The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Does Cheaper Solar Mean We Can Forget Efficiency?

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Solar energy has sex appeal. If you want to show the world you're doing something to reduce pollution, you put 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.) panels on your roof to generate clean electricity. Even better, you drive a plug-in hybrid or an all-electric car and charge your car's batteries with your clean solar electricity.

The good news for solar enthusiasts is the cost of installing a solar electric system on your home just keeps falling and falling. Let's take a look at some data and then ask if it’s time to abandon energy efficiency.

Ten Things You Need to Know About the New U.S. Chemicals Law

Posted on October 11, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


“This is a big deal,” said President Barack Obama as he signed into law the bill that updates — for the first time in 40 years — the nation’s main chemical safety legislation. Called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act to honor the late senator for whom this was a special cause, the law revises the Toxic Substances Control Act that gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate chemicals used commercially in the United States.

Questions About HVAC, Insulation, and Ventilation

Posted on October 10, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

C. Clark is preparing to move from a dry region to Lady's Island, South Carolina, an area with a warm, humid climate that is the mirror opposite of the climate in Clark's former home. Clark is highly allergic to mold, and that has him thinking about ventilation, insulation, and his HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. system.

Rural Construction Methods in Tropical Countries

Posted on October 7, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Green building enthusiasts come in two camps. Builders in the first camp follow programs that emphasize energy efficiency; those in the other camp are so-called “natural builders” who emphasize the use of materials like straw, mud, and sticks. (For an analysis of this split, see Low-Road Buildings Are Homeowner-Friendly.)

Wolfe Island Passive: The Envelope

Posted on October 6, 2016 by David Murakami Wood in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first certified 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. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, Wolfe Island Passive House. For a list of earlier posts in this series, see the sidebar below.

Solar and Energy Efficiency Need to Work Together

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Steven Nadel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the ACEEE Blog.

Topping Out

Posted on October 4, 2016 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Once we finished all the foundation and termite protection work describe in my last post, we were ready to start framing. Before we hired the framing trade contractor, I reviewed my requirements with him, including advance framing and close communication, and I looked him in the eye and said I was looking for a quality job and was willing to pay for it — I didn’t want an industry standard, crank-it-out-fast crew.

Creating M-Line Homes

Posted on October 3, 2016 by john abrams in Guest Blogs

In 1980 a woman named Madeline Blakeley asked me to look at a piece of land with her. She was a librarian in her early sixties whose husband had recently died. They had no children and had always lived in rented apartments. Her dream was to own a piece of property.

Zehnder Develops a Ductless ERV

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Anyone who lives in a tight house needs a ventilation system. Unfortunately, most ventilation systems are expensive. If you decide to install a high-quality heat-recovery ventilator (HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. ) or energy-recovery ventilator (ERV(ERV). The part of a balanced ventilation system that captures water vapor and heat from one airstream to condition another. In cold climates, water vapor captured from the outgoing airstream by ERVs can humidify incoming air. In hot-humid climates, ERVs can help maintain (but not reduce) the interior relative humidity as outside air is conditioned by the ERV.) with dedicated ductwork, your ventilation system might cost you between $6,000 and $8,000.

Off-Grid in Canada: An Energy Model of the House

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Craig Anderson in Guest Blogs

This is one of a series of posts by Craig Anderson describing the off-the-grid house he built with his wife France-Pascale Ménard near Low, Québec. Craig writes about the "Seven Hills Project" in a blog called Sunshine Saved. For a list of Craig's previous posts, see the list of "Blogs by Craig Anderson" in the sidebar below.

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