The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

My Net Zero Conundrum

Posted on March 14, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JEAN CARROON

Why would we want an individual building to be its own energy plant? This has never made sense to me. The scale seems inefficient and the potential of many existing urban buildings for 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) is limited. But many people I admire seem besotted by NZE. What am I missing?

CarMic House: Taming a Basement from Hell

Posted on March 13, 2017 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 “Related Articles” sidebar below. This post was written by Carri Beer.

A Visit to a LEED Platinum Office Building

Posted on March 10, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

While I’ve designed a few single-family homes, I’m well aware that designing a high-rise office building is a whole ’nother kettle of fish. The challenge is far greater — at least an order-of-magnitude greater — requiring an experienced team that includes architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, and energy consultants.

Airport House: Walls and Insulation

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Reid Baldwin in Guest Blogs

Editor’s note: This is the one of a series of guest blogs by Reid Baldwin about the construction of his house in Linden, Michigan. The first blog in the series was titled Energy Efficiency and Garage Space for an Airplane.

Manual J Doesn’t Tell You Equipment Capacity

Posted on March 8, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Here's a little conundrum for you. To get the right amount of heating and cooling to each room in your home, you need a load calculation. Rules of thumb don't work. But if you do a load calculation, the result isn't the size of air conditioner, heat pumpHeating and cooling system in which specialized refrigerant fluid in a sealed system is alternately evaporated and condensed, changing its state from liquid to vapor by altering its pressure; this phase change allows heat to be transferred into or out of the house. See air-source heat pump and ground-source heat pump., furnace, or boiler you need. It's only the first step to sizing your system.

Do you know why? Let's take a look.

From Red List to Ready List

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JONATHAN A. WRIGHT

One of the primary goals of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) is to eliminate the use of known toxins in products installed in the built environment. If it is harmful to life — human, animal or anything else — do not use it if at all possible.

In 2016, Wright Builders Inc. completed two Living Buildings, which will be evaluated for certification over the next 18 to 24 months. These projects gave us a unique opportunity to work inside the largely unexplored new world of materials research, vetting, documentation, and advocacy.

Toronto Passive: Removable Basement Floors

Posted on March 6, 2017 by Lyndon Than in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: Lyndon Than is a professional engineer and 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 who took a year off from work to design and build a home with his wife Phi in North York, a district of Toronto, Ontario. A list of Lyndon's previous blogs at GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com appears below. For more, you can follow his blog, Passive House Toronto.

Three Superinsulated Houses in Vermont

Posted on March 3, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Efficiency Vermont, a nonprofit agency that provides financial incentives for energy-efficiency improvements by homeowners, builders, and businesses in Vermont, has developed a certification program for new homes called the High Performance Certification.

Understanding Home Energy Performance Will Become a Key to Real Estate Success

Posted on March 2, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By DOUGLAS MILLER

Real estate professionals play a pivotal role in the U.S. residential real estate market. Overseeing from start to finish the multiple steps and piles of paperwork involved with property transactions, they support both sellers moving forward with the next stage of their lives and buyers looking for a new place to call home. They provide trusted and influential guidance that affects the largest investment that most of us will ever make: our homes.

Breaking Down Gender Bias in the Construction Industry

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By KATE STEPHENSON

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