Guest Blogs

Every New Home Should be Zero-Energy Ready

Posted on June 19, 2018 by Anonymous

By BEVERLY SMIRNIS

Reprinted with permission from Dallas/Fort Worth Building Savvy Magazine.

Flatrock Passive: Firing Up the Heating System

Posted on June 18, 2018 by David Goodyear

Editor's Note: This is one of a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard. The first installment of the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. For a list of Goodyear's earlier blogs on this site, see the "Related Articles" sidebar below; you'll find his complete blog here.

A Vision of the Future Takes Shape in Paris

Posted on June 14, 2018 by Susannah Shmurak

Every so often an environmentally friendly building gives us a glimpse of the low-carbon future so many climate plans envision. With the development of Clichy-Batignolles, the city of Paris has created a groundbreaking eco-village filled with such buildings. Begun in 2002, the massive redevelopment project is about 30% complete and is slated to be finished in 2020.

Saving Sustainably: Designing and Installing a Septic System

Posted on June 12, 2018 by Matt Bath

Editor's note: This is one in a series of blogs detailing the construction of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. house in Point Roberts, Washington, by an owner/builder with relatively little building experience. You'll find Matt Bath's full blog, Saving Sustainably, here. If you want to follow project costs, you can keep an eye on a budget worksheet here.

California’s Solar Panel Edict

Posted on June 7, 2018 by Garth Heutel

More California rooftops will soon sport solar panels, partly due to a new state mandate requiring them for all new houses and low-rise residential buildings by 2020.

This rule immediately sparked lively debates. Even experts who generally advocate for solar energy expressed skepticism that it was actually a good idea.

Urban Rustic: Installing an Airtight Attic Hatch

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Eric Whetzel

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. A list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Where Water Is Scarce, Communities Turn to Wastewater

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Jacques Leslie

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360.

Frugal Happy: Demolition

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee

Editor's Note: This post is one of a series by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee, a husband-and-wife team living in the Los Angeles area who are turning their suburban house into an all-electric, zero-net energy home. They chronicle their attempts at a low-carbon, low-cost, and joyful lifestyle on their blog Frugal Happy. This post was written by Chris.

Is Bigger Really Better?

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Alexandra Staub

The United States is facing a housing crisis: Affordable housing is inadequate, while luxury homes abound. Homelessness remains a persistent problem in many areas of the country.

Realizing the Net-Zero Opportunity

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Kelly Vaughn

Think of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. (NZE) home, and it’s likely that you imagine a single-family house in a well-to-do neighborhood, with a roof covered in solar panels and an electric car parked in the driveway. This is a pleasant picture, but it highlights two underlying assumptions many of us have: that NZE homes are available only to the wealthy, and that new-build, single-family homes in nonurban settings are best suited for NZE.

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