Beauty and the beast upstairs

The same features that are often added to the top story of homes to give them distinctive architectural beauty can also make them rather beastly to heat or retrofit. One-and-a-half-story houses, like the Cape Cod-style found in New England, are typical of those that pose tricky insulation and air sealing problems.

Kneewalls, dormers, side attics, top attics, and sloped ceilings in the top story of a building can lead to unexpected air leakage and insulation performance problems in any house, old or new. Cape Cod-, Mansard- and Gambrel-style houses typically have half-stories with these troublesome features, and the same types of thermal performance problems are often created in other homes when an attic is finished and converted to a living space. Fortunately, given the proper approach, these problems can become energy savings opportunities during a remodeling or energy retrofit project.

Read more on Home Energy Magazine’s website