The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Spray Foam in Cold Climates

Posted on September 17, 2013 by Erik North in Guest Blogs

Spray foam is a great tool for insulating and weatherizing. It can be applied to horizontal and vertical surfaces. Once it is cured, it can be the air barrier and vapor and thermal control layers (at least closed-cell foam can), and it provides some of the highest R-values per inch available. It slices! It dices! It makes great sushi!

Why Weatherization Isn’t Enough

Posted on September 16, 2013 by Rachel White in Guest Blogs

Ask almost any building performance expert what you should do first to cut your utility bills and improve the energy efficiency of your home, and the answer will inevitably be to weatherize. And that’s as it should be. Most of our homes are rife with air leaks. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in the average American home, 30 cents of every dollar spent on heating and cooling is lost to air leaks and insufficient insulation.

All About Wood Stoves

Posted on September 13, 2013 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’ve been heating your house with wood for years, you probably don’t need to read this article. By now, you know all about the disadvantages and inconveniences that accompany wood heat, and yet you still heat with wood — either because you genuinely love wood heat, or because you love the low cost of the fuel. If you haven’t burned down your house by now, you may even have figured out how to install and operate your stove safely.

This article is addressed to a different audience: those who are thinking about buying their first wood stove.

Serenbe: a Green Town in the Making

Posted on September 12, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I’m just back from Atlanta, where I spoke on Saturday at the new Bosch Experience Center located in the unique Serenbe Community thirty miles southwest of Atlanta.

I gotta say, I was impressed!

Thou Shalt Commission Thy Ducts!

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

The typical new home gets a heating and air conditioning system that's about two times too large. I've  discussed oversized air conditioners many times before.

A Shortcut To Sustainable Living: Downsize!

Posted on September 10, 2013 by Alan Abrams and Joseph Gilday in Guest Blogs

The purpose of sustainable design and green building is to achieve sustainable living. To do this, we attempt to make best possible use of the assets at hand. That could mean designing and building from scratch. It could also mean taking an existing dwelling and nudging it in the direction of sustainability.

It’s an imperfect process and takes time. It’s only natural that we look for shortcuts to living green. Here’s one: downsize and move into a condo.

How to Install a Foundation Drain

Posted on September 9, 2013 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

On its face, the location of a foundation perimeter drain seems like the simplest of details. The perforated drain line is run around the foundation next to the bottom of the footing.

At least that's what many construction drawings show. But in some parts of the country, the drain is placed on top of the footing rather than next to it, and this discrepancy is at the root of Steven Knapp's dilemma.

Weatherization Funding Has Been Slashed

Posted on September 6, 2013 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), sometimes referred to as the “Obama stimulus funding.” Among the bill’s many provisions was a $5 billion allocation over three years to the Weatherization Assistance Program. Since the U.S. Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) has historically funded the weatherization program at between $210 million and $230 million per year, the $1.6-billion-per-year stimulus funding was a sevenfold increase over the usual funding level.

On the Closure of Vermont Yankee

Posted on September 5, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

The big energy news in my part of the world this past week has been the pending closure of Vermont’s only nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee, in Vernon, about six miles south of Brattleboro. The closure is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014, at the end of the current fuel cycle.

Patent Troll Wins First Case Over Use of Infrared Cameras

Posted on September 4, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

A year or two ago, I remember getting trapped in my car one evening listening to Ira Glass's show This American Life. It was an episode titled When Patents Attack, and I was riveted. The show described how a seemingly small change in the U.S. patent office's protocol led to the growth of an industry that siphons money from tech companies through legal, but sketchy, license fees and lawsuits.

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