Green Communities

Are Energy-Efficient Appliances Worth It?

Posted on August 12, 2010 by Peter Yost

When homes turn over, is it green to automatically turn over all of the major appliances as well? The answer is likely to be yes. Unlike many other goods, major appliances in the US over the last 20 years have gone way UP in energy efficiency while going DOWN in price. Research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories shows that between 1980 and 2001, the energy efficiency of refrigerators and freezers improved by about 60% while at the same time real consumer prices dropped by 40%!

Mechanical Ventilation for Affordable Existing Housing

Posted on July 27, 2010 by Peter Yost

Everyone needs fresh air; it’s just hard to figure out how much we need when we are indoors.

Green Up Your Carpet Life-Cycle

Posted on July 12, 2010 by Peter Yost

Some background on carpet
Most carpet has three primary components: the soft tufted face fiber, the primary backing through which the face fiber is punched, and the secondary backing (the visible back side that locks the face fibers in place). Most residential carpet installations also include a separate cushion or pad.

Green Specifications

Posted on June 29, 2010 by Peter Yost

Once you have selected your green building products, it would be great if you could simply tell everyone, “Here—use these.” But it is rarely that simple. Everyone has project documentation that serves three purposes: getting everyone on the same page (literally), delivering information for bidding, and establishing binding trade contracts.

How do selections, scopes of work, and specifications fit together?

Green Technical Assistance Providers Wanted

Posted on June 17, 2010 by Amy Hook

Enterprise Green Communities is seeking qualified consultants to expand its Technical Assistance Providers Network in response to the growing demand for specialized technical assistance designing, developing, and operating green affordable housing developments. Enterprise has released its second national Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to identify the nation’s leading green professionals in the residential building sector. The objective of this RFQ is to expand the delivery of technical assistance to local affordable housing developers.

Green Building Products

Posted on June 7, 2010 by Peter Yost

We have spent quite a bit of time in this blog so far emphasizing how important process is in green building. But sooner or later if you are going to build or renovate, you have to actually select stuff, all kinds of stuff, from structural sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. to floor finishes to mechanical equipment.

I like to think of product selection as a 3-step process.

1 – Settle on green selection criteria

High Performance Scopes of Work

Posted on April 19, 2010 by Peter Yost

What are Scopes of Work?
Scopes of work (SOW) are part of the legal contract between the general contractor or client and the trade contractors, detailing exactly what must be done to complete his or her work and achieve the desired result, an assembly or system that works. A program of SOW connects the work of individual trades so that the work of each produces the desired result: a home that works.

Construction Process Part Two: Contractor Selection

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Peter Yost

I have about a half dozen green contractor attributes to consider, but let’s start with a baseline: NOT green (behind the ears…).

Lead-Based Paint and Green Remodeling

Posted on April 9, 2010 by Peter Yost

The paint problem
Lead improved paint’s performance; it made paint more durable, moisture-resistant, and faster-drying. That sounds pretty green. Unfortunately, lead also makes paint a human health hazard, particularly to kids. Not even close to green. Tiny amounts can permanently damage a child’s growing brain, resulting in IQ loss, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Contrary to the myth, kids don’t typically eat paint chips; they ingest lead dust from ordinary (and frequent) hand-to-mouth contact.

Radon and Airtightness

Posted on April 5, 2010 by Peter Yost

We are always trying to avoid unintended consequences of our best efforts to improve home performance. A good example of this is radonColorless, odorless, short-lived radioactive gas that can seep into homes and result in lung cancer risk. Radon and its decay products emit cancer-causing alpha, beta, and gamma particles. gas and air tightness levels in homes during energy retrofits. How are the two levels related and what can we do about it if they are?

A bit of background on radon

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