The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

The California Model

Posted on May 25, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Here in the U.S., it’s hard to generalize about residential new construction standards. In parts of Massachusetts and California, many residential builders pay close attention to air sealing details, and the use of blower doors is common. Meanwhile, in Kansas and Wyoming, few builders pay much attention to air sealing.

These disparities are due to a variety of factors. But the most important explanation concerns differences in regulations. Massachusetts and California have stricter building codes, and do a better job of enforcing those codes, than Kansas and Wyoming.

Phenolic Foam Insulation Revisited

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Peter Yost in Building Science

A particularly well thought-out and thorough question from longtime GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader Aaron Birkland on the pH of phenolic foam and its possible corrosive nature prompted me to follow up my original blog on Kingspan’s Kooltherm rigid insulation.

Aaron has two main questions:

How to Read Manual J Reports

Posted on May 23, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

When you enter the world of building science — whether through building a house, becoming a home energy rater/building analyst, or just hanging out in cyberplaces like this — everyone talks about the importance of getting actual heating and cooling load calculations based on ACCA Manual J. A great number of HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. contractors sell and install oversized equipment with air distribution systems that don't work because these contractors base their choices on rules of thumb.

Are Public Objections to Wind Farms Overblown?

Posted on May 22, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JEREMY FIRESTONE, BEN HOEN, and JOSEPH RAND

While most surveys suggest that the public generally supports wind and solar power, opposition from local communities and residents sometimes blocks or delays specific new projects.

Flatrock Passive: Laying Out the Mechanical System

Posted on May 21, 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.

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.

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