The Envelope

Partner Spotlight: HFH of Catawba Valley

Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley was recognized in September by the U.S. Department of Energy with the 2016 Housing Innovation Award which showcases homes that are the very best in innovation on the path to being zero energy ready.

This winning 1,340 square foot one-story home includes four bedrooms and two baths. Construction details include high performance insulation, high-efficiency HVAC, high-efficiency appliances, advanced lighting, and technology for energy and water savings. The homeowner sums it up best:

The thing that amazes me the most about this house is the fact that we have so much more space, but we pay a fraction of the cost in utilities. Before we moved, we were living in an 800-square-foot residence and often paying over $200-$225 for utilities. Here, we have more space (over 1,300 square feet), but our utility bill is less than $100.

To see photographs, the floor plan, and construction and energy details about the home, visit:

Or to learn more about the award and take a virtual tour of the other winning homes, visit:


Category: News, Partner Spotlight   

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Mobile Apps Increase Inspection Efficiency

Before scheduling an inspection, confirming that all the requirements are complete increases the likelihood of passing a SystemVision inspection with flying colors. All SystemVision inspection checklists are available for download from the SystemVision Tools website. The forms can easily be reviewed and completed using your mobile device. Filling out an inspection form prior to an inspection doesn’t guarantee a pass but definitely helps.

Having trouble using our fillable pdf inspection checklists on your mobile device? Try either of these two free apps, available for use with Android, Apple and Windows products.

Foxit Mobile PDF

Adobe Acrobat Reader


Category: Contractor Corner, Hints   

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Keeping the Crawl Space Dry During Construction

Managing moisture in crawl spaces during the construction process is always a challenge.

Advanced Energy has developed a tip sheet to help builders implement strategies to reduce the potential for mold growth during construction. The document Managing Moisture in Crawl Spaces During Construction is available for download from the SystemVision Tools website.



Category: Contractor Corner, Crawlspaces   

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SystemVision Air Tightness Study

Air sealing sheathing and bottom plates with caulk.

While new SystemVision standards were rolling out last year, Advanced Energy was hard at work sorting through data and surveying builders in the SystemVision Program to answer the question:

What architectural features and building practices lead to tighter SystemVision homes? 

After interviewing builders, studying floor plans, and running countless statistical models on close to 1,000 homes, we found practices that statistically lead to tighter homes:

Simple homes with fewer stories, windows and corners.

  1. Fewer can lights.
  2. Air sealing with caulk rather than foam.
  3. Sealing the double top plates together.
  4. Sealing the exterior sheathing to the bottom plate.
  5. Sealing the top plate to drywall after the ceiling drywall is hung.

If you are struggling with the new air tightness standard, then these six tips may be a good starting point.  The Air Sealing Checklist featured on the SystemVision Tools website offers practical guidance and images for how to achieve better air sealing

If you are already meeting air tightness targets on a consistent basis, keep up the great work and don’t change what you are doing.


Category: Contractor Corner   

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Partner Spotlight: Self-Help Credit Union

Self-Help Community Development Corporation has completed the first house certified under the SystemVision for Existing Homes program! The home is also certified through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. The homeowner is looking forward to affordable electric bills, improved indoor air quality and dramatically improved comfort in their updated home.

The home features a variety of improvements including:

  • Air sealing at attic, subfloor, windows and doors
  • Increased attic insulation to R-38
  • Attic access air sealed and insulated
  • Installed insulation and backing at attic knee walls
  • Installed new HVAC duct system to ENERGY STAR standards
  • Installed three new exhaust fans vented to the exterior
  • Installed 0.92% EFF electric water heater with pipe insulation
  • Installed ENERGY STAR rated refrigerator
  • Installed ENERGY STAR rated dishwasher
  • Replaced 13 windows
  • Installed 29 CFLs
  • Installed a carbon monoxide alarm

Check out the program fact sheet and program standards to see if SystemVision for Existing Homes program is a good fit for your organization.

Contact Maria Mauceri if you are interested in participating in SystemVision for Existing Homes.


Category: Partner Spotlight   

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