Green Building Blog

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 2

Posted on December 22, 2011 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor

Welcome back to the rant! (This is an extended, multi-month rant, in case you were wondering.)

Last month I introduced the “Change Toolkit,” a hierarchy of interventions with Mindset at the top (most effective type of intervention), followed by Processes, then Tools; Technologies (the perennial favorite) resides at the bottom – i.e., it is the least effective change lever in our toolkit for creating higher-performing homes.

Blog Review: Equinox House

Posted on December 8, 2011 by Scott Gibson

You might call Ty Newell the reluctant engineer. At the University of Michigan in the early 1970s, he would rather have studied natural resources or liberal arts, but those programs were full. So he went into engineering, figuring he’d switch to one of his first choices in a semester or so.

Except that it never happened. His grade point average wasn’t high enough to get him into natural resources, and the prospect of being drafted for duty in Vietnam kept him from dropping out of school. So engineering it was going to be.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 1

Posted on November 24, 2011 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor

I come from a family of non-conformists. My dad was the product of a line of labor shit-disturbers of the first order; my mom came from milder stock but was herself a civic activist of unparalleled backbone. I spent my childhood marching for racial equality, farm worker rights, and peace in Vietnam. So perhaps it’s inevitable that I have come to view myself as a green building revolutionary.

PODCAST: How to Insulate an Unvented Roof

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Daniel Morrison

Attics are a great place to reclaim living space without the expense of an addition. If you have the headroom, you can gain at least one extra room by finishing your attic.

But with energy codes requiring more and more insulation, it can be difficult to pack all of that R-value into the skinny little rafters that are common in older houses.

Blog Review: GreenBridge

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Juli MacDonald is an architect and accredited LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. professional who worked in Chicago for 20 years before relocating to the East Coast and eventually opening her own firm in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 2007.

Later that year she started writing the GreenBridge blog. It’s named after her firm, which concentrates on residential additions and remodels.

Blog Review: Green Building in Denver

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Kevin Dickson was an early convert to solar energy. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1977, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and solar technology from Colorado State University in 1979. In the early 1980s, he was involved in hundreds of solar thermal systems and received several design patents.

A Bucket List for Contractors’ Kids

Posted on October 20, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP

Here's a list of favorite things that every contractor’s kids should experience before they turn 18! Enjoy the list — and feel free so suggest additions.

1. Visit the dump. Nothing will better impress your kids about the consequences of our actions than seeing and smelling the detritus our society generates and then buries!

2. See spray foam being sprayed. This is about as cool as it gets. Put on the body suit and respirator and get ready to see some smiles. Psshhhhhhht and watch it expand. Then have fun poking it full of holes!

Blog Review: MinnePHit House

Posted on October 6, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Paul and Desirée have three young daughters, two dogs, a flock of chickens and a 1935 house in Minneapolis that needs a ton of work.

Although the house was extensively updated in the 1990s, the 1400-sq.-ft. structure still has a host of problems: an under-insulated attic, single-pane windows, thin exterior walls, an awkward layout, aging interior finishes, and an air handler located in the unconditioned attic.

Utilities Offer Programs That Can Benefit Your Customers

Posted on October 4, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP

In Texas, as in many other states, local electric utilities offer homeowners a variety of free services to help lower energy bills.

Twenty-Three Reasons Why I Love

Posted on September 22, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor

When I want to get an inside look at the amazing innovation happening around the world in service of a more sustainable future, I look to Flavio Souza in Tokyo. Souza curates a glorious collection of innovation news and images at his website,

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