Top 10 Lessons From Building a Net-Zero-Energy Home

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August 16, 2011

10. In-field supervision is critical, especially with first-timers

Even after the upfront planning and scopes of work have been agreed upon, some trade partners may still cut corners and make field adjustments without securing approval, impacting the quality and performance of the home. Having a presence on the job site and coaching the trades will help, especially early on in the learning process, but vigilance is key.

For example, prior to construction, IBACOS did a test run with the management and field crews of the insulation contractor and representatives from the insulation manufacturer in order to identify best-practice techniques for installing blown-in fiberglass in the thicker, 2x8-inch wall. Everyone agreed on a method that would result in the desired insulation density and R-value, but when it came time to install, the crew needed additional attention and coaching to prevent inconsistencies. The key was to have supervisors there to answer questions and provide guidance while the trades were implementing something new.

For more on the Best Practices Research Alliance lab home, visit For more on the project leaders, visit and

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