master suite and bath, and lots of open space. Bart Cox of Hanson Roof Tiles brings factory-extruded cement clay-look tiles that are pre-drilled for mechanical installation. Dave Peck of D. Peck Roofing explains that stiffer 5/8-inch plywood sheathing, 30 pound felt that is nailed, hot mopped with asphalt, and covered with 90 pound felt makes a strong, water-resistant roof deck for the tiles. Metal nailer boards keep cap tiles in place when wind strikes.
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