No wise cracks on the word Penetrations.
I thought of a few myself.
If you can’t help yourself then go ahead.
Tough new energy codes will soon force even reluctant builders to pay more attention to air-sealing. The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires blower-door testing and a visual inspection to ensure that a home is as airtight as possible. In addition, air-sealing requirements have gotten much stricter: In climate zones 1 and 2 (hot and humid zones), a house needs to reach a 5 ACH50 threshold, down from 7 ACH50. In all other climate zones, homes need to reach 3 ACH50. So far, five states have adopted the 2012 IECC or an equivalent energy code: It’s law in Maryland and Illinois, and it becomes effective in California, Washington, and Massachusetts in 2014. At least 16 additional states will adopt the 2012 IECC or an equivalent by the end of 2015, according to a recent article in the Journal of Light Construction.
To effectively meet building tightness standards you should first look at ways to reduce stack effect on the building.
Insulate the perimeter frame/rim joist with spray foam.
Insulate/seal all ceiling penetrations in the attic.
Make sure the insulation in the attic where it meets the top plate is done properly.
Seal all penetrations in outside walls.
I’ve already done some blower door testing in new construction and both came in fine. As long as you insulate and seal everything to today’s standards you should have no problem.
I tell builders to make sure all the penetrations are sealed before the insulation goes in.
On a side note. Most people don’t realize this but there was a catch to the 2009 stimulus package, each state that received funding agreed to be energy code compliant by… I think by 2017.
And in some of those cases, I have installed some of these that work fairly well.
http://www.ec-securehost.com/positiveenergyconservationprod./images/PEF80_sm.jpgClick on picture to view full-size imageFresh 80 Air In-Let VentIf you want to introduce outside air into a tight house, use this passive vent to bring outside air in. Use the template provided to cut a circular opening high up on the wall of any room with an exterior wall. The Fresh 80 is a complete unit that telescopes up to 8" to fit different wall thicknesses. It opens and closes with the pull of a string, although generally it is kept in the open position. The unit contains a washable filter so that allergens, leaves, etc can’t enter the home. The picture is oriented so that the interior of the home would see the left side of the vent, and the exterior wall the right.
We test homes all day everyday that come in at 2 and 3ach50 that use standard fiberglass insulation installed properly and air sealed very well. You can get a tight house without spray foam in the walls. I’m on your team, build tight and ventilate right!