Green Building Blog

A New Net-Zero Community

Posted on July 5, 2012 by Scott Gibson

Two southern Maine builders have teamed up with Kaplan Thompson Architects on a subdivision that will include as many as 26 houses built to net-zero standards.

The first of the houses in a Wells, Maine, subdivision called Brackett Estates, is a 1750-sq. ft., three-bedroom model called the Appledore, which was completed in mid-June. The two-story, all-electric house includes double-stud walls insulated to R-40, triple-glazed windows, and a roof insulated to R-60 with dense-pack cellulose. It's on the market for $429,000, or just under $250 a sq. ft.

Among its other energy features:

EnerPHit — The Passive House Approach to Deep Retrofit

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Lenny Antonelli

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

An Opportunity for Users to Rate Window Manufacturers

Posted on April 26, 2012 by GBA Team

By Martin Holladay

Everybody has an opinion on windows, it seems. When specifying windows, builders usually look for good customer service. Most builders want a local rep who answers the phone, provides quick turnarounds on bids, delivers windows on time, and promptly shows up on site when something goes wrong.

Homeowners want windows that look good, operate smoothly, and don't fall apart.

Energy nerds want windows with excellent performance specifications.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 5

Posted on April 2, 2012 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor

In the prior installment in this blog series, I proposed a rationale for the adoption of integrated project delivery (IPD) and promised to follow with suggestions regarding its implementation, along with some resources.

‘All New Construction and Retrofits Must Be Carbon-Neutral’

Posted on March 14, 2012 by Lenny Antonelli

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 4

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor

In days of yore, buildings were designed and built by master builders. These were people who spent their whole lives learning about buildings by creating them – from idea to reality – working side by side with others, many of whom who had more experience than they did. That’s how they eventually achieved mastery. Practice, repetition, and observation of everything to do with the building’s creation.

Regional Variations on the ‘Pretty Good House’

Posted on February 20, 2012 by GBA Team

The building-science-and-beer group that meets every month in Portland, Maine, recently launched a discussion of suggested specifications for a “pretty good house” — a house that seeks to balance construction cost and energy performance without being constrained by the dictates of existing green building programs or rating systems. Michael Maines's blog on that topic has generated dozens of comments, and GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com has received several e-mails from readers with suggestions for regional variations on the “pretty good house” concept.

(At Least) Four Things Are Wrong With This Picture

Posted on February 14, 2012 by Rob Hammon

Last week we published this photo as part of our “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” series. The photo shows a substandard fiberglass insulation job that was representative of an entire residential subdivision that hoped to qualify for Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners.. Examples like this show that quality control by HERSIndex or scoring system for energy efficiency established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that compares a given home to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Reference Home based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A home matching the reference home has a HERS Index of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. A typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; a net zero energy home has a HERS Index of 0. Older versions of the HERS index were based on a scale that was largely just the opposite in structure--a HERS rating of 100 represented a net zero energy home, while the reference home had a score of 80. There are issues that complicate converting old to new or new to old scores, but the basic formula is: New HERS index = (100 - Old HERS score) * 5. raters is a weak link in the Energy Star program.

What’s Wrong With This Insulation Job?

Posted on February 7, 2012 by Rob Hammon

In many areas of the country, homes are receiving Energy Star labels they don’t deserve. Major errors like the ones shown in this photo are supposed to be caught by the HERS rater who performs third-party verification services. This home slipped through the cracks.

The photo shows at least four errors serious enough to have prevented the home from receiving an Energy Star label. Can you spot them?

Next week, we will post the answers that a Building America team, BIRA, came up with.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 3

Posted on January 25, 2012 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor

During the last month we’ve had a very stimulating conversation going about design – and how some important design opportunities for improving energy performance are often overlooked, and why. The dialogue started here and, thanks to fellow GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Advisor Bruce King, continued on Facebook.

Now to continue the fun, we’re going to look at CODE – specifically, the energy code – and its role in high-performance and 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. homes.

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