Insulating Knee Walls in Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 10/10/2013 


Illustration of knee wall

Knee walls are found in houses with finished attics and multiple ceiling heights. The knee wall is the short wall that reaches from the sloped ceiling to the floor, or connects the upper ceiling to the lower ceiling inside the attic. Not only are air leaks common in these areas, but they are frequently not insulated properly.

Insulation itself does not stop air flow. For wall insulation to do its job, …

Importance of Air Tight Construction in Providing a Continuous Air Barrier in New Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 11/13/2013


Construction gaps and resulting air leakages can increase heating and cooling costs, create comfort and moisture problems, draw in pollutants, reduce fire safety, and serve as an entry for rodents and insects. Windows, doors, and outside walls can contribute to air leakage, but the greatest losses occur in gaps and holes that are hidden from view and cause a continuous air exchange between the interior and the attic, crawl space, and outdoors.

Homes should have …

Understanding Air Flow in Homes for Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 11/12/2013

Air tries to equalize between higher and lower air pressure areas. If there is a pathway (a gap) and a pressure difference, it will move through that pathway whether we want it or not. 

To be an effective air barrier or air flow retarder, a material must not only block airflow through it, it must also be installed in a way that eliminates even small gaps, be continuous all around the conditional space and …

Understanding Moisture and its Flow in Homes for Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 11/12/2013

Water vapor is one of the many gases that makes up the air we breathe. A little water vapor is good; too much is trouble.

An important term to understand moisture issues in a home is Relative Humidity (RH). Relative humidity is a measure of how much water vapor is in the air compared to how much it could hold at a given temperature. 100% RH means the air can’t hold any more water

Designing Energy Efficient New Homes for a Warm Climate

Reviewed and Revised on 10/25/2013

Designing for the Climate

In warm climate regions such as the Gulf where temperatures are high year round, designing for the climate means designing to reduce heat gain is the first priority. Orientation (direction a home faces) and careful planning of available home space are “free” ways available at the designing stage of new homes which can help to cut energy costs upfront and make a home comfortable and highly functional.


Image of seasonal sun

How the Exterior Architectural Features of a Home, Built in a Warm Climate, Affect its Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 11/13/2013

The shape and exterior structure of a home play major roles in determining its energy efficiency. Building elements included in the shape are – height, width, and depth. These are also called building footprint. The exterior structure, which is also called building envelope, comprises of the walls, roof, windows, doors, and cladding. The footprint and envelope of a home can either enhance its energy efficiency or cause higher energy consumption. Homes having simple or uncomplicated

Understanding Dissimilarities in Different Kinds of Homes: Mobile, Manufactured, Modular, and Factory-built, for Home Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 01/03/2014

All kinds of homes- mobile, manufactured, modular, and factory-built, are built in a factory. The difference lies in how much construction occurs at the factory and how much assembly occurs at the actual home site. When more work is done at the factory, less labor and work is needed at the home location. Energy efficiency issues and solutions for all these homes could be similar or vary depending upon the construction process and other issues.