The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

What’s the Difference Between the Energy Code and the DEA?

Posted on February 29, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the poor state of energy code enforcement and its effect on building performance. The rules are there, but not enough people are following them. This misbehavior leads to excessive energy use, providing support to the energy and utility industries, and does nothing to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.

The Pretty Good House, Part 2

Posted on February 28, 2012 by michael maines in Guest Blogs

What is truly important when designing and building a green home? Some of the many existing programs don’t go far enough, some are accused of going too far, and some just miss the mark. What should be included in a Pretty Good House?

What’s the Best Approach for a Rainscreen?

Posted on February 27, 2012 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Aaron Vander Meulen is building a house whose exterior walls will consist of 2x4 framing with cellulose insulationThermal insulation made from recycled newspaper or other wastepaper; often treated with borates for fire and insect protection., bracing, 2 in. of extruded polystyrene (XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation.) foam, furring strips and, finally, Extira siding, an exterior grade wood composite.

Meulen is leaning toward horizontal rather than vertical furring strips because they’ll make it easier to install the 2-ft. by 4 ft. panels.

Carl and Abe Write a Textbook

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Carl Seville, this website’s resident green building curmudgeon and blogger, has teamed up with Abe Kruger, an energy rater and BPI Building Analyst, to write a new textbook, Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction.

Good News Bad News With Climate Change

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

During these spring-like days in mid-February in Vermont, it's hard not to think about climate change. It's been reaching the mid- and upper-40s over the past few weeks in a winter that really isn't. Yes, this particular year might be an anomaly (after all, Europe is experiencing record cold this winter), but increasingly, scientists believe the long-term trend is clearly warming.

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

You may or may not be aware of this, but I have spent much of the last three years writing Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, the first textbook on residential green building, with my friend and associate Abe Kruger. It was finally published in January, and as of February 4th, we were ranked as high as 192,000 on Amazon’s bestseller list!

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 4

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

In days of yore, buildings were designed and built by master builders. These were people who spent their whole lives learning about buildings by creating them – from idea to reality – working side by side with others, many of whom who had more experience than they did. That’s how they eventually achieved mastery. Practice, repetition, and observation of everything to do with the building’s creation.

Regional Variations on the ‘Pretty Good House’

Posted on February 20, 2012 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

The building-science-and-beer group that meets every month in Portland, Maine, recently launched a discussion of suggested specifications for a “pretty good house” — a house that seeks to balance construction cost and energy performance without being constrained by the dictates of existing green building programs or rating systems. Michael Maines's blog on that topic has generated dozens of comments, and GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com has received several e-mails from readers with suggestions for regional variations on the “pretty good house” concept.

An Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems

Posted on February 17, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

By now, 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. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) panels are familiar to most Americans. You’ve seen them on your hand-held calculator, on top of illuminated highway signs, and maybe even on your neighbors’ roofs. With PV systems becoming more common, perhaps you’ve been dreaming of making some homemade electricity. The dream is achievable, as long as you own a sunny patch of lawn or an unshaded south-facing rooftop, and as long as you have a bank balance of several thousand dollars.

Local Food and Resilience

Posted on February 16, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

In this final installment of my ten-part series on resilient design, I'm taking a look at where our food comes from and how we can achieve more resilient food systems.

The average salad in the U.S. is transported roughly 1,400 miles from farm to table, and here in the Northeast, we get most of our fresh food from more than 3,000 miles away. Even in Iowa, where 95% of the land area is in agricultural production, one is hard-pressed to buy locally grown produce.

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