The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

All About Air Purifiers

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, you may have noticed ads for a type of appliance called a portable air purifier. Purchasers hope that these boxes will suck in dirty air and discharge clean air, but few homeowners know how these appliances operate.

In this article, I’ll try to answer a few basic questions about portable air purifiers:

  • How many kinds of portable air purifiers are on the market?
  • Do they work?
  • Who needs one?

California Gets New Light Bulb Efficiency Standard

Posted on January 18, 2018 by Noah Horowitz in Guest Blogs

One of the least energy-efficient products in modern history, the incandescent light bulb — a type of bulb that dates back to the days of Thomas Edison — is being permanently retired in California as of January 1, 2018, and in 2020 for the rest of the nation. California is demonstrating its environmental leadership once again by being the first state in the nation to move forward with improved energy efficiency standards for the everyday screw-based light bulb.

Rebuilding America and the ‘New Normal’ of Resilience

Posted on January 17, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By RADHIKA LALIT and KELLY VAUGHN

This year’s hurricane season is the most expensive on record, with $202.6 billion in damages according to Bloomberg. These storms across the Atlantic had devastating impacts on people’s lives and homes, on communities, and on infrastructure in the hardest-hit areas.

No, Wind Development Is Not a National Security Threat

Posted on January 16, 2018 by Christian Haig in Guest Blogs

Note: This is fourth and last in a series of blogs highlighting recent progress in onshore and offshore wind energy and examining some of the opportunities, challenges and threats the industry faces. The series was originally published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Flatrock Passive: Wrapping Up the Air Barrier                                             

Posted on January 15, 2018 by David Goodyear in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: This is one of a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard. The first installment of the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. For a list of Goodyear's earlier blogs on this site, see the "Related Articles" sidebar below; you'll find his complete blog here.

Will Thick Cellulose Cause Your Ceiling to Sag?

Posted on January 12, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

It’s fairly common for cold-climate builders to install a very thick layer of cellulose on an attic floor (that is, above the drywall ceiling of the floor below). Many green builders aim for a ceiling rated at R-60, R-70, or even R-100. When it comes installing cellulose, the usual advice is to “pile it on.”

Cellulose rated at R-60 is about 16 or 17 inches deep. Cellulose rated at R-100 is about 27 or 28 inches deep. That’s a lot of cellulose — so much, in fact, that some builders ask, “Is my drywall ceiling going to sag?”

How to Foster Solar Innovation and Save Jobs

Posted on January 11, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By EDWARD BARBIER and TERRY IVERSON

The U.S. solar industry is nervously awaiting President Donald Trump’s decision whether to impose punitive duties on imported solar panels and related equipment or even restrict some of those imports altogether. It could come any day between now and late January.

Ventilating a Home in Cold Weather

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

When I woke up Saturday morning, the temperature outdoors was -40 degrees. The wind chill was -100 degrees! It was just unbelievably, impossibly, inhumanly cold outside. Fortunately, that was on a mountaintop in New Hampshire and not where I was. I happened to have woken up on a mountaintop in North Carolina, where the temperature was a much warmer -3°F.

Wolfe Island Passive: First Year Reflections

Posted on January 9, 2018 by David Murakami Wood in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first certified Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, Wolfe Island Passive House. For a list of earlier posts in this series, see the sidebar below.

A 1950s Cape With Many Needs

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Emerson W has acquired his first free-standing home, a Cape built in Maryland in 1952, and in no time he's compiled a long list of upgrades the house will need — everything from a new heating system to dealing with vented, unconditioned crawl spaces.

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