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5928 N Paulina St
Chicago, IL, 60660
United States

773.398.5288

Quality control for home improvement and new home building, plus building forensics for solving virtually any home performance problems. Nothing can hide from advanced diagnostics in residential construction, and you should never have to guess or assume that home improvements worked- proof is possible. Ask for it.

Videos, Podcasts, & Articles

Home performance articles and stories from the field with internationally respected building forensics gurus at the Building Performance Workshop. Hear new episodes of the Building Performance Podcast, see new videos from the Home Performance YouTube channel, and learn all about how diagnostic testing (more than an 'Energy Audit') can make home improvement and new home construction a proven process!

How to Insulate a #TinyLab (and any other house)

Corbett Lunsford

Infrared expert Corbett Lunsford uses the FLIR T660 infrared thermal camera to illustrate how insulation was installed in the #TinyLab for optimal control over heat bleed.  For more info about where you can tour the #TinyLab on its 20-city Proof Is Possible Tour, visit:
http://ProofIsPossible.com

Airsealing Membranes and Tape for the #TinyLab

Corbett Lunsford

Home performance guru Corbett Lunsford explains 475 Building Supply's Intello air barrier with vapor variable control. See how you can ensure control over drafts, condensation, and air quality problems. Feel the difference yourself on the Proof Is Possible Tour!

KEYNOTE: InfraMation 2016 in Las Vegas, Sept 27-29 2016

Corbett Lunsford

I LOVE LAS VEGAS IN INFRARED. Oh boy, is this going to be wild.

I've been invited to present a keynote address AND a workshop on Building Forensics at InfraMation 2016, which is a fantastic conference all about infrared thermal imaging and photography.

There'll even be a grizzly bear expert named Casey Anderson who watches them through an infrared camera (yes, it turns out they do business in the woods at night).

Hope to see you that week in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel! REGISTRATION AND MORE INFO HERE.

Stack Effect Made Visible on the #TinyLab

Corbett Lunsford

See hot air rising in a building envelope in real time! A pocket of air is trapped between the Solitex membrane and the exterior plywood of the tiny house.  This is the cheapest airtightness test available to building science fanatics.

If you want to know what this means and why on earth you should care, watch this:

How to Ventilate the #TinyLab (aka How To Pull Your Hair Out)

Corbett Lunsford

From the beginning, we've planned on this high performance tiny house on wheels (THOW) being airtight. That's a no-brainer, and everyone else wants airtight homes too, whether they know it yet or not. If you want to see how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed we were when we started planning the Tiny Lab, check out this webinar on the HVAC design:

After airtight construction, the next important step is always making sure the home is VENTILATED right, with fresh air in just the right amount. Too little fresh air, and you get staleness, odors, condensation, and a deep-seated disgusting feeling. Too much fresh air, and you're flushing conditioned air down the toilet.  The calculation for determining how much fresh air any house needs is called ASHRAE 62.2-2013, and you can see a simplified breakdown of that here:

And finally, you need to decide How Exactly You're Going To Do This.  That's always the sticking point, and designing and building this tiny house on our own has taught us that all day, every day. The devil's in the details. So began our ventilation adventure, and we immediately talked with our longtime friends at Panasonic, who recommended three pieces of equipment:

The ventilation strategy we were planning on initially was to exhaust air (20cfm minimum) from the shower (at the top right), which is only a few feet away from the kitchen (the L-shaped cabinet just below it), and supplying fresh air at the rear of the tiny house, in the underloft bedroom (at bottom).

We immediately faced a challenge with pressure equalization. Since this tiny house would be so airtight, the results of the blower door test would likely be less than 67cfm@50Pascals (2.0 ACH50). Without all the mumbo jumbo, that means that if I ran a regular exhaust fan in the bathroom or kitchen at anything close to 70cfm, I'd be sucking so hard on the house it would be as if a 20 mph wind was blowing on every single surface of the house (and that's a lot of surface- about 1000 sq. ft.)

