The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Drawing Lessons from Ancient Roots

Posted on August 18, 2015 by Sam Hagerman in Guest Blogs

From the beginning of time, the most common building materials have been the most common materials in the immediate environment. This of course means that early buildings were built of dirt, a material that is plentiful, cheap, and malleable.

Many of the oldest buildings in the world are made of rammed earth (compacted dirt). And this type of building continues to be a common and viable construction methodology in many places of the world.

How to Finish a Third Floor

Posted on August 17, 2015 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Joe Watson lives in a three-story 1993 house in Richmond, Virgina, with a walkup attic, part of which he'd like to turn into living space. The question is how.

Nuggets From the 2015 Westford Symposium

Posted on August 14, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Building science experts, architects, engineers, and builders from across the U.S., Canada, and Europe gathered in early August in Westford, Massachusetts, for the 19th annual Westford Building Science Symposium, a conference sometimes known as “Summer Camp.”

Over three lively days filled with education, networking, and drinking, experts gave ten presentations on a variety of building science topics.

Wind and Solar Are On a Short Leash

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Rob Sargent in Guest Blogs

A finance package extending tax credits for wind power to the end of next year, recently approved by a key U.S. Senate panel, has been hailed as progress for clean energy, and it is. But here at Environment America, we're containing our enthusiasm.

Must the Three Pigs Die?

Posted on August 12, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Building Science Summer Camp was last week. That means I was in Massachusetts with 500 of my closest friends, staying up too late, talking building science out the wazoo, and attending some great presentations from leaders in the world of building science.

Shared Renewables for All

Posted on August 11, 2015 by Samantha Wilt in Guest Blogs

The good news about photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) power in New York State — a 300% rise in installed PV over the last three years, 2014 job growth of 40%, lower energy costs, cleaner air and a more stable climate for everyone — well, that good news just got even better.

New Energy Code Helps Inform Home Buyers

Posted on August 10, 2015 by Kim Tanner in Guest Blogs

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.) evolves to meet current energy efficiency needs. Over the years, new requirements have been added to the IECC to make it stricter and increase overall energy efficiency of buildings.

Some states are resistant to these changes, and some choose not to adopt an IECC at all. In fact, of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, ten either haven’t adopted an IECC or are operating under a code older than the 2006 IECC, according to the Online Code Environment and Advocacy Network.

Exterior Rigid Foam on Double-Stud Walls Is a No-No

Posted on August 7, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Many green builders like double-stud walls. Double-stud walls use affordable and environmentally appropriate materials to achieve a high R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. .

The classic double-stud wall is made up of two parallel 2x4 walls with a space between them. If the framers leave a 5-inch space between the two rows of studs, this type of wall provides room for 12 inches of insulation — for example, dense-packed cellulose, blown-in fiberglass, or mineral wool.

California’s Real Water Crisis

Posted on August 6, 2015 by Glen MacDonald in Guest Blogs

The current drought afflicting California is indeed historic, but not because of the low precipitation totals. In fact, in terms of overall precipitation and spring snowpack, the past three years are not record-breakers, according to weather data for the past century.

Relative Humidity Doesn’t Tell You How Humid the Air Is

Posted on August 5, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

There's a problem with relative humidity. I hear it a lot when I talk to people about moisture problems. A client with high humidity in his home recently told me he didn't understand how it could be more humid inside his home than it was outdoors. The indoor relative humidity (RH) was 60% while it was only 50% outdoors. Do you see the problem?

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