Green Building Curmudgeon

Cool Tool for Duct Testing

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Some days I like my work, and some days I don’t, but I guess that’s just the way the world is. This love/hate relationship really rears its ugly head when I have to go out and do blower door and Duct BlasterCalibrated air-flow measurement system developed to test the airtightness of forced-air duct systems. All outlets for the duct system, except for the one attached to the duct blaster, are sealed off and the system is either pressurized or depressurized; the work needed by the fan to maintain a given pressure difference provides a measure of duct leakage. testing on homes. It’s not one of my favorite things to do, but if the weather’s nice and the drive’s not to far, it can end up being a good, and reasonably profitable, day.

First LEED Home in Northwest Georgia

Posted on May 9, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently completed the green rater’s pre-drywall inspection on a LEED for homes project about a 1½ hour drive from where I live. It’s a very well done, modest house designed by an architect for his own, rapidly growing family. They are expecting their second child soon and look forward to moving into their new LEED home shortly after the new arrival.

A Green Remodeling Training Project

Posted on April 25, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Looking through the April issue of Remodeling magazine (after reading my own column in the issue), I ran across an article about John Tabor, a remodeler who used an addition to his own home to learn about green building and train his crews on technologies that they had not yet used.

Why Range Hoods Don’t Work

Posted on April 17, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Last month at ACI in Baltimore I attended an interesting session about range hoods. It was chock-full of useful information and very well presented (often a hit-or-miss proposition at many conferences).

I was planning on waiting until the slides were available online, but I’m anxious to share this information. I will update this post when I have a link available.

A Recap of ACI’s 2012 National Conference

Posted on April 9, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

The 2012 ACI National Home Performance Conference was held in Baltimore at the end of March, and was yet again another marathon geekfest. With almost twenty concurrent sessions running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by more sessions lasting until 8 p.m., it is a feat of endurance to attend this almost week-long event.

This year there appeared to be an underground movement (Twitter handle: #ACIafterdark) that threw late-night parties, although I never managed to figure out where they were.

Heat-pump water heaters

A Green Builder’s 21st Century Alphabet

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

One of my favorite things to hear from a design or building professional is that they are “LEED Certified.” This is only slightly less amusing than when they refer to LEEDS certification. In the case of the former, only buildings can be certified (although some people are certifiable); people are accredited, as in LEED AP, or accredited professional.

Evolving Opinions on Green Building

Posted on March 21, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I still remember using spray foam insulation in my early green renovation projects – it was almost magic! It sealed and insulated in one shot. It made it easy to finish attics and avoid most of the problems with fiberglass batts that were the common insulation on our jobs.

How to Choose Insulation

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

[Editor's note:This is an excerpt of the “Insulation and Air Sealing” chapter of Carl's new textbook, Green Building. Carl's publisher, Cenage Learning, has allowed us to make the whole chapter available as a free download.]

It’s 2012 — Do You Know Where Your LEED for Homes Is?

Posted on March 6, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

LEED for Homes 2012, the new version planned for release at the end of this year, is in the third and final comment period before it is voted on and officially adopted. Comments are open only through March 20, so if you work with this program, it behooves you to check it out and make your comments soon.

I spet several hours recently reviewing the current draft and this post will include my opinion on where it is better than the current one and where it could still use some improvement.

What’s the Difference Between the Energy Code and the DEA?

Posted on February 29, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the poor state of energy code enforcement and its effect on building performance. The rules are there, but not enough people are following them. This misbehavior leads to excessive energy use, providing support to the energy and utility industries, and does nothing to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.

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