Fernando Pages Ruiz

Fernando Pages Ruiz

Homebuilder, developer and author Fernando Pagés Ruiz builds in the Midwest and Mountain States and consults internationally on how to build high-quality, affordable and energy-efficient homes. As a builder, his projects have numerous awards including the 2008 “Green Building Single Family House of the Year” and the 2007 “Workforce Housing Award” from the National Association of Home Builders. In 2006, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's PATH project chose him to build America's first PATH Concept Home, a home that is affordable to purchase and to maintain while meeting the criteria of LEED for Homes, ENERGY STAR, MASCO Environments for Living, and the NAHB's Green Building standards. A frequent contributor to Fine Homebuilding and EcoHome magazines, Pagés is also the author of two books published by the Taunton Press: Building an Affordable House: A high-value, low-cost approach to building (2005) and Affordable Remodel: How to get custom results on any budget (2007).

Contact Fernando on facebook or by way of his website buildingaffordable.com.

Ceiling Fans: Part 1

Tue, Jun 12, 2012

Ceiling fans are an old-fashioned but effective and efficient approach to comfort.

Ever since one of our ancient ancestors picked up a palm leaf and used it to stir a cooling breeze, fans have played an important role in keeping us comfortable. From simple, hand-powered devices used to content Egyptian pharaohs, fans have evolved into automatic, efficient, climate-control appliances. Developed by father John and son James C. Hunter in 1886, the mechanical ceiling fan remains the most successful improvement. Even with the advanced climate control systems available today, ceiling fans provide an economical means of providing indoor comfort. As a supplement to central air conditioning, a ceiling fan can save 10% to 15% on summer cooling costs. In certain circumstances, a ceiling fan can help to balance home air temperatures for more efficient heating.

Insulated Siding: Part 2

Tue, Jun 05, 2012

This second of our insulated siding articles focuses on the technical aspects of using this exterior cladding as an insulation product. We will also touch on some relevant details regarding its installation.

The industry definition of insulated siding, or IS, is an exterior cladding product with a significant thickness of insulation permanently adhered, so that both cladding and insulation are installed in one step and as one product. This is currently limited to some aluminum and many vinyl siding products. (There also exists a line of contoured foam insulation manufactured as either a universal backing, or a product-specific backing for several types and brands of solid plank siding, including fiber cement. We will discuss this material separately.)

Insulated Siding, Part 1

Fri, May 11, 2012

Installing insulated siding on an older home may be the best way to up its R-value.

My first encounter with insulated siding (or IS as it’s known in the trades) came while visiting the Raritan Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey that was remodeled by a pioneer in energy-efficient and innovative "green" construction, Bill Asdal. The Raritan Inn serves as a research center and a showpiece of deep-energy remodeling. In 2003, Asdal, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Research Center, pioneered the first net-zero energy remodeling project in the United States. The structure was clad with insulated siding in an effort to achieve the highest R-values possible within the limits of remodeling an 18th century structure. What I noticed was not the R-value but the aesthetic quality. The siding had a clapboard profile and it lay flat, lacking the usual telling concave cup of most vinyl siding.

Slabs for Colder Climates, Part 3: Installing Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations for Unheated Buildings

Fri, Apr 27, 2012

Fernando Pages Ruiz continues his educational series on constructing frost-protected shallow foundations, focusing here on unheated structures.

Although neither the International Residential Code (IRC) nor the International Code Council (ICC) provides a prescriptive path, design criteria do exist to design frost-protected shallow foundations (FPSFs) for unheated buildings, including garages and porches attached to heated structures. The standard for unheated buildings developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), ASCE 32-01, Standard for the Design and Construction of Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations, is available for purchase at asce.org.

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