The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Medical Group Warns of Health Threats from White LED Street Lights

Posted on July 14, 2016 by Richard Stevens in Guest Blogs

The American Medical Association (AMA) has just adopted an official policy statement about street lighting: cool it and dim it.

The statement, adopted unanimously at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago on June 14, comes in response to the rise of new LEDLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. street lighting sweeping the country. An AMA committee issued guidelines on how communities can choose LED streetlights to “minimize potential harmful human health and environmental effects.”

From Superinsulation to Passive House, With a Trip Across the Pond

Posted on July 13, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

In 2002, Katrin Klingenberg introduced the PassivhausA 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. program to North America when she built the Smith House in Urbana, Illinois. She had come to the U.S. from Germany, where she studied architecture and got involved with Passivhaus. But is this really where it all began?

Can the EDGE Green Building System Save the Planet?

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Stuart Kaplow in Guest Blogs

While Nepal is breathtaking, containing eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, the country is landlocked to the north by China and to the south and east by India. It's a developing country with a low-income economy, ranked among the poorest of the 187 countries in the U.N. Human Development Index.

Writing this post from Nepal, I think that it seems appropriate to discuss EDGE.

CarMic House: Improving Indoor Air Quality

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Carri Beer and Michael Hindle in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Carri Beer and Michael Hindle are renovating a 1954 house in Catonsville, Maryland. Hindle is a 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. Consultant and owner of Passive to Positive. Beer is a registered architect who has been practicing sustainable architecture for 18 years. She is an associate principal with Brennan+Company Architects. For a list of the couple's posts, see the sidebar below.

Construction in Cambodia

Posted on July 8, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A few weeks ago, I accompanied my wife Karyn, who is a pediatrician, on a three-week trip to Cambodia. She volunteered her services at the Angkor Children's Hospital in Siem Reap, in response to a request from hospital administrators. The hospital invited her to Cambodia to provide two weeks of specialized medical training for the hospital staff.

Lucky me: I got to tag along.

Siem Reap is a bustling town in northwest Cambodia, only a few miles away from the world-famous temples of Angkor Wat.

Will Europe Stop Trashing U.S. Forests in the Name of Bioenergy?

Posted on July 7, 2016 by Kenneth Richter in Green Building Blog

Since 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council's Our Forests Aren’t Fuel campaign to save southeastern forests from logging for bioenergy has sounded the alarm about this issue and targeted the European Union for reform.

In 2009, the EU passed binding legislation to ensure the EU meets its climate and energy targets, including a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a requirement that 20% of EU energy be generated from renewable sources, and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, all by 2020.

Blue Heron EcoHaus: Insulation, Air-Sealing, and a Solar Array

Posted on July 6, 2016 by Kent Earle in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. Their previous blog on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com was called Siding and Soffits at the Blue Heron EcoHaus. The blog below was originally published in September 2015. (A complete list of Kent Earle's GBA blogs is provided in the “Related articles” sidebar below.)

Off-Grid in Canada: The Building Envelope

Posted on July 5, 2016 by Craig Anderson in Guest Blogs

This is the second in a series of posts by Craig Anderson describing the off-the-grid house he built with his wife France-Pascale Ménard near Low, Québec. The first installment was titled Building an Off-Grid Home in Canada. Craig writes about the "Seven Hills Project" in a blog called Sunshine Saved.

Will This Roof Design Have Problems?

Posted on July 4, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Planning a new house in Climate Zone 6, Chad Kotlarz is reviewing his architect's plans for the roof — and discovers he has a few misgivings.

The unvented roof will be framed with 2x12 rafters, sheathed with plywood and capped with standing-seam metal roofing. Closed-cell spray foam will insulate the rafter bays, and the interior of the cathedral ceiling will be finished with gypsum drywall. An exposed truss with a collar tie provides structural support.

Can Rural Living Be As Green As Urban Living?

Posted on July 1, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Rural residents are surrounded by greenery and breathe fresh air. Urban residents are surrounded by concrete and breathe polluted air.

On the other hand, rural residents live in wasteful single-family homes and depend on private cars for transportation. Urban residents live in efficient apartments and use public transportation.

So which lifestyle is greener? According to most analysts, urban living is better for the planet than rural living. But a few aspects of the question remain unsettled.

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