The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Urban Rustic: Details for an Insulated Foundation

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Keeping Cool in Detroit

Posted on June 26, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Like many houses built in the 1960s, Nathan Efrusy's 2,000-square-foot colonial in Detroit has baseboard heat but no central air. A single wall-mounted air conditioner keeps the first floor of the house comfortable, but Efrusy would like to extend AC to the second floor — the question is now to do that effectively.

In a Q&A post, Efrusy says he's been given several options for cooling on the second floor, but he's leaning towards a ductless minisplit.

In Praise of Scientists and Scholars

Posted on June 23, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most educated Americans still listen to scientists and believe in established methods of scholarly inquiry. That said, a strange side effect of our country’s recent slide into extreme political polarization has been an increase in the number of Americans who reject the conclusions of scientists and scholars.

Combining Sheathing With a WRB and Air Barrier

Posted on June 22, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Full Disclosure: First, there are a lot of different ways to get continuous air and water control layers on the exterior of a building enclosure. You can use housewrap, taped-and-sealed rigid foam insulation, liquid-applied membrane, or either the Huber Zip or Georgia-Pacific ForceField system. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses.

Companies Should Take Charge of the Potential Toxins in Common Products

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By DANA CORDELL, DENA FAM, and NICK FLORIN

Editor's note: The authors are Australian.

Deep Sea Mining Could Spur Mass Solar Energy

Posted on June 20, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JON MAJOR

Scientists have just discovered massive amounts of a rare metal called tellurium, a key element in cutting-edge solar technology. As a solar expert who specializes in exactly this, I should be delighted. But here’s the catch: the deposit is found at the bottom of the sea, in an undisturbed part of the ocean.

Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency?

Posted on June 19, 2017 by Richard Conniff in Guest Blogs

Not long ago in the southwest of England, a local community set out to replace a 1960s-vintage school with a new building using triple-pane windows and superinsulated walls to achieve the highest possible energy efficiency. The new school proudly opened on the same site as the old one, with the same number of students, and the same head person — and was soon burning more energy in a month than the old building had in a year.

Comfort Problems Related to Radiation

Posted on June 16, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Our homes include insulation to reduce heat flow through floors, walls, and ceilings. Some parts of our homes’ thermal envelopes (for example, insulated ceilings) are well insulated and have a high R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. ; other parts (like windows) have a much lower R-value. But during the winter, as long as we have an adequate heating system that keeps the indoor air temperature at 72°F, we should be comfortable — right?

Not quite. Even when the air temperature is held to a steady 72°F, occupants can be cold during the winter — especially if they are standing or sitting next to a large window.

Done — Well, Almost

Posted on June 15, 2017 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

It has been a busy winter and spring, wrapping up construction. Work on the house and carport were essentially complete in March; however, delays in locating the pervious pavers and an installer for the pervious concrete kept us from completing the site work until mid-April.

We wrapped up landscaping and received our Certificate of Occupancy on April 29th.

Climate Change Is Just a Theory

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

So the United States has announced it's withdrawing from the Paris Accord, the international agreement with nonbinding measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. Now everyone's up in arms, speaking in exasperated tones about the travesty of this decision.

"But... but... the science," they say. Yeah, let's talk about science.

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