The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Blog Review: Erik’s Blog

Posted on May 5, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Erik Haugsjaa is a software engineer and Web consultant who lives in Stow, Massachusetts, in a house he says comes close to net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. performance. Built in 2010, his 2 1/2-story, 1,650-square-foot. house is equipped with a 6.9-kW photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. array and a ductless minisplit system for heating and air conditioning.

Book Review: Green Building Product Certifications

Posted on May 4, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I was honored to be asked by GBA to review Green Building Product Certifications, a recent publication of Building Green, Inc. that makes a valiant attempt to demystify the seemingly infinite range of product certifications currently in the marketplace. The first clue that this was not going to be easy was the third line of the table of contents – “Green Labels: A mess, but not as bad as you think.”

Solar Decathlon 2011: Team Florida’s FLeX House

Posted on May 2, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

There are two kinds of summers in Florida: hot and humid, and really hot and humid. Team Florida has prepared for both with FLeX House, its entry for the 2011 Solar Decathlon. But the team also is attempting to address issues that go well beyond the state’s seasonal plunge into tropical weather.

Does Saving Historic Buildings Save Energy?

Posted on May 2, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

A surreal magazine ad just got even more surreal for me.

After learning of the fire at the historic 1871 Brooks House here in Brattleboro, Vermont last week, I quickly got to wondering: will the owner be put in the painful position of choosing to salvage a beloved historic property or to build new? Similar choices are faced with sad frequency in historic downtowns across America.

How to Insulate a Wall from the Outside

Posted on May 2, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Gregg is renovating his 50-year-old house in Wisconsin and trying to devise the best way of insulating exterior walls from the outside. The house was built conventionally, with 2x4 walls, fiberglass batt insulationInsulation, usually of fiberglass or mineral wool and often faced with paper, typically installed between studs in walls and between joists in ceiling cavities. Correct installation is crucial to performance. , fiberboard 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. , and hardboard siding.

He plans to tear off both siding and sheathing and remove the batt insulation, then apply 3 in. of spray polyurethane foam insulation into the stud bays. The existing kraft paper vapor barrier on the interior side of the wall will stay in place.

Can ‘Passive House’ Be Trademarked?

Posted on April 29, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on 4/3/2012

Can the phrase “passive house” be trademarked? If the answer is yes, has any organization claimed the trademark yet?

Blog Review: Almost Passive House

Posted on April 28, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Blogs about energy-efficient, sustainable building sometimes seem overflowing with technical information — information that is not exactly tedious, but not quite light reading either. To be fair, building science is complicated. There may be no simple way of explaining vapor drive, U-factors, and the fine points of solar heat-gain coefficient. But to the uninitiated, these technical terms can result in slow slogging.

Do It Now: Review Your Company’s Health Insurance Policy

Posted on April 27, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Business Advisor

With the economic downturn, I've been looking for ways to get better value for overhead dollars, and one thing that really stands out is the cost of our company-paid health care insurance.

Solar Decathlon 2011: Team Massachusetts’ 4D Home

Posted on April 26, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

One of the key design variables in Team Massachusetts’ Solar Decathlon entry, 4D Home, is the configuration of its interior, which, with the repositioning of two sliding partitions, can be quickly altered to accommodate a variety of situations, from a dinner party attended by several guests to a permanent addition to the family.

What’s the Difference Between Energy and Power?

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

How many mystery writers does it take to change a 60-watt lightbulb?

Two — one to screw the bulb almost all the way in, and one to provide a surprising twist at the end.

How many Energy Solutions columnists does it take to change a 60-watt lightbulb?

One — all he does is tell you what a watt is and he doesn't even change the lightbulb.

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