The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Ensuring Fresh Air in Bedrooms

Posted on May 18, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Green builders try to make their homes as tight as possible. To ensure good indoor air quality, green building programs (and many residential building codes) require new homes to have a mechanical ventilation system.

We Calculated How Much Trees Save for Your City

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Theodore A. Endreny in Guest Blogs

Megacities are on the rise. There are currently 47 such areas around the globe, each housing more than 10 million residents.

More than half the global population now lives in urban areas, comprising about 3% of the Earth. The ecological footprint of this growth is vast and there’s far more that can be done to improve life for urban residents around the world.

The Electric Vehicle Boom Is Coming

Posted on May 16, 2018 by Andy Balaskovitz in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared at Ensia.

Saving Sustainably: Foundation Formwork

Posted on May 15, 2018 by Matt Bath in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This is one in a series of blogs detailing the construction of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. house in Point Roberts, Washington, by an owner/builder with relatively little building experience. You'll find Matt Bath's full blog, Saving Sustainably, here. If you want to follow project costs, you can keep an eye on a budget worksheet here.

Heating a Bathroom Floor

Posted on May 14, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

A warm bathroom floor is a something to look forward to on a chilly winter morning, and C.L. is poking around for ideas on the best way of accomplishing that.

One option is installing a grid of electric cables beneath the finish floor in tandem with a polyethylene underlayment manufactured by Schluter Systems called Ditra. These installations are often topped with ceramic tile, which is impervious to water damage and readily transmits heat from the buried cables.

But C.L. has another idea.

Building a Passive House for $163 per Square Foot

Posted on May 11, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A family in Wakefield, Rhode Island, recently moved into a new 1,840-square-foot 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. with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. If you exclude the cost of the lot, the architectural fees, and the cost of getting the house certified by PHIUS, the construction cost was $300,420, or $163 per square foot (if you measure the area of the house on the exterior).

The members of the team that built the house include Brad and Jordan Hevenor, the homeowners; Steve Baczek, the architect; and Stephen DeMetrick, the builder.

A 107-Year-Old Net Positive Victorian Retrofit

Posted on May 10, 2018 by Stewart Herman in Guest Blogs

In 2014, I learned about net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. at the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show. Shortly thereafter, my wife and I purchased our retirement home and interviewed five sets of architects to compose the core of the design team. We settled on Marc Sloot of SALA Architects and Sean Morrissey of Morrissey Builders in St. Paul, both with considerable experience in sustainable design and construction.

Proper Sizing Isn’t the Real Reason for HVAC Design

Posted on May 9, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Many people seem to think HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. design means you get a load calculation (Manual J in the ACCA protocols) so you know what size system to put in. Hey, that's a great start. It's way better than just using a rule of thumb or Manual E (for eyeball).

But there's so much more to real HVAC design than simply finding out how much heating and cooling a building needs when it's at design conditions. And we might as well start with the fact that my first statement is incorrect: The load calculation does not tell you what size system you need.

Market Forces Are Driving a Clean Energy Revolution

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Bill Ritter in Guest Blogs

Transforming U.S. energy systems away from coal and toward clean renewable energy was once a vision touted mainly by environmentalists. Now it is shared by market purists.

Today, renewable energy resources like wind and solar power are so affordable that they’re driving coal production and coal-fired generation out of business. Lower-cost natural gas is helping, too.

Frugal Happy: A Car-Free Experiment

Posted on May 7, 2018 by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: This post is one of a series by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee, a husband-and-wife team living in the Los Angeles area who are turning their suburban house into an all-electric, zero-net energy home. They chronicle their attempts at a low-carbon, low-cost, and joyful lifestyle on their blog Frugal Happy. This post was written by Wen.

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