Guest Blogs

How Texas Is Building Back Better From Hurricane Harvey

Posted on May 3, 2018 by Nicole Errett

For most Americans, the one-two punch of last fall’s hurricanes is ancient history. But hard-hit communities in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean are still rebuilding.

Using Energy Modeling to Get to Zero

Posted on May 2, 2018 by Bruce Sullivan

A computerized energy model is an essential element of building design for high-performance homes, because it allows the designer to predict the energy performance of a building based on specific site characteristics, structural assemblies, mechanical efficiencies, and renewable technologies. By adjusting these elements of building performance, the designer can choose the most cost-effective combination of features. While models are just predictions — and therefore will never be completely accurate — skillful use of a modeling tool should lead to more affordable, energy-efficient buildings.

Flatrock Passive: Framing and Insulating an Interior Service Wall

Posted on May 1, 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 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.

What Will We Do With All Those Solar Panels When Their Useful Life Is Over?

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Nate Berg

This post originally appeared at Ensia.

The Surprising Way Fumes From Farms Are Harming Our Health

Posted on April 19, 2018 by Lindsey Konkel

This post originally appeared at Ensia.

A Follow-up From Northern Minnesota

Posted on April 18, 2018 by Elden Lindamood

Editor's note: Architect Elden Lindamood wrote about the construction of his house in northern Minnesota in a series of blogs at in 2016. The first of them was called A Low-Energy House for Northern Minnesota. Here's his report on the first year of occupancy.

Set-Top Box Energy Use to Shrink Another 20%

Posted on April 17, 2018 by Noah Horowitz

The amount of energy consumed by the set-top boxes used to access pay TV in our homes is due to go down another 20% due to new commitments made by leading service providers such as Comcast, AT&T, and Dish Network.

Saving Sustainably: An Introduction

Posted on April 12, 2018 by Matt Bath

Editor's note: This is the first 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.

Urban Heat: Can White Roofs Help Cool World’s Warming Cities?

Posted on April 10, 2018 by Fred Pearce

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360.

What Makes a City Green?

Posted on April 9, 2018 by Anonymous


There are many indexes that aim to rank how green cities are. But what does it actually mean for a city to be green or sustainable?

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