Also, while the WhisperGreen bath exhaust fan can be 'manifolded' (which means connecting a duct system to the fan to distribute the air wherever you want it), the spot ERV cannot. A really cool MacGyver hack was recommended by Panasonic's technical team, which I think is awesome and could easily be done by anyone else per the instructions:

Although this is all very cool, it was deemed too iffy to work properly for the Tiny Lab because of all the customizations we're making with the on-wheels aspect, the tightness, the tiny size, etc. 

To keep this story from being ten pages long, let me just say that we are now on our FOURTH and final ventilation plan. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Brett Singer and our favorite dehumidification guru Lew Harriman both strongly urged us to use a fully-ducted HEAT Recovery Ventilator instead of the ENERGY Recovery Ventilator (which exchanges both heat and humidity). We'll be fighting the humidity the whole way, since every shower, cup of tea, and exhale will add to the moisture in the tiny house.

Also, we all agreed it would be infinitely better to exhaust the stovetop gases directly to outdoors with an ENERGY STAR kitchen exhaust hood.  We're keeping the pressure imbalances in check with a hole in the wall controlled with a mechanical damper that's activated by pressure imbalances.

Our final ventilation strategy is from our Product Partner BROAN, and we'll show you exactly how that miracle cure works when the system arrives next week!  Thanks for tuning in, and for your support in these trying times. Whew.

Tiny House Blower Door Test: #TinyLab Test Series #1

Corbett Lunsford

Watch as Corbett and Grace test their airsealing work on the Tiny Lab with a Retrotec blower door! They fire up the new Model 5000 fan and find that the house has approximately 160 CFM@50 of air leakage, which is 4.7 ACH50 and 0.14 CFM per sq. ft. of enclosure surface area- and that's with stupid tarps over the window holes! We're going to test again when the windows are in.

Thanks to Julie Tolliver of Energy Fitness for Homes for the idea, to Retrotec for making awesome equipment, to 475 High Performance Building Supply for supplying America with awesome airsealing kits, and to Hewlett-Packard for creating awesome video editing stations that we work on every day.

KEYNOTE: Thermal Imaging Conference Sept 18-21

Corbett Lunsford

Corbett is PUMPED to be keynoting the 2016 Thermal Imaging Conference in San Diego this September- join us and the Tiny Lab as we make it one of the most important events on the Proof Is Possible Tour! 
For more info and to register for the conference visit:
http://www.thermalimagingconference.com/

How to Frame a Tiny House to Withstand Earthquakes + Hurricanes Simultaneously

Corbett Lunsford

Corbett explains advanced framing techniques and components for making as strong and as efficient a tiny home (or any home) as possible! Get a quick tour of anchor bolts, hurricane straps and ties, jack and king studs, headers, top and bottom plates.

And come see the Tiny Lab when it's done on its 20 city Proof Is Possible Tour in 2016: http://ProofIsPossible.com

How to Frame Up a House in Two Days (like a Boss)

Corbett Lunsford

Corbett and Grace (assisted by lots of family and neighbors) assembled and erected all four walls of the Tiny Lab in two days over Thanksgiving weekend- watch the process accelerated 100x!
Find out more about the Proof Is Possible Tour and where you can see the finished Tiny Lab at: http://ProofIsPossible.com

Wondering where that snazzy song came from?  You can Shazam it or check it out here: http://cdbaby.com/artist/mysteriam
"Velvet Giver" from the album UNMISTAKABLE

If you really want to dig deep check out the music video starring Lennie Johnson, one of the most amazing performing artist we have ever worked with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=174LvV_qOeE

Tiny Lab Floor Deck and Anchoring System

Corbett Lunsford

Corbett demonstrates the anchoring system that ties the wall framing to the trailer of the Tiny Lab, a touring tiny house on wheels. See also the weird lesson learned with having a trailer that's wider than 8'0", and the solution we went with for our tiny house on wheels.

Tiny House Building Lessons Learned

Corbett Lunsford

We've been working on the Tiny Lab for almost a full month now, and there are lots of videos still in the queue, but here are the first few glimpses into the world of building a high performance 200 sq. ft. tiny house on wheels: