Improving Crawlspaces in New York Multifamily Buildings

July/August 2006
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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July 01, 2006
Build your crawlspaces to keep energy losses to a minimum, while also keeping your pipes from freezing.
        Crawlspaces were developed as an affordable foundation alternative to basements.However, cold-weather crawlspaces, such as those in New York State, present a variety of challenges:         • limiting heat losses, both conductive, through the floor and walls of a crawlspace, and convective, via air flow through a crawlspace;         • controlling evaporation from soil or concrete floors in a crawlspace, to reduce moisture, which can cause a variety of problems in buildings;         • preventing cold floors in winter, and warm floors in summer, directly above a crawlspace;         • preventing radon from traveling from the ground into a building through a crawlspace; • preventing freeze risks for piping located in a crawlspace; and         • preventing the mixing of crawlspace air and house air, through leakage in ducts located in a crawlspace.         During energy audits for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s Assisted Multifamily Program, energy auditors have been reluctant to recommend insulating the subfloor between ...

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