Green Building Curmudgeon


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."


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


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


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.


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.


Product Verification – Are We SAVED?

Posted on March 25, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Following up on my comments on green product verification – One More Thing to Worry About– I recently learned about ICC ES-SAVE (Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation), yet another program to verify the sustainability of products.


How Big Should a House Be?

Posted on March 20, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I am in the process of planning to build myself a new house. I currently live in a 700-square-foot cottage built in 1925 that I have determined is ready for replacement. While it functions fine, the basic design does not lend itself to renovation, and, considering the scale and design of other homes in the neighborhood, investing in the structure would not be wise.

LEED Home Logo

Logo Wars

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

I am a provider representative for the LEED for Homes program. Working through an official provider licensed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), I certify homes under this august program. I appreciate all the work that has gone into this very rigorous certification system, and, while I certainly have some issues with it, I try to support and promote it when I can.


Local Food, Local Wood

Posted on March 12, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I picked up my weekly box of locally grown organic food today — not exactly a farm co-op, commonly knows as a CSA, but a small, farm-based business that distributes these fine products to individuals and restaurants in the region. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks, and it is interesting that what's in the box — the contents of which are unknown to me until I open it — dictates my diet now, rather than what looks good to me in the market. Right now cabbage, root vegetables, and lettuce are in season, so I’m eating more of those. I also got some nice strawberries and some peppers.

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