The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Adopting a Green Lifestyle

Posted on September 23, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

I’ve always struggled with the word “green.” I’m not quite sure what “green building” means, but most definitions include the idea of environmental responsibility.

To get a better handle on environmental responsibility, it might be useful to create a list of green values or aims. Here’s my stab at creating such a list.

Green values include:

  • Avoiding actions that injure biodiversity.
  • Avoiding actions that destroy important habitat, especially habit for threatened species.
  • Avoiding actions that increase the likelihood of species extinction.

Is ‘Range Anxiety’ Really Justified?

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JESSIKA TRANCIK

Electrifying transportation is one of the most promising ways to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, but so-called range anxiety — concern about being stranded with an uncharged car battery — remains a barrier to electric vehicle adoption. Is range anxiety justified given current cars and charging infrastructure?

It’s a question my research group and I addressed in a paper published in Nature Energy, by taking a close look at this problem with a new model.

How Dirty Is Your Electricity?

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Lately I've been working on my presentation for the 10th anniversary of the North American Passive House Conference. It's on the global warming impact of insulation, a followup to my latest article about Alex Wilson's work on that subject.

Flood, Rebuild, Repeat: The Need for Flood Insurance Reform

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By LUCAS EASTMAN

Can you imagine living in a property that has flooded 10 times? How about 20 times? It’s hard to fathom enduring that kind of situation, yet owners of 2,109 properties across the United States experience just that. Not only has each of these properties flooded more than 10 times, but the National Flood Insurance Program has paid to rebuild them after each flood. One home in Batchelor, Louisiana, flooded 40 times and received a total of $428,379 in flood insurance payments.

Wolfe Island Passive House — An Introduction

Posted on September 19, 2016 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. This post was originally published on July 2015; it is the first in a blog series that GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com will publish about the project.

Indoor Microbes and Human Health

Posted on September 16, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The word “health” is usually reserved for living things. Our children can be healthy or unhealthy, and so can our pets and the apple trees in the back yard. But what’s a “healthy house”?

Most people use the phrase “healthy house” to describe a house that either promotes the health of the occupants or, at a minimum, doesn’t make the occupants sick. Of course, everybody wants a healthy house: Who wants to live in a house that makes you sick?

Blue Heron Ecohaus: Adding it All Up, Part 3

Posted on September 15, 2016 by Kent Earle in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. The blog below, originally published in April, is the last in GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's series documenting the project, but there is still lots to read at their website. A complete list of Kent Earle's GBA blogs can be found below.

New Furnaces Will Be More Efficient

Posted on September 14, 2016 by Elizabeth Noll in Guest Blogs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) has released a revised and long-awaited proposed minimum efficiency standard for residential natural gas furnaces, which are found in about 40% of U.S. homes, making them the most prevalent heating equipment in America.

Another Solar Myth Bites the Dust

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Larry Weingarten in Guest Blogs

Zak Vetter contributed to this article, which originally appeared in Home Energy magazine. It is reprinted by permission.

Fixing a Glitch in a Double-Stud Wall

Posted on September 12, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Adam Peterson is building a house with double-stud exterior walls, and he's run into a problem.

"Blame it on lack of clarity on my part," Peterson writes in a post at GBA's Q&A forum, "but when my framer built my double-stud walls he didn't oversize the window rough openings to account for 1/2-inch plywood sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. connecting the inner to the outer walls. He figured that this gap could be covered solely with drywall."

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