The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Defining Habitable Temperatures

Posted on June 20, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Over the past five months, the New York City Buildings Resiliency Task Force has been working to figure out how to make buildings in the City more resilient. The Task Force, which was created at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and facilitated by Urban Green, the U.S. Green Building Council Chapter in New York City, issued its recommendations on June 13, 2013.

Is NIST Serious About Net-Zero-Energy Homes?

Posted on June 19, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) still handles a lot of our basic numbers work, keeping lasers, hunks of metal, and atomic clocks that determine our standards of length, mass, and time. But it turns out they also have an interest in net-zero-energy (NZE) homes.

They’ve built and outfitted an amazing NZE research facility, and they also have convened meetings of experts to develop guidelines for NZE homes. But there’s something about their latest report I just don’t understand.

Why Single-Family Green Homes Are Slow to Catch On

Posted on June 18, 2013 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

As a counterpoint the the optimism I expressed in my last post about multifamily green buildings, recent discussions with single-family builders leave me feeling less than enthusiastic about the prospects for green single-family housing.

Rebuilding in Tornado Country

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Tornadoes have struck the Midwest with a vengeance this year, killing dozens of people and causing widespread destruction of property. In the city of Moore, Oklahoma, a tornado with winds topping 200 miles per hour struck on May 20, reducing whole neighborhoods to rubble.

Many homeowners will rebuild, so what should their new houses look like? In a post at GreenBuildingAdvisor's Q&A forum, David Gregory raises that question.

All About Dishwashers

Posted on June 14, 2013 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

An automatic dishwasher uses hot water and electricity, so it makes sense to choose an efficient model. But before discussing the question of which dishwasher you should buy, we need to address two questions:

Our Barn Roof Gets an 18-kW Solar Array

Posted on June 13, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

When we started planning the rebuild of our house and the rest of the farm in West Dummerston, Vermont, my wife and I knew that we wanted to produce all of our energy on-site. That meant a solar-electric or 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.) system that would generate as much electricity as the house and barn are consuming — 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..

Taking a 20-Year-Old Florida House to Net Zero

Posted on June 12, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Steve Larson, a builder and home energy rater in Florida, sent me an e-mail with his energy bills for February through July of 2012. When you subtract out the monthly service charges, he paid only $5.35 for electricity during those six months. That's right — less than a dollar a month for electricty... and then $9.88 a month for the service charge.

(At Least) Five Things Are Wrong With This Picture

Posted on June 11, 2013 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

Last week we published this photo as part of our “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” series. The photo shows a problematic roof at a multifamily building in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The puzzler was created by Garrett Mosiman and Pat Huelman at the University of Minnesota. Mosiman and Huelman concluded that the Minneapolis building had the following five problems.

Multifamily Construction is Good News for Green Building

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

Recently, while doing research for a series of articles I am writing for Multifamily Executive Magazine, I ran across some interesting information on the multifamily construction industry and the increasing demand for green certified buildings. Affordable housing, much of which is multifamily, has been leading the way in green building for many years, much of this due to incentives tied to low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) that promote certified projects.

Zen and the Art of Grading

Posted on June 7, 2013 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Green builders have an uneasy relationship with chainsaws and bulldozers. To some environmentalists, these noisy inventions conjure up images of ecosystem destruction and irresponsible land development.

However, just like a hammer or a level, a bulldozer is just a tool. It can be used for good or ill.

Bulldozers are extremely handy when you need to change the grade of a site. Grading matters, and novice builders who ignore grading will eventually be forced to pay attention to the topic.

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