The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Cold-Climate Passivhaus Construction Costs

Posted on June 4, 2012 by mike eliason in Guest Blogs

Despite all the fuss about difficulties meeting Passivhaus cost-effectively on detached housing in über cold climates, there have been several projects recently that seemingly disprove the fussers.

Belgian Passivhaus is Rendered Uninhabitable by Bad Indoor Air

Posted on June 1, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The first single-family Passivhaus in the U.S. was completed by Katrin Klingenberg in 2004. Klingenberg’s superinsulated home in Urbana, Illinois includes two unusual features: a ventilation system that pulls fresh outdoor air through a buried earth tubeVentilation air intake tube, usually measuring 8 or more inches in diameter and buried 5 or more feet below grade. Earth tubes take advantage of relatively constant subterranean temperatures to pre-heat air in winter and pre-cool it in summer. In humid climates, some earth tubes develop significant amounts of condensation during the summer, potentially contributing to indoor air quality problems., and walls that include an interior layer of OSB. These details were not invented by Klingenberg; she adopted practices that were commonly used by European Passivhaus builders.

More Energy-Saving Products from the AIA Convention

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week, I wrote about a number of innovative window and glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. products I came across at the AIA Convention in Washington, DC earlier this month. Here are a few other products I came across with energy-saving features.

EnerPHit — The Passive House Approach to Deep Retrofit

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Lenny Antonelli in Green Building Blog

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

Window-Mounted Air Conditioners Save Energy

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Window-mounted air conditioners (also called room air conditioners) aren’t particularly efficient; the best available models have an EEREnergy-efficiency rating or energy-efficiency ratio. As most commonly used, EER is the operating efficiency of a room air conditioner, measured in Btus of cooling output divided by the power consumption in watt-hours; the higher the EER, the greater the efficiency. of about 10 or 11. Central air conditioners (also called whole-house air conditioners or split-system air conditioners) are significantly more efficient; it’s possible to buy one with an EER of 14 or even 15.

So if you care about energy efficiency, you should use a central air conditioner, not a window air conditioner — right? Well, not necessarily.

Cool Window and Glazing Products from the AIA Convention

Posted on May 24, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I just spent three days at the American Institute of Architects annual convention in Washington, DC, including a fair amount of time at the massive trade show there. I didn’t make it all the way through the acres of exhibits over the eight hours or so I walked the floor, but I saw some really interesting products. I’m highlighting here a few of the windows and glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill.-related products I found.

Cool Tool for Duct Testing

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Some days I like my work, and some days I don’t, but I guess that’s just the way the world is. This love/hate relationship really rears its ugly head when I have to go out and do blower door and Duct BlasterCalibrated air-flow measurement system developed to test the airtightness of forced-air duct systems. All outlets for the duct system, except for the one attached to the duct blaster, are sealed off and the system is either pressurized or depressurized; the work needed by the fan to maintain a given pressure difference provides a measure of duct leakage. testing on homes. It’s not one of my favorite things to do, but if the weather’s nice and the drive’s not to far, it can end up being a good, and reasonably profitable, day.

Staying Cool with a Metal Roof

Posted on May 21, 2012 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

David Martin is intrigued with the idea of replacing his existing roof with a standing-seam metal roof. It should last longer than the alternatives, he says, and it would be compatible with 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. panels should he decide to add them in the future.

So what’s the issue?

David Martin is troubled by some of the advertising claims he’s seen about metal roofing, specifically a statement from the Metal Roofing Alliance that a “cool metal roof can save 25% in energy costs compared to a dark grey asphalt shingle.”

Choosing an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

Posted on May 18, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Because federal appliance efficiency standards have gotten more stringent, new refrigerators use much less energy than those sold in the 1970s. These days, it’s fairly easy to find a full-size refrigerator that requires only 350 to 500 kWh per year — significantly less than the 1,000 kWh/year energy hogs of yore.

Getting Around Without Fossil Fuels

Posted on May 17, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week I laid out some arguments on why we should wean ourselves from fossil fuels, and offered some suggestions of how we could go about doing that in our homes — by superinsulating, switching to oil- and gas-free heating, and converting to renewable electricity. Those steps certainly aren’t easy or inexpensive, but there’s a pretty clear path for doing so.

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