Green Building Curmudgeon

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.

How Green Is My Pink?

Posted on December 17, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently attended an event at the Owens Corning (OC) insulation plant in Fairburn, Ga., about 45 minutes from my house. Being of the geeky sort, I always appreciate the opportunity to see big machines, so the factory tour piqued my interest, although, unfortunately, I was not allowed to take any pictures of the process. As is usual with most industry events, there was some good, some bad, and a little ugly, but overall I considered it a reasonably good use of my time. And as a bonus, I actually learned a few new things while there.

How Smart Is My Smart Power Strip?

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I’ve been hearing about “smart” power strips for a while, and while I am pretty good about turning off the various electronics in my house on regular old manual power strips, I decided it was time to evaluate one of these advanced devices for myself. I purchased a TrickleStar unit for about $30 and set out to hook it up in my office to see how it worked.

Greenbuild Expo 2010 Recap

Posted on November 24, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Another Greenbuild Expo is in the books, and based on the Twitter traffic (hashtag #greenbuild), people can’t stop talking about it, so I suppose it’s my turn to chime in. According to the USGBC, attendance was up slightly from last year. The show floor was huge, as always, although the arrangement did not feel crowded or even that big to traverse.

LEED-H and Retrofit Guidelines Released for Public Comment

Posted on November 10, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

With some interesting timing, the first drafts of the new LEED for Homes rating system and the DOE’s Residential Retrofit Guidelines were both released for review and public comment in the same week.

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