Green Building Blog

New GBA Details for ‘Juliet’ Balconies

Posted on April 16, 2013 by GBA Team

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of construction details continues to expand. The latest two additions are details for second-floor balconies.

Many second-floor balconies — especially those created by cantilevering floor joists — leak heat and admit water. To avoid problems with air leakage, thermal bridgingHeat flow that occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss. For example, steel studs in an insulated wall dramatically reduce the overall energy performance of the wall, because of thermal bridging through the steel. , and moisture entry, use one of the following details

Old Hippies Conspire to Save the World

Posted on March 21, 2013 by Kevin Ireton

Last week, I drove to Boston for Building Energy 13, the annual conference and trade show of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEANorth East Sustainable Energy Association. A regional membership organization promoting sustainable energy solutions. NESEA is committed to advancing three core elements: sustainable solutions, proven results and cutting-edge development in the field. States included in this region stretch from Maine to Maryland. www.nesea.org). There were nine full-day workshops, 12 half-day workshops, and 60 hour-and-a-half sessions, with 10 going on at any one time. I can't possibly do justice to the quality of this event, but I can urge you to go next year and to look for more information about this year's conference on the NESEA website in the coming weeks.

A New Encyclopedia Article on Water-Resistive Barriers

Posted on March 18, 2013 by GBA Team

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers water-resistive barriers (WRBs).

A New Encyclopedia Article on Skylights

Posted on February 5, 2013 by GBA Team

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers skylights.

Report from the International Builders’ Show

Posted on January 29, 2013 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor

I recently returned from the International Builders' Show, an annual extravaganza put on by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification.). This year it was held in Las Vegas from from January 22 to 24, 2013.

Most of us attendees didn’t get much time to cruise the show floor, because the educational resources were so rich. NAHB improved the format by adding several different levels of course offerings. They eliminated the last half-day and selected much more carefully for just the best teachers for the premium-priced educational track.

Framing and Air-Sealing Tips for High-Performance Walls

Posted on December 28, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

In three new videos produced by Oregon builder Hammer & Hand, lead carpenter Val Darrah explains how he keeps air sealing in mind as he frames the walls for his current project, the Pumpkin Ridge 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..

Val explains why he prefers to use a router rather than a saw when he cuts out window openings in the OSB 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. . He also shares his method of building window bucks out of 3/4-inch plywood.

A New Encyclopedia Article on Air Barriers

Posted on December 14, 2012 by GBA Team

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers air barriers.

Holladay Recognized by Fellow Blogger

Posted on November 15, 2012 by Patrick McCombe

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Martin Holladay for more than 10 years, so it came as no surprise to me that his passion for sustainable building and his journalistic chops were recently recognized by the website Retro Renovation. The site’s regular blogger, Pam Kueber, told readers that Martin is “pretty much my favorite blogger in the universe.”

New Video Series: Airtight Drywall

Posted on October 23, 2012 by GBA Team

Stopping air leaks is the single most important part of making a house more energy efficient. Every building needs at least one, and sometimes two, air barriers. One of the most common ways to install an interior air barrier is to follow the Airtight Drywall Approach.

Passive House New England’s Fall Symposium

Posted on October 22, 2012 by GBA Team

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. New England is hosting a one-day conference in Boston with presentations on a variety of topics that are likely to interest GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com readers, including "Passive House and Cost Optimization in the South."

Among the speakers scheduled for the upoming event are Adam Cohen, Chris Corson, Jesse Thompson, Marc Rosenbaum, and Martin Holladay.

The symposium will be held at the University of Massachusetts - Boston on Saturday October 27. The cost to attend is $75 (or $35 for students).

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