Green Building Curmudgeon

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.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Green Building

Posted on November 5, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

My recent post about banning fiberglass batt insulation (thanks for all the wonderful comments) was inspired by a couple of pre-drywall inspections on homes I am in the process of certifying under the EarthCraft House program.

SWEET! S.E. Weatherization Energy Efficiency Training Center Opens

Posted on October 27, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Southface Energy Institute recently held a grand-opening ceremony for its new Southeast Weatherization Energy Efficiency Training Center, nicknamed the SWEET Center.

Musings on Lawsuits, Spiritual Energy, and Metal Roofs

Posted on October 16, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

As most people in the green building world have recently learned, Henry Gifford has filed a class action suit against the USGBC and several executives of the organization. His claims include fraud and monopolistic practices. He claims that the USGBC is attempting to monopolize the building industry at the expense of anyone who doesn’t have 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. AP credential. He does have a point that being a LEED AP has no direct correlation to whether or not you know anything about how buildings work or perform.

Should Batt Insulation Be Outlawed?

Posted on October 11, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

A significant amount of my work these days is certifying homes under one or more of the available green building programs in my area, including EarthCraft House, 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. , and the National Green Building StandardNational Green Building Standard Based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and passed through ANSI. This standard can be applied to both new homes, remodeling projects, and additions. . Recently, I have inspected several homes that were insulated with fiberglass batts, and, not surprisingly, the quality of the installation was dismal. What I saw could have been an instruction manual on how not to insulate a house. Batts were cut 2 to 3 inches wider than the stud spacing and crammed into the cavities.

Green From the Start: Small Victory Department

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Well, it finally happened. My new house plans were approved by the local Hysterical Preservation Commission this week. Of course, there were a few hitches. I specified standing-seam metal roofing on the entire house and garage to allow for rainwater harvesting, but the commission and the neighbors pitched a fit about this particular finish selection. It seems that a nearby house recently was approved for, and installed, a corrugated galvanized roof on the front porch, which created quite a stir in the neighborhood, provoking a backlash against anything metal.

Green Bandwagon Rolls on at 2010 Remodeling Show

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I attended the Remodeling Show in Baltimore recently, and although I did not spend as much time perusing the exhibits on the show floor as they deserved, while roaming the floor with my fellow green policeman Michael Anschel, I ran across some cool new products, some blatant examples of greenwashing, and a few things that looked interesting but that I have not yet come to conclusions on. There were some excellent educational sessions, good times with old and new friends, and even an Orioles game thrown in for good measure.

Really green or just greenwashing?

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