Green Building Curmudgeon

Building Care Reform

Posted on September 16, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently read an article in The New York Times — provocatively titled “Why we must ration healthcare” — that makes a reasonably cogent argument for health care reform, including some level of rationing, which is the hot button for both sides in the current discussions.

We Need Green People to Make Green Buildings Work

Posted on August 24, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

A recent New York Times article about the US Department of Energy (DOE) underscores a major problem we have in reducing energy usage. An audit of DOE buildings determined that the agency could save over $11.5 million annually by properly using setback controls on evenings and weekends. Out of 55 buildings surveyed, 35 either did not have or did not properly use setback thermostats.

How Many Green Building Principles Are There?

Posted on August 4, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Lately I have been struggling with identifying the core concepts of green building and remodeling. For years I was comfortable with a list of four items: energy efficiency, durability, indoor environmental quality, and resource efficiency. Then I got an earful from my little unibrowed buddy, Michael Anschel, who pinpoints five core concepts: energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and site and community impact.


Green Fatigue

Posted on July 6, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I feel like I have been pushing the limp rope of green building and remodeling for almost 10 years now, and very recently, someone finally yanked on the other end. Finally, there is enough interest to make a career out of it!


Halfway There

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

With passage in the House of the Waxman Markey Climate Bill, we are about halfway to the "most ambitious energy and climate change legislation ever," according to The New York Times . While watered down in many areas such as renewable energy requirements and free pollution credits for the energy sector, the sections that affect buildings, both new and existing, remain some of the strongest parts of the bill.


Desire, Satisfaction, Food, and Homes

Posted on June 29, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Dr. David Kessler, former head of the FDA, has written a book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, in which he identifies some of the reasons why we crave food that unhealthy and are practically helpless to resist.

In a recent New York Times article

LEED Homes Logo 2

Equal-Opportunity Feather Ruffling

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

It seems as though the National Green Building StandardNational Green Building Standard Based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and passed through ANSI. This standard can be applied to both new homes, remodeling projects, and additions. , and NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification. in general, have been getting a lot of heat here and elsewhere lately, so I think it is time to ruffle the feathers of LEED for HomesLeadership 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. and the USGBCUnited States Green Building Council (USGBC). Organization devoted to promoting and certifying green buildings. USGBC created the LEED rating systems.. In my work providing certification under both programs, I have uncovered many of their deep, dark secrets. Both have very specific requirements and unique gaps that will be addressed in detail in future articles on


On Homes and Cars and Jets and Supermarkets

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

Home building has undergone dramatic changes since the early 20th century. Houses used to be assembled from a relatively small number of different components—wood, brick, plaster, tile, pipe—and not too much else. In fact, many homes didn't have indoor plumbing or wiring through much of the first half of the 20th century. They weren’t very efficient, but they were durable and low maintenance.

Air Sealing

When Will They Ever Learn?

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

Once again, the obstructionists are hard at work. According to a recent article in The Hill, a nonpartisan, nonideological daily paper for and about Congress, climate and energy bills currently clawing their way through Congress are meeting stiff resistance from several industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

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.

Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!

Syndicate content