A mechanical engineer trained at The George Washington University, Avi Polischuk is the owner of R&S United Services, a New York mechanical engineering and contracting firm. Deeply interested in energy-efficient construction, Avi Polischuk strives to make the firm’s projects as green as possible.
One of the most basic rules of green construction is sealing all of the joints in the shell of a building. Too often, contractors pay a premium for insulated walls and ceilings without sealing joints, thus permitting air to flow around and even into the insulated rooms.
Both drywall-to-wood and wood-to-wood joints need to be sealed because the materials cannot be joined in an airtight manner. Typical sealing materials include caulks, films, foams, and gaskets. Air leakage pathway maps are available online to help construction professionals identify the best sealing strategies. Air-sealing products should be durable since buildings move in response to moisture, temperature, and wind. Gaskets are often better than caulks and foams because they are more amenable to movement. Other materials can rip and introduce airflow. Exterior films tend to be difficult to install and have a short lifespan, but interior films can prove especially helpful in cold climates.