The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Dealing With Ductwork in an Unconditioned Attic

Posted on June 12, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Ted has more than a few cobwebs in his attic. The unconditioned space also houses his HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. system.

The 1,800-square-foot brick ranch in Climate Zone 4 dates from the 1960s, but the previous owner installed both a furnace and ductwork in the attic just four years ago. Ted also has inherited a powered attic ventilator. Although both the attic floor and the ductwork are insulated, Ted recognizes the situation isn't ideal.

Fixing Energy Star Version 3

Posted on June 9, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The Energy Star HomesA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to promote the construction of new homes that are at least 15% more energy-efficient than homes that minimally comply with the 2004 International Residential Code. Energy Star Home requirements vary by climate. program has been in trouble since 2012, when the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out a new version (Version 3) of the program’s requirements. Many builders found the Version 3 requirements so onerous that they dropped out of the Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. program. The number of new homes that have been certified under the Energy Star program has fallen 36% in recent years — from 130,305 in 2011 to 83,897 in 2015.

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.

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