Green Building Curmudgeon

Curmudgeon Design Meeting

Green From the Start – Home Edition

Posted on June 2, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

A few weeks ago I spent about eight hours with Barley and Pfeiffer Architects in Austin, TX, working up a preliminary design for my new house near Atlanta. While I certainly increased my carbon footprintAmount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a person, community, industry, or other entity contributes to the atmosphere through energy use, transportation, and other means. by flying to Texas for this meeting, having been around the design and construction industry for a while, I decided that I wanted to go with the most experienced architects I could find for my new, green home. Peter Pfeiffer has been a friend of mine pretty much since the day he attended a jobsite tour of a “green” renovation project of mine.

Troy Solar House

A Baffling Demo House

Posted on May 18, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

My friend Justin Jones of Building Performance Solutions sent me a link to this article about a demonstration house in Troy, Michigan, that apparently was designed to show the public how to build a grid-independent project.

Tote Bag

Tote Bags and Energy Efficiency (or Lack Thereof)

Posted on May 15, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

At a local Earth Hour party, the largest electric utility the area, Georgia Power, handed out "eco-friendly" tote bags made of vinyl recycled from its billboards. The company claims, "Each billboard can be used to produce approximately 150 tote bags." Notice it says "can" rather than "is." I would be interested to know how many bags were actually made from that recycled billboard. I mean, how many more tote bags do we need? I feel like I am buried in them, and they just keep appearing. They are the advertising specialty of the hour, having replaced beer cozies and refrigerator magnets.

Certification

Designation Exhaustion

Posted on May 11, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Many industries have designations and certifications available for practitioners, some of which have strong legal implications, such as MD and RN. Many others have been created by professions themselves, and, while requiring varying levels of rigor to attain, these are primarily marketing tools, proper usage of which is enforced by the industry or association.

AIA

How Green Is My Architect?

Posted on May 1, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Made it to San Francisco for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) annual conference yesterday, and while there was not a single bow tie in sight, I did see at least two pairs of Corbu glasses. What was most interesting, although not unexpected, was how green the conference itself has become. Just as the rest of the building industry—and the country, for that matter—has suddenly taken on the green mantle, architects and their affiliated partners have all "gone green."

CFLs

Dispatch from ACI

Posted on April 30, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

A convergence of weatherization and home performance professionals (aka "Roomful of Geeks") met in Kansas City at the end of April for the annual ACI Advancing Home Comfort Conference. This event, formerly known as Affordable Comfort, brings together industry leaders and practitioners to teach, learn, and share ideas about the industry. The educational sessions I attended were generally solid, if somewhat dry and technical, but that is to be expected.

Home Sales

The Verdict Is In: Green Homes Sell Faster

Posted on April 19, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In August 2008, FMLS, the leading real-estate listing service in the metro-Atlanta area, began including green certifications in its database. Sellers can now add to their listing EarthCraft House, LEED for Homes, and Energy Star certifications, as well as the HERS index, and features such as solar power, Energy Star appliances, and spray-foam insulation. The new National Green Building Standard was not available at the time these details were added to the listing service, but it likely will be added during their next revision.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

Easy

Let’s kick the “easy” habit

Posted on April 18, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Practically everyone has seen the Staples advertisements on TV featuring the "easy button." Few people question the idea that things should be easier, but maybe more of us should. "Easy" may appear to be a good thing in the short term, but most things that are easy are actually conspiring to cost us our future in terms of excessive waste, overconsumption of resources, environmental damage from energy generation and vehicle pollution, financial suffering, and declines our health.

Question the value of "easy" in daily life

Roadkill

Green Building Program Roadkill

Posted on April 8, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

First, a little history
The competition is heating up in the world of green-building certification. Things moved slowly and steadily, starting way back when Austin, Texas put together its local program. With a limited amount of green-home certification available in the late 1990s, the NAHB Research Center set up a project to assist local home builders' associations in creating their own green building programs.

Pavers

Helping the Environment, One Drop at a Time

Posted on March 26, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

There is a lot of discussion about pervious paving and its contribution to the environment. Standard paving materials collect pollutants like oil, chemicals, and rubber tire particles from vehicles, pesticides, and dirt, only to have rain wash it off into our waterways, degrading our fresh water supply. Natural landscapes allow rain to percolate down through the soil, taking various pollutants with it, filtering and cleaning them as they flow down, typically arriving clean and clear by the time they reach the water table.

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