The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Are Masonry Heaters a Good Match for Superinsulated Houses?

Posted on January 24, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

In New York City, it's been considered a real coup to land an apartment with a fireplace. Now, according to The New York Times, those once lucky urban dwellers are having second thoughts. New concerns about the environmental and health hazards of wood smoke, an article this week said, are outweighing the charm of those cheery winter fires.

What’s Vegetarian Got to Do With It?

Posted on January 22, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

My wife’s a raw vegan (vegetarian plus no dairy, plus no cooked food). She is committed to her diet for, well, dietary reasons. In green building terms, she’s like an extreme NZE (net zero energy) home builder! Not for everybody, but you have to admire the commitment!

All About Water-Resistive Barriers

Posted on January 21, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on September 18, 2013

By now, almost all builders know the importance of installing a water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) behind siding. Most types of siding leak, so it’s a good idea (and a code requirement) to install a WRB to protect your wall 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. from any wind-driven rain that gets past the siding.

A WRB can be vapor-permeable, like Tyvek, or vapor-impermeable, like foil-faced polyisocyanurate. As long as the wall assembly is designed to dry out when it gets wet, either vapor-permeable or vapor-impermeable WRBs work well.

Drive-by Energy Audits

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

With all the snow we received in southern Vermont last week, it's a great time to be an energy nerd! Lots of snow on roofs means that it's easy to tell at a glance how energy efficient houses in the neighborhood are. I mean, it's not a thorough energy audit. But it's a good way to quickly get a sense of how buttoned up these houses are.

Home Energy Monitoring, Part 1: Knowledge Is Power

Posted on January 18, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

For this episode, Phil and I are joined by Peter Troast of Energy Circle to discuss home energy monitoring. Most people, I think, live their lives without much thought given to the power they are consuming when they turn on a device. They're more focused on the task at hand.

NAHB Annual Conference Wraps Up 2011 Event in Orlando

Posted on January 18, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

It seems to me that most trade conferences have settled into a consistent rhythm—pre-conference classes and committee meetings, a trade show that lasts several days with a show floor and short seminars that attendees move between, and one or two big speeches that resemble tent revivals. I recently attended the International Builders Show, AKA IBS (which Leah Thayer pointed out also stands for irritable bowel syndrome), in Orlando, Florida.

Can Open-Cell Foam Waste be Used as Attic Insulation?

Posted on January 17, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

UPDATED 1/19/11 with comments from Peter Yost

Open-cell polyurethane foam expands dramatically as soon as it hits its target, rapidly filling wall cavities and typically mushrooming beyond the stud line. After it's firmed up, installers trim away the excess so drywall or other wall finishes can be put up.

Questions and Answers About Air Barriers

Posted on January 14, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on December 12, 2014

Builders of a certain age — say, those older than about 55 or 60 — started their careers at a time when no one talked about air leakage or air barriers. Back in the early 1970s, even engineers were ignorant about air leakage in buildings, because the basic research hadn’t been done yet.

Times have changed, and most residential building codes now require builders to include details designed to reduce air leakage. Today’s young carpenters are working on job sites where air barriers matter.

Energy Return on Investment

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

For the past few weeks, I've been writing about petroleum: what it is, the history of petroleum use, and what's ahead for this ubiquitous energy source that, to a significant extent, defines our society.

Announcing the Green Home Advantage Program

Posted on January 12, 2011 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

In Atlanta, Enterprise and The Home Depot Foundation have joined forces to create the Green Home Advantage program. The program ensures that all properties acquired through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in Atlanta meet a set of baseline green requirements developed by Enterprise and the City of Atlanta.

The program also offers technical assistance, trainings, and the opportunity for green certification.

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