December 21, 2018

Bautex Blocks Create Energy-Efficient Homes in Hot, Humid, and Wet Houston

Building a Bautex Block home in humid, hot, and wet Houston ensures a tight building envelope that is energy-efficient and controls moisture intrusion and accumulation.

Moisture-resistance and energy-efficiency are essential features in Houston home where there is an average annual relative humidity in the morning of 90 percent and an annual high temperature of 80°F.  Furthermore, the region’s wet climate, due to hurricanes and frequent heavy rains, results in average annual precipitation of 49.8 inches, often occupied with dangerous flooding.

A Houston house built with the Bautex Wall System provides an energy-efficient, durable, healthy, and comfortable home that will lessen a homeowner’s maintenance, repair, and energy costs.

Building an Energy-Efficient Home in Hot, Humid, and Wet Houston

An energy-efficient house in hot, humid, and wet Houston is vital to controlling energy bills and preventing moisture accumulation within the wall systems. Furthermore, energy efficient homes in Houston benefit the environment by using less energy. Critical elements of an energy-efficient Houston home include a moisture control plan, a tight building envelope, site orientation, and the placement of the windows, rooms, and ductwork.

A Moisture Control Plan for an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

Builders and architects of energy-efficient homes in Houston must consider the wet climate and excessive humidity of the region. Crucial to the design of an energy-efficient home in Houston is controlling moisture entry, accumulation, and removal. Three vital components for preventing moisture intrusion and accumulation in a Houston home are exterior drainage systems, a weather-resistant barrier (WRB), and a high-quality heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Exterior Drainage Components for Controlling Moisture Intrusion to an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

Exterior drainage components for the walls, foundation, roof, skylights, doors, and windows provide some protection from moisture accumulation in a wall system from groundwater and rainwater. For example, canopies keep water away from windows, overhangs keep water away from walls, and site grading keeps moisture away from the foundation perimeters.

However, cladding systems can still absorb vast amounts of moisture; therefore, the design of wall systems must also consider the inward flow of moisture from rain and groundwater.

Weather-Resistant Barriers for Controlling Moisture Intrusion and Accumulation

A weather-resistant barrier (WRB) is a crucial element of a wall system for air and moisture control in a Houston home. A WRB protects a house from water and air infiltration. A high-quality WRB is both moisture- and air-resistant and ensures a home is energy-efficient, healthy, comfortable, and durable.

An HVAC System for Controlling Air and Moisture in an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

A correctly installed HVAC system can manage the moisture levels in the air-conditioned spaces of a house in hot and humid Houston. Without a controlled ventilation system, moisture levels will increase, which can cause condensation on window surfaces and give rise to surface mold, as well as condensation within walls and roof areas. A controlled ventilation system is crucial to removing excess moisture from the air-conditioned spaces of a home in humid and hot Houston.  

Energy-Efficient Homes in Houston Require Tight Building Envelopes

A tight building envelope minimizes heat gains and moisture intrusion and is critical to creating a dry and cool house in Houston. Essential for an energy efficient and tight building envelope is continuous insulation (CI) and an air and moisture barrier. Continuous insulation, along with an air and moisture barrier, stops moisture intrusion and air leaks. The envelope must consider all the exterior components of the home: the walls, foundation, roofing, and doors and windows.

The Walls of an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

The walls of an energy-efficient home should contribute towards a tight building envelope that stops heat gains or losses by conduction, convection, and thermal radiation. An energy-efficient home in Houston should have walls with a reasonably high effective R-value. Energy-efficient walls are a crucial component of a tight building envelope of a Houston home.

The Roofing of an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

A cool roof of an energy-efficient home in Houston protects against solar heat gains and keeps the home and attic spaces cool. For example, materials like slate are a good roofing product for an energy-efficient, cool roof because they reflect the sun’s rays. In contrast, darker roofing materials, like asphalt shingles are not a good product for a cool roof because they absorb the sun’s heat, which will move to the inside of a home. Cool roofs limit solar heat gains, lessen energy bills, and improve the indoor comfort for homeowners in hot and humid Houston.

The Door and Windows of an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

The doors, windows, and skylights of an energy-efficient house in Houston lessen energy use and save homeowners money. Design of an energy-efficient house should include energy-efficient doors, windows, and skylights appropriate to Houston’s climate zone.

Site and Room Orientation of an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

Correct site orientation of a Houston house is key for taking advantage of the sun’s energy. In Houston, north-south orientation of a house lessens direct sunlight during the summer (which lowers cooling demands) and maximizes daylight during the colder months (which decreases heating needs).

  • Room orientation is also a vital consideration of an energy-efficient home in Houston.
  • East-facing rooms have good sun in the morning and are cool in the late afternoon, which is fitting for kitchens and bedrooms.
  • North-facing rooms have good day long sun and suitable for common areas, like the living room.
  • West-facing rooms get the late day sun, so uncomfortable for kitchens and bedrooms.
  • South-facing rooms have low levels of sun exposure and most appropriate for utility areas like the garage and laundry room.

Location of Ductwork of an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston

For an energy-efficient home in Houston, it is critical to locate the ductwork inside the home’s envelope. Ducts placed in unconditioned areas can increase cooling costs by 15 percent. Furthermore, in hot, humid, and wet regions like Houston, moisture will collect on the overheated ductwork.

Building an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston with the Bautex Wall System

The Bautex Wall System are a high thermal mass wall product that produces a tight building envelope for an energy-efficient and moisture-resistant home in Houston. The Bautex Block meets the thermal performance set by the IRC and IBC and provides an R-14 continuous insulation that meets, if not goes beyond, the standards of the ASHRAE 90.1.

Importantly, applying the Bautex AMB 20 air and moisture barrier to the Bautex Blocks produces a moisture-resistant, airtight house, critical in hot, wet and humid Houston. The Bautex Wall System is an excellent product choice for an energy-efficient and moisture-resistant home in Houston.


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