The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Growing Marijuana Indoors is an Environmental Disaster

Posted on June 8, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Many Americans live in areas of the country where the local utility sponsors energy efficiency programs — for example, one that offers homeowners free energy audits. In addition to offering this type of residential efficiency program, many utilities have also developed energy efficiency programs to help commercial customers, including retailers and manufacturers.

California’s Solar Panel Edict

Posted on June 7, 2018 by Garth Heutel in Guest Blogs

More California rooftops will soon sport solar panels, partly due to a new state mandate requiring them for all new houses and low-rise residential buildings by 2020.

This rule immediately sparked lively debates. Even experts who generally advocate for solar energy expressed skepticism that it was actually a good idea.

Urban Rustic: Installing an Airtight Attic Hatch

Posted on June 6, 2018 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. A list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Where Water Is Scarce, Communities Turn to Wastewater

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Jacques Leslie in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360.

Frugal Happy: Demolition

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: This post is one of a series by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee, a husband-and-wife team living in the Los Angeles area who are turning their suburban house into an all-electric, zero-net energy home. They chronicle their attempts at a low-carbon, low-cost, and joyful lifestyle on their blog Frugal Happy. This post was written by Chris.

What Windows Should I Buy?

Posted on June 1, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Readers often post a simple question on our Q&A page: “What brand of window should I buy?” For an editor, it’s an exasperating question, because it’s unanswerable. The answer depends on a host of factors, including the buyer’s geographical location, performance expectations, budget, and personal sense of aesthetics.

Rather than attempting to answer the question, I decided to interview fourteen designers and builders of high-performance homes. I asked them, “What brand of window did you specify on recent high-performance projects — and why?”

Is Bigger Really Better?

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Alexandra Staub in Guest Blogs

The United States is facing a housing crisis: Affordable housing is inadequate, while luxury homes abound. Homelessness remains a persistent problem in many areas of the country.

Realizing the Net-Zero Opportunity

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Kelly Vaughn in Guest Blogs

Think of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. (NZE) home, and it’s likely that you imagine a single-family house in a well-to-do neighborhood, with a roof covered in solar panels and an electric car parked in the driveway. This is a pleasant picture, but it highlights two underlying assumptions many of us have: that NZE homes are available only to the wealthy, and that new-build, single-family homes in nonurban settings are best suited for NZE.

New House: Year One Update

Posted on May 29, 2018 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

We have been living in our new house just over a year now, so it seems fitting to offer some thoughts and insight into how everything is working out. The answer, thankfully, is that all is good.

From a design and function standpoint, everything works great. We use every room in the house, so we didn’t overbuild. Energy use is low, as expected. The only issue we run into is controlling humidity, a common problem with low-load homes in mixed humid climates.

Does an Electric Tankless Water Heater Make Sense?

Posted on May 28, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

David Voros owns a vacation home that isn't used frequently, but every so often the house sees a lot of guests. What, he asks, is the best way of providing enough hot water for a crowd?

Voros sketches out these parameters in a recent Q&A post: very cold incoming water temperatures, a limited amount of space for a tank-style heater, and limited availability of gas. The house has 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. panels, and Voros would like to avoid running another exhaust pipe through the building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials..

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