The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Ten Steps to Clean Up a Broken CFL

Posted on June 14, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

At a wedding last weekend, I heard the following story third-hand, attributed to a local landscape designer.

There was a large group of relatives of this gentleman who had lived their lives in Dorchester, Mass. — in the Boston metro area — and had never gone anywhere else. Ever.

How to Cheat* at LEED: Part 2

Posted on June 14, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Now that all of you who read the first column in this series think you are experts at working the LEED for HomesLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. system, I will show you some of the points that are much harder to qualify for along with a few that are pretty easy, but they are not very obvious and you have to know about them to take them.

The Downside of Structural Steel

Posted on June 13, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Brandon M. is building a three-story house in Seattle whose design includes cantilevers on the second and third floors. The designer has specified steel I-beams to provide the structural support in this modernist design, and this is what’s giving Brandon pause for thought.

Without Technical Assistance, Policy Efforts Fall Flat

Posted on June 10, 2011 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

From guest blogger Alison Corwin, New Ecology

How Is a Home’s HERS Index Calculated?

Posted on June 10, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Anyone involved with the Energy Star HomesA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to promote the construction of new homes that are at least 15% more energy-efficient than homes that minimally comply with the 2004 International Residential Code. Energy Star Home requirements vary by climate. program has probably heard of the HERSIndex or scoring system for energy efficiency established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that compares a given home to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Reference Home based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A home matching the reference home has a HERS Index of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. A typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; a net zero energy home has a HERS Index of 0. Older versions of the HERS index were based on a scale that was largely just the opposite in structure--a HERS rating of 100 represented a net zero energy home, while the reference home had a score of 80. There are issues that complicate converting old to new or new to old scores, but the basic formula is: New HERS index = (100 - Old HERS score) * 5. Index, a method of scoring the energy efficiency of a new or existing home. A Web page maintained by the state of Arkansas, for example, explains that the “EPA requires a house qualifying for Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. to be built with best practices, tight ducts, and at least 15% more energy efficient than code as shown by a HERS Index score of 85 or less as determined by a HERS Rater.”

How to Sell Green Upgrades: Exhaust Fans

Posted on June 9, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

You know every little bit helps. Whether you are helping a customer select a higher quality bath exhaust fan or you are making more money on the fans you sell, it all adds up, benefiting you and your customer. So don’t ignore the following opportunity to affect positive change with a small but important product — and make a couple of extra dollars along the way.

Net-Zero Homes, Part 1

Posted on June 8, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

You can also subscribe to the Green Architects' Lounge on iTunes. That way, you'll never miss a show—and it's free.

Helping Architects, Contractors, and Homeowners Get Greener

Posted on June 7, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

One of the side benefits of being on a long bus trip like the one to the Koetter millwork plant is that people talk quite a bit. Not being particularly shy, I talked a lot about high-performance homes and green building when given the opportunity. Conversations often started out with the “it’s so expensive” or “it’s too hard” sort of comments, which provided me the opportunity to dispel those myths — which I believe I did with occasional success.

‘Superwindows’ To the Rescue?

Posted on June 7, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

As I've said before, windows are a silent but very high-tech part of our buildings. The advances in glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. in the last 30 years have been phenomenal. Will windows keep getting better and better with no end in sight?

Can a High-Performance House be Livable, Too?

Posted on June 6, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Readers who post a question in GreenBuildingAdvisor’s Q&A forum typically look for advice on very specific building problems. Whether the challenge is detailing a rainscreenConstruction detail appropriate for all but the driest climates to prevent moisture entry and to extend the life of siding and sheathing materials; most commonly produced by installing thin strapping to hold the siding away from the sheathing by a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch. , selecting windows with the right solar heat-gain coefficient, or using thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. to store solar energy, the focus is usually narrow and technical.

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