The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Selling a House With Solar Panels Is Not for the Faint of Heart

Posted on June 8, 2017 by Stuart Kaplow in Guest Blogs

There are more than a million houses in the U.S. with solar panels installed on the roof and that number is increasing. Failing to address this issue properly when the house is sold can be legally difficult if not dangerous.

Some of the most common inquiries to this law firm arise from a failure to transfer ownership of installed solar panels correctly from one homeowner to the next.

Is Compressed Fiberglass Insulation Really a Problem?

Posted on June 7, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

I've been guilty of perpetuating a myth. Not long ago I wrote an article in which I said installing insulation, "cavities [should be] filled completely with as little compression as possible." But is compression really such a bad thing? Here on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com, commenter Dana Dorsett wrote, "Compression of batts is fine (resulting in a higher R/inch due to the higher density) as long as the cavity is completely filled.”

Silent Saver Under Attack

Posted on June 6, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By LOWELL UNGAR

This post originally appeared on the ACEEE Blog.

Are you happy to have cheap, efficient light bulbs that don’t flicker and hum? How about a large refrigerator that uses less electricity than the old incandescent bulb? A small government office has played a key role in all of these innovations and now helps the average American family save almost $500 each year in lower energy bills.

Does Wasting Home Heating Make You See (Infra)Red?

Posted on June 5, 2017 by Jacob Corvidae in Guest Blogs

Have you ever wanted X-ray vision, or to see the hidden features of your home? The City of Vancouver has launched a new effort to make energy use more visible to its residents, complete with rainbow-colored images of their homes that show details invisible to the naked eye. Using thermal imaging to show heat loss in roughly 15,000 homes in five neighborhoods, Vancouver aims to help residents uncover wasted energy.

How to Design an Off-Grid House

Posted on June 2, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A very small percentage of U.S. homes are off the electricity grid — far fewer, for example, than in Africa. That said, North American designers of off-grid homes often end up posting questions on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com.

To help this subset of builders avoid common design errors, I’ll share what I’ve learned from living in an off-grid house for 42 years.

Space as a Green Metric

Posted on June 1, 2017 by Kristina Eldrenkamp in Guest Blogs

“Green” can be an empty term if it’s not defined in measurable ways. This conviction has informed our efforts to assign performance metrics to projects and to monitor progress towards meeting these over time. Some of the ways we document performance include our energy and water use tracking program and our protocols for protecting occupants against indoor pollutants (from activities like cooking).

An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House

Posted on May 31, 2017 by David Goodyear in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of posts by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province to be 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. You can find Goodyear's complete blog here. This post was originally published in January 2017.

Urban Rustic: The Cedar Siding Is Here — Let’s Burn It

Posted on May 30, 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. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Making the Case for Exterior Foam Insulation

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Writing from Climate Zone 3, Farm House seems to have worked out many of the details for the dream house he plans to start building in a few months.

"Plan to live in it for 30+ years," he writes in a post at the Q&A forum at Green Building Advisor. "The house will have Zip System 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. and will be well insulated on the inside. I will just leave it at that. Not interested in installing rigid foam on the outside of the roof sheathing. (I have my reasons, so please don't try to convince me otherwise.)

Night Sky Radiation

Posted on May 26, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Let’s say you walk into an unheated room. The air temperature is only 50°F. There is a wood stove in the room, but the wood stove is unlit.

Your body is at about 98°F. Since your body is warmer than absolute zero, it is radiating heat in all directions. (All objects that aren’t at absolute zero emit infrared radiation). The wood stove is cool — it’s at 50°F. Still, the wood stove is also radiating heat in all directions.

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