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Fine Homebuilding Magazine September 2019

Fine Homebuilding Experts Weigh In on ThermalBuck

Fine Homebuilding (FHB) magazine has been one of the most widely recognized voices in the building industry since its first printing in 1981, nearly 40 years ago.

What makes Fine Homebuilding such a valuable resource to builders is the quality of the content. Written by builders who are considered experts in the field of homebuilding, the articles focus heavily on the details of homebuilding that most builders will encounter on the job site.

Much has changed about the way we build over the years, and the content is now both a combination of best real-world practices for building, and new technology and building materials.

Windows in Thick Walls

In his article entitled Windows in Thick Walls,”September 2019, FHB, Maine residential design/build contractor Michael Maines explains the challenges of installing windows in thick, highly-insulated walls. He presents detailed illustrations that review 5 typical situations:



    • One: Recessed windows with extension jambs as exterior trim
    • Two: Recessed windows with traditional casing
    • Three: Recessed windows with shingled returns
    • Four: Windows curbed to the exterior
  • Five: Curbed windows installed with ThermalBuck


Maines utilizes his experience building many different types of wall assemblies in the article. His solutions address not only moderately high-performance envelopes in climates 3 and up, they can also be modified to suite warmer climate zones, and the highest performance levels of Passive House building.


“Thick, highly insulated walls . . . present some challenges for builders when it comes to installing windows and doors . . . (ThermalBuck) is a great, problem-solving product line.”

 —- Michael Maines, Michael Maines Residential Design + Build, Contributing Editor, Fine Homebuilding


Read more at finehomebuilding.com.



Bucks for Outsulation

Also in the September 2019 issue of FHB was a feature by Senior Editor Patrick McCombe, in the SPEC section, which covers new building materials on the market.


“The best solution I’ve seen is ThermalBuck.”

 —- Patrick McCombes, Senior Editor, Fine Homebuilding


When it comes to challenge of properly installing and flashing windows and doors in walls with exterior insulation, most experts don’t recommend installation directly over foam. Not only does it compress the foam and leave air gaps, but it also introduces some potential issues for the window. The most commonly known way to address this is to build a wood buck to extend the mounting point for the window. However, adding wood works against the goal of creating a continuous insulation layer on the building envelope.

See why Fine Homebuilding Senior Editor Patrick McCombes says “The best solution I’ve seen is (the) ThermalBuck,” and learn more about its features and benefits at  finehomebuilding.com.


For detailed coverage of real-world ThermalBuck installations, visit Installation Stories at thermalbuck.com. For more ThermalBuck coverage in the media, review Media Coverage at thermalbuck.com



Map of six regional energy efficiency organizations REEOS

Advancing the Energy Codes

You may have heard of NEEA, or you might be more familiar with NEEP. Different names, but they both share the same vision as part of a larger network, the Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations (REEOS). These organizations are all working together to advance energy-efficient initiatives in across the U.S. With the growing importance (and complexity) of energy codes, the work of these groups is becoming more impactful every year.


Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations (REEOS)

The six REEOS provide technical support to states and municipalities to assist with energy efficiency policy development and adoption. They also help with planning and execution, critical elements of success. A number of organizations support the work of REEOS, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), utilities, third‐party program administrators, public officials, advocacy groups, businesses and foundations. To determine which REEOS is advocating for your region, take a look at the states that comprise each organization.

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – NEEA

NEEA is comprised of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations, serving 13 million energy consumers. Based in Portland, Oregon since it’s inception in 1997, this region (through the work of NEEA) has increased energy efficiency significantly enough to power more than 900,000 homes annually. neea.org 

  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Oregon

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – MEEA

Chicago, Illinois is the home of MEEA, which is focused on increasing and sustaining the level of energy efficiency across 13 states. MEEA designs and/or facilitates a number of regional energy efficiency programs, such as the Building Operator Certification (BOC) program. Upcoming events for MEEA include The 8th Annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference, November 15th-16th in Ann Arbor, MI. mwalliance.org

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership – NEEP

NEEP was founded in 1996, in Lexington, Massachusetts. Their long-term goal is to assist the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region in reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050 (relative to 2001). One of the many initiatives NEEP has led the development is the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) Criteria, available as a standard for school construction & major renovation projects throughout the Northeast. neep.org 

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Southwest Energy Efficiency Project – SWEEP

Based in Boulder, Colorado, the region served by SWEEP had traditionally not kept pace with energy-efficiency efforts of other parts of the U.S. However, significant progress in improving energy-efficiency in the industrial sector was made in 2010, bringing the region in line with the efforts of other REEOS. Funding for electric utility energy efficiency and demand-side management programs in the region has grown significantly – from $21 million in 2001 to approximately $390 million as of 2016. swenergy.org 

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Southcentral Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource – SPEER

Austin, Texas is the home to SPEER headquarters, which just announced it’s distinction as a 2030 District city this past January. SPEER has has prior success with Dallas and San Antonio as 2030 Districts as well. Although SPEER only serves two states, that includes over 30 million people. SPEER is focused on increasing the adoption of advanced building systems, as well as energy-efficient products and services. eepartnership.org 

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma

Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance – SEEA

Founded in 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia, SEEA is the most recently established of the six REEOS. It specifically advocates for energy efficiency as a way of encouraging economic growth & workforce development, as well as the optimization of energy use for security. SEEA hosts a multitude of webinars and breakfast series throughout the year, and an annual conference each fall. seealliance.org

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

Each of these organizations is a great resource for energy efficiency stakeholders, providing resources, training, and a number of initiatives and events. Check out the websites for each of the organizations, and learn more about how they can help you achieve your energy efficiency goals.