Green Building Curmudgeon

What is the Deal with Ventilation Requirements?

Posted on April 9, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Before I even get started, I want to point out that I am no expert on ventilation. I have learned a lot from (and rely on) many experts, including Paul Raymer, Gord Cooke, John Krigger, Joe Lstiburek, Armin Rudd, and Terry Brennan, among others. I depend on them to fuss about the details of how much ventilation a house needs.

It’s Time to Admit I’ve Been Wrong About Many Things

Posted on April 1, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Posted April 1, 2013

With the arrival of spring and new plant growth springing up all around, I’ve begun to reflect on my several years of writing this blog post, and I have come to the conclusion that far too often I have been overly critical and close-minded about many things. In addition, I have championed some theories and causes that contradicted many long-standing traditions in design, construction, and renovation. And it’s time to say I’m sorry.

The 2012 National Green Building Standard is Here...

Posted on March 22, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In the past, I have been critical of the NAHB’s National Green Building Standard (NGBSNational 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. ), just as I have been of most other green building programs. While I don’t expect to lose my critical eye, I do believe I have mellowed a bit and developed new opinions about the certification process and each program's role in the industry.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic Bullet

Posted on March 8, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty hard on batt insulationInsulation, usually of fiberglass or mineral wool and often faced with paper, typically installed between studs in walls and between joists in ceiling cavities. Correct installation is crucial to performance. in the past. I feel that my complaints and concerns are well justified, but no matter which insulation product is chosen, it has to be installed properly or it just doesn’t work.

Many people mistakenly believe (myself once among them) that spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is the perfect product, is always installed right, and tightens up homes every time.

Good Ducts, Bad Ducts

Posted on February 26, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Whether they actually do it or not, I think almost everyone involved in high performance buildings recognizes that the best place to put our ducts is inside conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. . Most builders in my area haven’t made the change, and with the exception of the occasional house with an insulated basement, they still put most air handlers and ducts in the attic.

Batt Insulation is Still Making Me Batty

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently performed the pre-drywall inspection on a small home seeking 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. certification. The local building inspector had visited and approved the batts for covering up.

What’s Happening to All the Green Building Programs?

Posted on December 31, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Green home certification programs are starting to reach a level of maturity. At the national level, 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. has established itself as the national industry leader, at least from a branding standpoint. NAHB’s National Green Building Standard (NGBSNational 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. ) has a growing following but, in my opinion, is still struggling to gain broad industry acceptance.

Another GreenBuild Down

Posted on November 30, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

After missing GreenBuild 2011 in Toronto, I was excited to be back this year in San Francisco, a city I visit so frequently that I consider it my second home. GreenBuild is a big conference, with attendence in the range of 30,000, down slightly from a few years ago, but still very impressive. It was held in the Moscone Center, well located in downtown San Francisco.

Pondering the Sorry State of Green Building

Posted on November 12, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

After several months off from my blog, I am finally inspired to start writing again. I clearly don’t have the stamina of Allison Bailes of Energy Vanguard, who seems to put up a blog post about every 10 minutes, but I do need to get back on track so I don’t fade into obscurity (if I haven’t already).

The Problem With Modern Architecture

Posted on June 19, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Over my now decades-long career in construction and renovation, I have rarely attended any home tours, but I recently went on a tour of modern homes in Atlanta sponsored by a group called, quote appropriately, Modern Atlanta. The tour included ten single-family homes (I saw eight of them) and one commercial building, the new Atlanta offices of Perkins + Will, a 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. Platinum renovation, which I did not visit.

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