Green Building Curmudgeon

A New Green Building Ordinance in Decatur, Georgia

Posted on December 1, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

The city I live in, Decatur, Georgia — a great, if possibly overly gentrified, place to live — recently passed a unified development ordinance (UDO) requiring green building certification for all new buildings and most renovations — both residential and commercial.

A First Look at the Official WELL Building Standard

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

When I first heard about the WELL building standard, in a New York Times article, I was both amused and offended, and trashed it appropriately in a blog.

It’s Alive! – Visiting a Certified Living Building

Posted on October 30, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

On vacation in Hawaii recently (yes, life is really tough for us consultants), I had the opportunity to visit the Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Energy Lab, the first classroom and the third building certified under the Living Building Challenge Program.

Seeking the Elusive Grade 1 Batt Installation

Posted on September 4, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Having spent much of my time writing for GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com whining and complaining about the state of the insulation industry, it is now time for me to eat a little crow. The insulation work at one of our multifamily certification projects has, amazingly, met – and even possibly exceeded – my expectations for quality.

Multifamily Green Building Certification Still Has Issues

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Much of my work these days involves certification of multifamily buildings, and, thanks to a boom in apartment construction, my partner and myself are staying occupied.

The one major contrast from single-family residential work, with which I am most familiar from my days as a contractor, is the long lead time. I still find it amusing that I sign a contract, have an initial start-up meeting with the developer and contractor, and often don’t see the project for another year or more, when the builder is ready for our insulation and air-sealing inspections.

What Fruit Flies Taught Me About Sustainable Living

Posted on June 3, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Last summer my house developed a fruit fly infestation, due to the fact that I had a lot of fresh fruit sitting around ripening on my counters. I recall once using aerosol bombs to get rid of them, but I figured this time around I would look for a slightly less toxic solution.

A quick web search turned up details for a standard fruit fly trap, consisting of a jar with a little cider vinegar and dish soap, covered with clear plastic with a few holes in it. The flies are attracted to the vinegar, fly in, get coated with dish soap, and drown in the cider.

Can’t Anyone Get Things Right?

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In my business of certifying buildings, most of my work involves working with architects, contractors, and trade contractors who are trying to create green buildings. Unfortunately, they frequently miss the mark in some key areas.

Many of them are well intended but don’t have a broad enough view of their projects. Others only do the minimum required to meet a green building standard forced on them by someone else. And a few, thankfully, seem to get it and work hard to do the right things.

This post, the first in a series about problems I run across, will focus on HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building..

Settling In to My Renovated Cottage

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I’ve been living in my renovated house for about two months now, and, with the exception of my hot water issue and ice on my windows, everything is working pretty well.

Been Having Those Hot Water Blues

Posted on February 4, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

As part of my renovation project, I needed to move the water heater out of its location in a below-grade recess in my crawl space that I was filling in to eliminate the need for a sump pump to get rid of water that collected. When considering the best type of new water heater, I considered both heat-pump water heaters and tankless heaters.

Dealing With Cold Weather in Climate Zone 3

Posted on January 20, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

We had some serious cold weather down here in Georgia recently, and although it didn’t come close to Martin Holladay’s recent experiences in Vermont, the low temperatures were a bit of a shock and caused a lot of problems.

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