Green Building Curmudgeon

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, LEED, and the National Green Building Standard. 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?

LEED-H Clarifications Raise More Questions Than They Answer

Posted on August 29, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In a post from last summer on LEED for Homes, I mused on the ineffectiveness and confusion surrounding the required Durability Planning process, the preparation of a project-specific Durability Checklist, and third-party inspection of this work.

Green From the Start Redux, or Trying to Build Green in a Historic District

Posted on August 26, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

In case you haven’t read my earlier posts about my aborted attempt to build myself a house, Green From the Start Home Edition, Green From the Start Home Edition, Volume 2, and the dismal ending to the first half my saga, What We Have Here Is a F

Westford Building Science Symposium Raises Some Interesting Questions

Posted on August 6, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Much of the GBA team was in attendance at the 14th-annual Westford Building Science Symposium last week. More commonly known (and maybe more accurately described) as “Summer Camp,” this invitation-only, three-plus days long assembly of several hundred people involved in building science is a geek's delight, featuring long days of lectures followed by dinner, drinks, and music until the wee hours. How we manage to get up and function each morning is one of the biggest mysteries at camp. If any Twitter fans are interested, look for #bscamp in tweets from this week to learn more.

Lambs’ Wool Insulation Enters US Market

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

I had an interesting meeting recently with a group of gentlemen who plan to distribute lambs’ wool insulation imported from New Zealand. Their company, Lambsulation, is gearing up to distribute throughout the US. They contacted me to get my impressions of their product and how they might effectively market it to the green building community. I know that wool is a good insulator. As a kid at sleep-away camp, I clearly remember having to wear wool sweaters that made my skin itch when camping, so we would stay warm in case we got wet.

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