New House Energy Efficient Details

By Todd Fratzel on Design, Energy Conservation

picture of Nu-Wool Cellulose InsulationOver the next few months I’ll be showcasing the construction of a new home from the foundation to finish, Total House Construction Series. One of the interesting aspects of this new home will be all the energy efficient design features. There’s a very good chance this house will be certified as an Energy Star home or a LEED home.

There are two energy efficient design features I’d like to focus on; triple pane energy efficient windows and cellulose insulation.

picture of Harvey Tribute WindowTriple Pane Vinyl Windows
We will be installing Harvey Tribute Windows in the new home. The owner has decided to choose the Harvey Tribute window with the High Performance package. These windows offer triple pane design with three panes of glass with a Low-E coating, and both airspaces contain Krypton gas for superior energy efficiency. Similar to Argon gas, Krypton gas is much heavier than air, making it more difficult for warm or cold air to pass through.

In addition these windows have closed-cell foam filled vinyl sashes and frames. The foam helps create even better energy efficiency and reduced sound transmission. The Tribute Window also comes with Guardian’s ClimaGuard SPF™UV protection – eliminates over 99% of damaging UV rays, providing a fade protection factor (FPF) of greater than 50.

Nu-Wool Spray-in-Place Cellulose
This home will also use the Nu-Wool Spray-in-Place cellulose for the wall cavities. Nu-Wool cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspapers making it a very Green Building product. All Nu-Wool Premium Insulation products are made with a boron-based, E.P.A. registered fungicide, which makes the insulation resistant to mold. The real beauty of this product is the installation method. The Nu-Wool cellulose is blown into wall cavities while it’s damp. The product is then scraped down until it’s flush with the face of the framing studs. By blowing the cellulose into the cavity most voids are completely filled. This method is MUCH more effective than traditional fiberglass insulation. Spray-in-Place cellulose insulation provides an effective R-value of 21 for walls framed 16 inches on center.

These two energy efficient design features combined with a high efficiency propane boiler will make this home a very energy efficient new structure. Keep an eye out for future posts or sign up for my feed so you can follow this exciting project.

Previous posts from this series:
Total House Construction Series – Foundation to Finish
First Step In Building A New House – Blue Prints
Getting Bids When You Build A New House

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Kurt says:

    Vinyl windows should not exist in this world.

  2. Todd says:

    That’s certainly one point of view. I hate to say it but I’m a fan of them. Something to be said about spending my summers playing with the kids instead of painting windows.

  3. greg says:

    I have to agree with kurt. Vinyl windows don’t have the same aesthetic as metal windows. I believe they tend to look cheap…and whenever I’m in a home I always notice the quality of windows for some reason and vinyl never impresses me. I believe you can get the same UFactor and SHGC ratings or better with metal that also have a thermal break. We’re using metal framed windows over at

    And you don’t have to paint them constantly…

  4. Kurt says:

    Well, I can understand that but “maintenance free” means they are not repairable. They are engineered to perform a certain way for a certain time period and then they become obsolete and must be pitched. The traditional alternative does require regular maintenance but on the plus side they can last the lifetime of the building. The studies already prove even in the harshest climate a traditional wood window, in good repair, with a well sealed storm can perform as well as a quality replacement.

  5. Todd says:

    I still disagree, check out the link to the Harvey Tribute, I have Harvey windows in my new home and people rave about the beauty of our home and the architectural features.

  6. ethan@OneProjectCloser says:

    My vote is with Todd. I don’t think they look cheap and minimal upkeep is always nice.

    @Kurt – Your right about windows being engineered to perform a certain way. But my windows do everthing I want a window to do.

  7. sean says:

    good on you for going energy efficient. It really shouldn’t make too much difference to building the house but the end results will be so much better. once again, good on you.

  8. David LaFerney says:

    The care that is taken to do a proper installation is (IMHO) at least as important in most cases as the specifics of the materials and design – that goes for doors, windows, framing, insulation, drywall, hvac – you name it. The best windows etc. poorly installed will never perform. Anyway, it’s good that energy efficiency is at least becoming a concern.

  9. Ian says:

    Why not go with extruded fiberglass?

    They are supposed to be much nicer than vinyl, as maintenance free and the fiberglass has the thermal expansion properties closest to glass which keeps the seal as tight as possible.

  10. Todd says:

    Fiberglass is an option as well. However, the price point is much higher. I certainly think the fiberglass windows are a great product they are just a higher end approach.

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