Green Building Curmudgeon

LEED for Homes Online Scoring Tool Needs a Lot More Work

Posted on March 7, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

The USGBC just released its online scoring tool for LEED for Homes, a much-anticipated advance in the program. After months of announcements and requests for people to sign up, the tool was finally available to the public on February 28th. I took some time to run through it, and I can report there are things to like about it, but it needs a lot more work to be truly useful.

Green Building Programs: Time for a Do-Over?

Posted on February 24, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I’ve been involved with green building certification programs for about 10 years now, starting with my work with Southface and the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association in developing the EarthCraft Renovation program.

My Forays Into Multifamily Affordable Housing

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

After a decades-long career in high-end, single-family renovation and construction, and a relatively new business providing consulting and certification services for the same market, I recently became involved in several multifamily projects. Starting with National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification on a market-rate apartment building that was completed in 2010, I am now in the early stages of LEED certification for several affordable projects throughout the southeast.

New Urbanist Andres Duany Lashes Out at LEED

Posted on February 14, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

As quoted in an online article, Andres Duany, one of the founders and leaders of the New Urbanist movement, both predicts a decline in 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. certifications and argues against excessive regulation of development. Now, those who follow my posts know I am not the biggest fan of LEED. While it's well intentioned, I think LEED, like most green building programs, is flawed and long overdue for some major revisions.

Things I Learned in the Great White North

Posted on February 5, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Although I grew up in New York and attended college in New England, I have lived in the South for more than 30 years and have become physically acclimated to warmer weather and more accustomed to local building practices. My moderate-climate building experience is what leads me to speak up frequently about the fact that much of the information on GBA, as well as in the building science community as a whole, tends to be cold climate focused.

The Insulation Empire Strikes Back

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

I was amused, and maybe a little surprised, to find a snail mail, printed letter from NAIMA, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, in my mailbox recently. This letter, signed by the executive vice president and general counsel, was in response to my earlier post regarding batt insulation. Here is the text of the letter. Please forgive any errors, as it was scanned and run through an OCR program.

REGULAR MAIL

NAHB Annual Conference Wraps Up 2011 Event in Orlando

Posted on January 18, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

It seems to me that most trade conferences have settled into a consistent rhythm—pre-conference classes and committee meetings, a trade show that lasts several days with a show floor and short seminars that attendees move between, and one or two big speeches that resemble tent revivals. I recently attended the International Builders Show, AKA IBS (which Leah Thayer pointed out also stands for irritable bowel syndrome), in Orlando, Florida.

In Mali, Mud Hut Upgrades Are Nixed by World Heritage Label

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I’ve never been there, but according to a recent article in the New York Times (sorry if I am relying on this paper too much for inspiration), the city of Djenne, Mali, is a veritable museum of historic mud brick buildings. Among them is the Grand Mosque, the largest mud brick, or adobe, building in the world, originally built in the 13th century and replaced with the current building in 1907.

NY Times Section, ‘A Sustainable Life,’ Leaves Out Buildings?!

Posted on January 5, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

The first New York Times Week in Review section of 2011 was all about sustainability. There was an article on love, two on food, one about high-tech gadgets, and one about budgets. That’s all well and good, but what about those buildings where we spend about 90% of our time? Maybe green building has become so overexposed in the media that the editors decided to give it a break.

U.S. Military Leads the Way on Sustainability

Posted on December 21, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In a recent New York Times article, Thomas Friedman brought up the U.S. military’s current push to become energy independent as a national security measure. According to Friedman, the “Navy and Marines are building a strategy for 'out-greening' Al Quaeda…and the world’s petro-dictators.” This strategy apparently evolved out of a study showing that one person dies for every 24 of the hundreds of fuel convoys run through Afghanistan.

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