The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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

Wolfe Island Passive: Siding and a Porch

Posted on February 28, 2017 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.

Adding Air Conditioning to Radiant-Floor Heat

Posted on February 27, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Radiant-floor heating systems are unobtrusive because the plastic tubing that distributes hot water around the house is buried in or under the floor. Homeowners like that. But because there are no air ducts with a radiant-floor system, air conditioning must be added separately.

Zero-Energy Construction is ‘Set to Explode’

Posted on February 24, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

California regulators have established an ambitious policy goal: Beginning in 2020, all new homes in the state must be designed for net-zero-energy operation. (GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com has published at least four news stories on California's net-zero target: here, here, here, and here.)

Building Enclosure Commissioning

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

I have been advising architects and builders on high-performance design, materials, and construction — particularly for residential buildings — for many years. But to do this work on commercial buildings, a building science training and credentialing program seemed really important (yet elusive).

This past November I bit the bullet and spent three days in class, a half day in exams, and several thousand dollars, and fulfilled the requirements for these two certifications:

  • Building Enclosure CommissioningProcess of testing a home after a construction or renovation project to ensure that all of the home's systems are operating correctly and at maximum efficiency. Process Provider (BECxP)
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