Green Building Curmudgeon

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.

On the Path to More Green Building

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

We are in a very conservative, practically radical, political environment in where taxes, regulation, and almost anything that smells of “government” is beaten back as soon as it comes up. As energy codes become more rigorous, we see efforts to beat them back.

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.]

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