The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 1

Posted on August 10, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

The invitation was too cool to be real: My name was somehow on a list of “experts” who were invited to take part in a Building America Water Heater Expert Session on combo systems. The invite noted that the session was to be the day before Joe Lstiburek’s Building Science Summer Camp, and “it is expected that the information obtained will lend itself toward the eventual production of a guide for the best practice application of combination space and domestic water heating systems for new and retrofit residential construction.”

Replace That Window?

Posted on August 10, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

As I was hosing down the dirt driveway in front of my house last week to keep the dust down with some guests due to arrive, I got to thinking about Chicken Dinner Road.

Job-Site Recycling: Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Posted on August 9, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

UPDATED 8/16/2011

Asphalt shingles are the roofing of choice for a majority of U.S. homes. And each year, in the process of manufacturing, installing and eventually replacing them, the construction industry produces an estimated 11 million tons of shingle waste.

That’s roughly the capacity of a quarter-million fully laden tractor-trailers, which when lined up end to end would stretch from New York to Los Angeles.

How to Insulate a Foundation

Posted on August 8, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Peter Fusaro is building a high-efficiency house on spec, and his plans include insulating the foundation walls. The question is how.

One option is to apply rigid foam to the outside of the foundation. That would leave roughly 1 ft. of insulation above grade, and Fusaro is concerned about how durable the foam would be.

Another possibility is to use a sandwich of 2 in. of foam between two outer faces of concrete, each 4 in. thick, making an assembly with both structural and thermal properties. He’s been told a wall built that way would have an effective R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of 19.27.

Utility-Scale Wind Turbines

Posted on August 5, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

I live in Wheelock, Vermont, a town with 598 residents. Our town is so small that we have neither a post office nor a zip code. To get my mail, I have to travel two miles to the post office in Sheffield, our larger neighbor. (Sheffield has a population of 704.)

There’s a $90 million construction project underway in Sheffield this summer. In its entire 200-year history, the sleepy town has never seen anything like this.

Plastic Film Kits, Insulated Shades, and Interior Storm Windows

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Try this little perceptual experiment now: look at yourself in a mirror (or your computer or phone camera). Then look at your left eye, and then your right eye, and then back and forth several times. What do you see?

If someone else is around, ask them to look at you, and look back and forth between your eyes.

How To Sell Green Upgrades: Better Insulation

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

R-30 is good and R-38 is “gooder.” That’s kind of how we sell insulation, right?

At the end of the day, when we talk about green upgrades, this is probably the one item that most consumers understand better than any other. The maxim “more is better” is, with few exceptions, pretty safe territory when it comes to insulation. Oh, if it were on that simple!

Blog Review: Vermont Architect Robert Swinburne

Posted on August 2, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Robert Swinburne’s interest in building started early. By the time he was 10 or so, as he explains at his blog, Vermont Architect Robert Swinburne he had built not only a rabbit hutch with its own poop removal system but a small cabin as well.

A few years later, he put up a 12-ft. by 16-ft. structure where he lived during the summer all the way through college.

All of this was taking place at his parents’ place in rural Maine, where his father had built a house and barn in the 1970s.

First Look at Affordable LEED Townhomes

Posted on August 1, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Communities

My associate Abe Kruger and I are the green raters on a set of 18 affordable townhomes currently under construction for the Chattanooga, Tennessee Housing Authority. We were brought in after design and specifications were complete, so we did not have as much influence on the project as we would have liked. Regardless, it is a good project with a very involved and cooperative team. With this in mind we hopped in my car for the two-hour drive up I-75 recently for the first pre-drywall inspection.

Adding Insulation to a 1944 Roof

Posted on August 1, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Thaddeus Cox’s 1944 Cape Cod in Portland, Oregon, has a roof that needs some attention. Not only is the roof under-insulated, but it’s currently covered in two or three layers of asphalt shingles installed over the original layer of cedar. Roof 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. consists of 1-in. thick boards.

The International Energy Conservation Code recommends R-38 for the roof in this Climate Zone 4 house, far more than the R-11 batts Cox thinks are currently in place.

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