The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Selecting a General Contractor

Posted on August 7, 2012 by Roger Normand in Guest Blogs

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

What’s the best way to pick a residential general contractor (GC)? There are many books written on the subject. I want to focus this blog on one specific aspect: the point in time that the GC becomes a member of the team along with the architect and the homeowner.

Trade Contractor Management — Part 4

Posted on August 6, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Business Advisor

It’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of trade contractor management — the control documents — what I refer to as the field checklists. Since these checklists are a key part of a larger process, it is important to understand just how the process works.

EEBA Conference Will Be Held in Arizona This Year

Posted on August 6, 2012 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

If you're interested in attending one of the best conferences in the country, don't miss this year's conference of the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA).

Founded in 1982, EEBA has consistently promoted superinsulation and energy-efficient residential construction techniques for the last 30 years. The three-day conference is being held in Scottsdale, Arizona on September 25 through 27.

A New Passivhaus Standard for North America

Posted on August 3, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Katrin Klingenberg, the founder of the 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. Institute U.S. (PHIUS), caused a minor earthquake earlier this year when she suggested that the existing Passivhaus standard didn’t make sense in North America.

Expanded Cork — The Greenest Insulation Material?

Posted on August 2, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I’m always on the hunt for the latest, most interesting, and most environmentally friendly building materials, and I have particular interest in insulation products — partly because many conventional insulation products have significant environmental downsides.

Goodbye Radiant Floor

Posted on July 31, 2012 by Roger Normand in Guest Blogs

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

Goodbye radiant floor. Though we never really knew you, we are sad to see you go away.

Oooh, Shiny Stuff! — Radiant Barrier Fundamentals

Posted on July 30, 2012 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Today just feels like a good day to talk about shiny stuff. Radiant barriers are a green building product with a lot of sex appeal, if that's possible for construction products. People get really crazy about attics, though. (Don't get me started about powered attic ventilators!) Maybe brains have a tendency to overheat when discussing them. The general category of radiant barriers is an area of great hype and misunderstanding, so I'll tell you what I know, explain the basic physics, and give you a couple of links to some great resources for more information.

Do Foil-Faced Building Products Block Cell Phone Reception?

Posted on July 27, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

It’s increasingly common for builders to install rigid foam on exterior walls and roofs. And among green builders, polyisocyanurate foam — a type of foam that often comes with foil facing — is generally perceived as the most environmentally friendly foam available.

Insulated Storm Windows?

Posted on July 26, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I’ve done a lot of digging into window options in the past few months — not only for a special report on windows that BuildingGreen published, but also for the renovation of the early-19th-Century farmhouse that my wife and I recently purchased.

New Advisors on the GBA Team

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

Chris Briley and Phil Kaplan are architects in southern Maine. They are smart, talented, funny, and they are go-getters. Chris and Phil began podcasting a couple of years ago on iTunes. One of our contributing editors, Scott Gibson, pointed them out to us, and we asked them to podcast on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com.

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