Guest Blogs

Water Heaters Get an Efficiency Makeover

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Marianne DiMascio

From the rustic 1850s pump shower to the 1920s Humphrey automatic to today’s modern units, water heaters have made great strides in performance and efficiency. On April 16, water heaters will take the next great stride when manufacturers must comply with new Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) efficiency standards.

The most common water heaters manufactured on and after this date will get a modest boost in efficiency, while units over 55 gallons will shift to next-generation technology, cutting utility bills by one-fourth to one-half depending on the technology.

Coming in From the Cold

Posted on March 24, 2015 by Phil Kaplan

In the Northeast, there is a proud history of the craftsman, the homebuilder, the DIY hero and heroine. They work with sturdy tools, with local materials, with real wood. They brave the mean winters, cut each stick with caution, are frugal with lumber. They measure twice, and cut once. They have done this the same way over many years and the product is consistent, steady, exactly the same as it would have been, had it been built in 1953.

There’s only one problem. We live in a very different world than we did in 1953.

Why Tiny Houses Make Sense

Posted on March 23, 2015 by Gabriella Morrison

With past housing booms and crashes and the potential, if not probability, for history to repeat itself, many of us in the tiny house world understand these risks and the need to protect ourselves from future housing crises by living tiny.

We were recently directed by Ryan Mitchell from The Tiny Life website to an informative article which covers housing trends, the economy, and where things are headed. The author, Richard Florida, points out that another perfect storm for a real estate crash is brewing (much like the 2008 crash).

Six Myths of Sustainable Design

Posted on March 19, 2015 by Lance Hosey

A couple of weeks ago, the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce published an opinion piece titled, "Why green building has hit the wall, and what to do about it." The author, long-time green building advocate Jerry Yudelson, laments the relatively low rate of green building certification and asks, "Why hasn't the current system had more marketplace success?"

A Second Look at a Surprising Study on Energy

Posted on March 17, 2015 by Steven Nadel

Steven Nadel is the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog. GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com posted a news story about the original study in January.

New LED Lights on the Scene

Posted on March 12, 2015 by Greg Labbe

In 1999, I went through the back service doors of Wolf Electric, a local supplier, and fumbled my way along the poorly lit, uneven floors to drop $37 and tax for one light bulb: a compact fluorescent light (CFLCompact fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent lightbulb in which the tube is folded or twisted into a spiral to concentrate the light output. CFLs are typically three to four times as efficient as incandescent lightbulbs, and last eight to ten times as long. CFLs combine the efficiency of fluorescent light with the convenience of an Edison or screw-in base, and new types have been developed that better mimic the light quality of incandescents. Not all CFLs can be dimmed, and frequent on-off cycling can shorten their life. Concerns have been raised over the mercury content of CFLs, and though they have been deemed safe, proper recycling and disposal is encouraged. ) made by Philips.

The Counterintuitive Cladding

Posted on March 10, 2015 by Fernando Pages Ruiz

Justly or unjustly, we in the green building movement are often viewed as self-righteous. Most often we are on the forefront of the truth, introducing new building methods and specifying materials that not only protect the environment, but improve building quality. Other times we get it wrong. For example, in pursuit of energy efficiency we wrapped interior walls in plastic 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 prevent air infiltration. This unwittingly trapped moisture in the walls, promoting mold and causing "sick building syndrome." But we learned, and we fixed it.

LED Filament Bulbs

Posted on March 9, 2015 by Aaron Birkland

When it comes to providing a drop-in replacement for old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, there are a number of technical and aesthetic challenges that are difficult to address with LEDLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed.-based technologies.

Rethinking the Grid

Posted on March 3, 2015 by Karl Rábago

Karl R. Rábago is the executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at the Pace University School of Law in White Plains, New York. This blog was originally posted at the website of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Building Energy conference and is republished here with permission. Rábago is a keynote speaker for the opening of the conference in Boston on March 4, 2015.

Unfolding Community Resilience

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Robert Leaver

This blog was originally posted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association as part of this year's BuildingEnergy conference in Boston. Robert Leaver has over 38 years of experience as a convener and facilitator. He will speak at sessions on March 4 and again on March 5.

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