The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Placing Concrete In Our ICF Foundation Walls

Posted on February 18, 2013 by Roger Normand in Guest Blogs

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a Passivhaus in Maine. This is the 23rd article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

Smelly Fiberglass Batts

Posted on February 15, 2013 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

I first heard about the problem of smelly fiberglass batts from Michael Maines, a builder and GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blogger who lives in Portland, Maine. Maines sent me an e-mail saying, “The latest problem with fiberglass insulation is that it smells like burnt brownies!”

I’ve collected a half dozen reports of this problem, all centering on EcoTouch brand fiberglass batts manufactured by Owens Corning. Two years ago, the company switched from a formaldehydeChemical found in many building products; most binders used for manufactured wood products are formaldehyde compounds. Reclassified by the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2004 as a “known human carcinogen."-based glue (or binderGlue used in manufactured wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Some binders are made with formaldehyde. See urea-formaldehyde binder and methyl diisocyanate (MDI) binder. ) to a new glue described as a “bio-based” binder.

Commercial-Scale Wind Power

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week I wrote about the challenges of small wind turbines and the difficulty of successfully integrating wind power into buildings. This week, I’ll look at larger-scale commercial wind power developments.

The Thermal Bridge to Nowhere

Posted on February 13, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Let's play a little game today. Take a look at that photo at right. See anything that bothers you?* Well, pretend that you're the heat in the house once everything is finished and people are living in it. Does that help? If your answer is still no, let me give you a little help. Here are the approximate R-values of wood and the standard insulation you might find in a wall (fiberglass, cellulose, open-cell spray foam):

Insulation: R-3.7 per inch

Wood: R-1.1 per inch

Installing Roxul Mineral Wool on Exterior Walls

Posted on February 12, 2013 by Shannon Cowan and Patrick Walshe in Guest Blogs

As the landscape around our building site disappears under a rare blanket of snow, the sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. on our houses has been disappearing under a thick layer of exterior mineral-wool insulation. Known as Comfortboard IS, this insulation has impressed us with its green virtues, versatility, and price.

Building in Japan

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Energy efficient houses are becoming more common in the U.S., even if progress sometimes seems halting. What about building practices in other parts of the world? Are builders elsewhere more progressive about using new materials and techniques, or sticking to the old ways?

We get one take on this question from Eric Matsuzawa of Connecticut, who's getting ready to build a house in a Climate Zone 4A region of Japan. Conditions would be similar to those of Virginia, not especially harsh. But what Matsuzawa is learning about local building practices is giving him pause for thought.

Wind Power: Why it Doesn’t Make Sense Everywhere

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

At least in our neck of the woods, wind power is very much in the news these days. The Vermont legislature is debating whether to institute a three-year moratorium on what detractors refer to as “industrial wind power,” and debate is raging in the nearby towns of Windham and Grafton, Vermont about a potential wind farm. I figured I should weigh in.

Batt Insulation is Still Making Me Batty

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I recently performed the pre-drywall inspection on a small home seeking LEEDLeadership 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. certification. The local building inspector had visited and approved the batts for covering up.

The 7 Biggest Opportunities for HVAC Contractors

Posted on February 6, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Heating and air conditioning contractors have a lot of opportunities to make homes better and to be profitable. The surprising thing is just how few HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. companies take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to them.

A New Encyclopedia Article on Skylights

Posted on February 5, 2013 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers skylights.

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