The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

EPA Looks at Fracking Risks to Water

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Mark Brownstein in Guest Blogs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its long-awaited draft report on impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing on drinking water, completing the most extensive scientific review of published data to date.

Windows and Floors at a Pretty Good House in Maine

Posted on July 13, 2015 by stephen sheehy in Guest Blogs

This is Part 5 of a blog series describing the construction of Stephen Sheehy’s house in Maine. The first installment was titled Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House.

Installing Windows In a Foam-Sheathed Wall

Posted on July 10, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Every now and then, a GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader posts the question, “How do you install windows in a wall with exterior rigid foam?”

The answer to the question is surprisingly complicated. The best method will depend on several factors, including the answers to these questions:

  • Are the windows innies or outies?
  • What type of water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) does the wall have: Zip 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. , housewrap, or rigid foam?
  • How thick is the rigid foam? (For more information on this question, see Calculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam Sheathing.)

Solar Owners Are Givers, Not Takers

Posted on July 9, 2015 by Rob Sargent in Guest Blogs

With the solstice behind us, summer has officially begun. Across the country, that means the sun is shining and the mercury is climbing, and our air conditioners and the electricity grids they rely upon are stretched to their limits.

In response, we've seen utilities urge customers to turn up their thermostats a notch or two to ease their burden. They've recommended the use of fans, energy-efficient bulbs, and double-paned windows — all good measures to reduce energy use.

How to Clean an Air Conditioner Condensate Drain

Posted on July 8, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

An air conditioner does two jobs: It cools down the air and it dehumidifies the air. If you live in a dry climate, you don’t want the AC to dehumidify much because it uses extra energy and makes you spend more on lip balm and hand lotion. If you live in a humid climate, you really want it to do that second job as well as it can to keep your indoor air dry and comfortable. But where does all that condensate go?

GBA Prime Sneak Peek: Is Weatherization Cost-Effective?

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

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Prime subscribers have access to many articles that aren't accessible to non-subscribers, including Martin Holladay's weekly blog series, “Musings of an Energy Nerd.” To whet the appetite of non-subscribers, we offer a “GBA Prime Sneak Peek.” This GBA Prime blog was originally published on July 3, 2015.

Framed Walls and Air Barrier Membranes for a Pretty Good House

Posted on July 7, 2015 by stephen sheehy in Guest Blogs

This is Part 4 of a blog series describing the construction of Stephen Sheehy’s house in Maine. The first installment was titled Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House.

A Canadian Couple Needs Help Choosing a Heating System

Posted on July 6, 2015 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

John Ball faces the usual questions as he decides on a heating system for his new home: What system will deliver the best results at the lowest price? What will keep Ball and his wife comfortable in their Canadian locale in Climate Zone 7?

But there's something else that Ball has to consider: Their new retirement home will be empty during the winter when they're in Florida escaping the snow and the cold. As they get older, and health care becomes more expensive, they expect to be returning to Canada on a year-round basis.

Is Weatherization Cost-Effective?

Posted on July 3, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A recent paper on the cost-effectiveness of weatherization work has received much more attention in the popular press than have similar studies in the past. The researchers concluded that weatherization measures performed at five nonprofit community action agencies in Michigan weren’t cost-effective. Newspaper headline writers have had a field day, trumpeting generalizations that aren’t supported by the limited data collected by researchers.

What LEED Credit Is Almost Never Achieved?

Posted on July 2, 2015 by Stuart Kaplow in Guest Blogs

One of the key features of the LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. rating systems is that, after satisfying minimum program requirements and prerequisites, project teams may select from the available compilation of LEED credits. Providing those options is key, not only because there is no one homogenous building type, but also because owners may have certain specific sustainable features they wish to pursue.

But surprising to some, there is one LEED credit that stands out, by far, as the least earned.

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