Home Innovation Insights

Insider insights on what's going on in the home building industry.

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Bob Hill, PE
September 23, 2014

No Product is an Island

No home is made of just one product. And no one product within a home works without some reliance on one or more other products. Does your product play well with others? Don't be the weakest link in your clients' home systems, or get in your own way on the path to your next innovation. Understand how your product works in relation to a range of connections and assemblies by conducting non-standard testing with Home Innovation Research Labs.

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Bob Hill, PE
August 27, 2014

“R” Your Insulation Products Meeting Expectations?

With model building codes ramping up thermal envelope requirements for homes, and homebuyers becoming increasingly concerned (and knowledgeable) about managing their energy bills, both builders and buyers are scrutinizing the performance of the insulative products used in their homes. R-value is the most obvious and universal “proof point” that batt insulation will perform as expected, but how confident can you be that the R-value posted on a label actually reflects how that product will perform? Very confident … as long as the product also carries our Lab Certified mark.

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Bob Hill, PE
June 27, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Lab Director: Post-Audit Reflection

The phrase, “You’re being audited,” can strike fear into the heart of anyone. I am personally recovering from our latest lab audit, or, more accurately, our latest surveillance assessment. Unlike an IRS audit, however, the audits we undergo as an accredited third party are not at all unpleasant; in fact, they’re very beneficial. But they do take a big commitment of time and energy, and involve a certain amount of stress as our company’s credibility relies heavily on the value imbued by our accreditations. Find out what's involved and how this helps define our culture of accountability.

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Bob Hill, PE
May 22, 2014

Moisture Testing: An Ounce of Prevention, Better Than a Pound of Cure

Energy efficiency requirements in the building codes are becoming more and more stringent. This has lead to the unintended consequence of builders having to contend with and mitigate excess moisture in the homes they build. Making houses tighter with less air infiltration creates positive energy benefits but, unless adequate ventilation is provided in the right way, there can be moisture-related issues like mold growth. Proper moisture testing for building products is crucial to ensure they perform as manufacturers, builders, and homeowners desire.

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Bob Hill, PE
April 7, 2014

It's Gettin' Hot in Here...

Guests who tour Home Innovation Research Labs are impressed with our sizeable Hot Box. Indeed, we have one of the largest in the country. Less brawny, but equally titillating, are our four heat flow meters. This equipment is essential to measure the thermal efficiency of insulation (and a variety of other building products), commonly measured by R-value, a measure of resistance to heat flow. And increasingly, as Professional Builder magazine recently noted, energy efficiency is table stakes for the new market.

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Bob Hill, PE
March 10, 2014

Our Credibility Is Your Currency

There is a common barrier to innovation faced by builders and product manufacturers alike. They may be certain their product or technology is superior, but can they convince relevant decision-makers to change from tried-and-true methodologies and products? The answer is yes – if they have credible and demonstrable proof to back up their claims.

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Bob Hill, PE
November 21, 2013

Up Close and Personal with "The Racker"

While its name might conjure up images of a middle ages torture machine or a modern-day MMA move, our "Racker" is actually used to understand the shear wall performance of building assemblies. Find out what makes this custom piece of test equipment particularly well-suited for ensuring structural systems are up to the test.

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Bob Hill, PE
October 17, 2013

Not Your Average Product Torture Device: Home Innovation's Large-Scale UTM

Think all Universal Test Machines are the same? Think again. Find out more about our large-scale Southwerk-Emery UTM, one of the workhorse pieces of equipment in our product testing lab.

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Bob Hill, PE
September 5, 2013

Putting Cabinets Through Their Paces

Ever sneak a peak at what's inside your neighbor's cabinet? Not to be creepy, just to see if they were KCMA Certified. Let us quell your curiosity by telling you a little more about the third-party product testing we provide to give KCMA confidence in the products that bear their mark.

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Bob Hill, PE
July 25, 2013

Look for the Home Innovation Label

As new and improved building products come onto the market, how do you know what's going to stand the test of time? It's easy — just look for the Home Innovation Lab Certified mark.

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Author Bio
Bob Hill, director of laboratory & certification services
Bob Hill, PE
Director of Laboratory & Certification Services

For over a decade, Bob has been responsible for our product, contractor, builder, and green building certification programs as well as various custom testing projects. Bob’s 30-year pedigree in laboratory and manufacturing services was developed working with companies such as 3M, Owens Corning, General Electric, and Black & Decker.