Green Building Curmudgeon

What’s Going On With Home Performance?

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

I’ve been involved, if somewhat peripherally, with the Home Performance industry for quite a while. I was one of the original group working on Home Performance with Energy Star in Atlanta quite a few years ago. As I learned more about this evolving field, I felt that it was both important and necessary, and thought that it had potential to be a profitable business model.

LEED Certification as an Afterthought

Posted on January 24, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I was recently hired to be the Green Rater on a LEED for Homes project that is already under construction. This particular project is a fraternity house and the delay was due to a late decision to pursue LEED certification.

Apparently there was some confusion as to whether it was a commercial or residential building and if it should be considered a single family or multifamily structure. All these issues preceded my involvement – I am now involved and will work diligently to keep the project on track.

Luxury Hybrid Cars and Green McMansions

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

This post was inspired by a car commercial for an Infiniti luxury hybrid sedan that boasts a 32 MPG highway rating, which means that it probably gets closer to about 23 MPG in normal use around town. I once owned an Infiniti - there’s something about nice leather, quality workmanship, and raw power that is quite intoxicating.

Lifecycle Building Center Opens in Atlanta

Posted on December 27, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently attended the grand opening for the Lifecycle Building Center (LBC), a new non-profit organization focused on building material reuse. The result of long hours of labor by many dedicated people, the LBC’s stated mission is to “make the lifecycle use of the built environment more efficient and sustainable.”

Spending a Day With Energy Policy Geeks

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently attended a small, one-day meeting in Atlanta of individuals and organizations involved in energy efficiency throughout the southeast U.S. Hosted by SEEA, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the group responsible for distributing much of the ARRA money for efficiency throughout the region.

Das Haus Tour

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I attended an event in October called the Das Haus tour – a prefab “house” sponsored by the German Consulate General that will be roaming the country for about a year. The first stop was in Atlanta, so although I was one of the first people to see it, I don’t understand the point of the venture.

Energy Code Enforcement is a Mixed Bag

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I’ve never been much of a code geek, but recently I’ve been studying the 2009 and 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.) documents. When I was a contractor, energy code enforcement by building officials was pretty much nonexistent, so I didn’t pay much attention to the specifics, although I’m fairly certain we met or exceeded the minimum requirements in our projects.

Historic Preservation and Green Renovation

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

At a recent round-table meeting on sustainable historic preservation, I was struck by how much alignment there is between preservation and green renovation. Now, green renovation is a wide and diverse field, and some of the deep energy retrofit people probably don’t have the same opinion on sustainable preservation standards as I do, but disagreements just help to keep things interesting and further the conversation.

The Piecemeal Approach to Green Building

Posted on November 8, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Almost every time I am talking with someone about green building, whether a potential or current client, or just a casual conversation, inevitably solar power comes up. This causes me to go into full on curmudgeon mode, pointing out that solar panels are pretty much pointless on homes until you’ve done everything else you can to make it more efficient and healthy. Solar is hot, trendy, hip, something you can touch (and might want to touch, as opposed to insulation), and a marketer’s dream, as are many other building products, all of which are seem to be labeled “green.”

Book Review: Retooling the U.S. Housing Industry

Posted on October 25, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Sam Rashkin, until very recently the head of Energy Star for Homes, recently published Retooling The US Housing industry, a book of his opinions on, and suggestions of how to improve, the new home industry. The book is a fairly quick read with a great history of housing, and a good analysis of how the U.S. home building industry evolved to its current state.

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