Guest Blogs

Framed Walls and Air Barrier Membranes for a Pretty Good House

Posted on July 7, 2015 by stephen sheehy

This is Part 4 of a blog series describing the construction of Stephen Sheehy’s house in Maine. The first installment was titled Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House.

What LEED Credit Is Almost Never Achieved?

Posted on July 2, 2015 by Stuart Kaplow

One of the key features of the 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. rating systems is that, after satisfying minimum program requirements and prerequisites, project teams may select from the available compilation of LEED credits. Providing those options is key, not only because there is no one homogenous building type, but also because owners may have certain specific sustainable features they wish to pursue.

But surprising to some, there is one LEED credit that stands out, by far, as the least earned.

Could Pool Pumps ‘Store’ Renewable Energy Better than Giant Batteries?

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Sean Meyn

As more wind and solar energy comes online, the people who run the power grid have a problem: how do they compensate for the variable nature of the sun and wind?

California plans to spend billions of dollars for batteries to even out the flow of power from solar and wind, much the way shock absorbers smooth out bumps on the road. But do they need to? Not at all!

In my research, I’ve found that we can accommodate a grid powered 50 percent by renewable energy without the use of batteries.

At a Pretty Good House in Maine, Siding and Septic

Posted on June 29, 2015 by stephen sheehy

This is Part 3 of a blog series describing the construction of Stephen Sheehy’s house in Maine. The first installment was titled Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House.

Surge in Renewables Remakes California’s Energy Landscape

Posted on June 25, 2015 by Cheryl Katz

This article was originally published at Yale Environment 360. It is reprinted here with permission.

Site Work Begins for a Pretty Good House in Maine

Posted on June 23, 2015 by stephen sheehy

This is Part 2 of a blog series describing the construction of Stephen Sheehy’s house in Maine. The first installment was titled Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House.

Goldman Sachs Is Our Best Bet Against Climate Change

Posted on June 18, 2015 by Bryan Birsic

Although it may not be the obvious hero, Goldman Sachs — usually more Vampire Squid than White Knight — and its cohorts could be responsible for transitioning the renewables sector from a fragmented and esoteric industry to one of mainstream dominance. Goldman Sachs has facilitated the development of world-encompassing industries before and they will do it again.

Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House

Posted on June 15, 2015 by stephen sheehy

After adding a big addition to our already too big house in 2006 (what were we thinking?), we have decided to downsize and build a new, much smaller, highly efficient single-floor house for the two of us.

We live on 43 acres in rural Maine, in a town called Alna about an hour northeast of Portland. We love the land and love our house as well. But at almost 4,000 square feet for the two of us, keeping our house cleaned and maintained and heated and so on has become a bigger burden that we need at this point in our lives.

The Sun Also Rises in the Southeast

Posted on June 9, 2015 by Luis Martinez

Anyone who's ever sat out on a Georgia afternoon or wandered outdoors in the bright Florida sunshine knows that the solar power potential in these two Southeastern states is enormous. Now, after a slow start, so is the headway that the clean power technology is making in the Southeast's two most populous states. "In 2011, if you told me we'd be where we are today with solar," says one Georgia solar advocate, "I would have laughed."

Canned Lighting Conundrum

Posted on June 4, 2015 by Stu Turner

In the fall of 2014, I was approaching the rough electrical stage of construction on a (hopefully) net-zero-energy “pretty good house” in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles. My goal for lighting was to specify fixtures to create attractive, properly lit spaces, with minimal impact to my air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both..

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