New and not-so-new techniques and products help shape Mandalay Homes' high-performance homes. (See related story here.) Here are a few of them:

Courtesy AeroBarrier

-Next-gen air sealing. Still in field trials, new technology from duct-sealing company Aeroseal seeks to eliminate some of the problems and shortcomings of traditional insulation. The AeroBarrier aerosolized sealing system creates an air barrier around ceilings, walls, floors, doors, windows, and electrical and plumbing fixtures, spraying sealant particles that travel to openings and build up and bond together to seal holes. The firm says the technology can seal gaps up to ½-inch wide and as small as a human hair.

-Health-minded products. All products used in Mandalay homes meet Indoor airPlus or higher standards for health and safety and mechanical ventilation is provided by energy recovery ventilators, which operate continuously to bring in fresh air and exhaust stale air.

-No-waste framing. Lumber-saving techniques, such as 2x6 exterior walls with studs spaced 24 inches on-center, provide room for heftier insulation and use fewer building materials. In a typical Mandalay home, the wall cavities are filled with R-17 open-cell spray foam and R-4 continuous rigid foam is installed on the exterior of the walls for a total of R-21.

-Water-conserving products. From faucets and showerheads to toilets and irrigation systems, Mandalay Homes feature 100% WaterSense certified fixtures.

-Efficient attics. Mandalay has run many tests to find the right combination of insulation for its unvented attics. Workers insulate the inside of the attic with spray foam installed along the underside of the roof deck. This keeps the house cooler even during sweltering desert summers and provides a mild environment for the home’s high-efficiency (95 AFUE) gas furnaces, 18 SEER two-stage air conditioners, and insulated flex ducts.

Courtesy Sonnen

-High-performance windows. All homes have double-pane windows with low-emissivity coatings and an argon gas fill between the panes to achieve an insulation U-factor of 0.29 and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23.

-Solar ready. Mandalay’s homes are equipped to accept solar panels. Because the homes are so well-insulated, it takes only a small system (about 3.5 kW) to provide all of the home’s energy needs.

-Solar storage. For a recent zero energy demonstration home, the firm employed a unique solar battery system. Much like the Tesla Powerwall, the Sonnen battery stores energy that’s generated during off-peak times for use during high-demand times, thereby reducing energy costs.