The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Flatrock Passive: Installing Windows and Doors

Posted on November 28, 2017 by David Goodyear in Guest Blogs

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.

There’s Mold in My Attic

Posted on November 27, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

A three-season cabin built in the 1940s became a year-round dwelling two years ago, but owner Marty Pfeif has discovered an alarming problem: a bumper crop of mold in the attic.

In a post at the Q&A forum, Pfeif ticks off the particulars, including no apparent attempts at air-sealing, "shake and rake" R-19 insulation on the attic floor and some batting against the walls, no vapor barrier, and a ridge vent but no gable vents.

What’s the Definition of ‘Green Building’?

Posted on November 24, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Recently I spent some time accumulating definitions of “green building” from as many sources as possible. These various definitions included ten different characteristics of green buildings.

Of course, not all definitions agree, and none of the definitions include all ten of the characteristics that I identified in the various definitions.

The three most common characteristics appeared in most of the definitions. According to most sources, a green building:

  • (1) Is energy-efficient.
  • (2) Is water-conserving.

These Southern Cities Are Going 100 Percent Clean (Energy)

Posted on November 22, 2017 by Robynne Boyd in Guest Blogs

If the South were its own nation, it would be the seventh-largest carbon emitter in the world, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC). The region has more than 200 coal-fired power plants, and renewable energy policies in southern states are few and far between.

California Needs to Rethink Urban Fire Risk

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By MAX MORITZ

We recently witnessed the wind-driven Tubbs fire blast its way through densely urbanized neighborhoods in northern California, causing dozens of fatalities and thousands of home losses. This tragic event easily ranks as the most catastrophic fire in modern California history. Stories of how fast the fire spread and how little time people had to evacuate are stunning.

Is Your Drinking Water Safe?

Posted on November 20, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By SUSAN BOSER and DIANE OLESON

Revisiting Ventilation

Posted on November 17, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

My comprehensive article on residential ventilation systems, “Designing a Good Ventilation System,” was published back in 2009. A few things have changed in the last eight years, so it’s time to revisit the topic.

Urban Rustic: Ventilation Baffles

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

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. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

The Four Laws of Thermodynamics

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Building science is an odd subject. Few colleges and universities teach it. The majority of those who work on buildings call themselves engineers, architects, and contractors, not building scientists. And many of those who do invoke the term can explain at least one implication of the second law of thermodynamics (we'll get to that below) but may not know what the other laws of thermodynamics are, why their numbering is so peculiar, or even how many there are. Do you?

How the Suniva Trade Dispute is Reshaping the Solar Industry

Posted on November 14, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By MAGGIE PARKHURST and JOEL BINSTOCK

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