The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Steve’s Garage

Posted on January 17, 2010 by michael maines in Building Science

Once a month in Portland, Maine, a group of builders, carpenters, architects, engineers, energy auditors, insulation contractors, and other fans of building science get together for, to quote the invitation, “an informal discussion for building professionals to ask, learn, debate, knock around, support, agonize over, ridicule, flog and answer the challenges and concepts of the best building practices.”

Home Dashboards Help to Reduce Energy Use

Posted on January 15, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

In recent years, the technology of our cars has advanced at a more rapid rate than the technology of our homes. A new car’s dashboard has gauges that display all kinds of information, including the amount of fuel in the car’s tank, the oil pressure, the electrical system voltage, and sometimes the tire pressure. Many new cars even have a real-time fuel-efficiency gauge that displays miles per gallon.

When Will We Reach Beautiful Simplicity in Green Building?

Posted on January 15, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Sometimes the complexity of building science makes me a little crazy. The worst manifestation of this is when I make recommendations to clients or building pros at meetings or in seminars. Rarely is there a single, clear-cut solution to most problems. “It depends” is usually the right answer. It depends on the climate. It depends on the materials used. It depends on existing conditions. It depends on so many things that the average person slips quickly into MEGO mode (My Eyes Glaze Over).

Can Spray Foam Rot Your Roof?

Posted on January 14, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Q&A Spotlight

Ice dams are a familiar problem in New England and other parts of the country where winters are long and cold. Snow on under-insulated and under-ventilated roofs melts, pools and refreezes to form a dam. Water backs up under the shingles and much to the horror of homeowners often finds its way inside the building.

Spray foam polyurethane insulation is supposed to be a hedge against that problem. By forming an effective seal around rafters, and offering respectable R-values, foam should be blocking the migration of cold air into the roof where it can condense into water.

Welcome!

Posted on January 14, 2010 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

Amy:
Welcome to the Enterprise Green Communities NSP blog. Our hope is that this becomes an open forum for NSP recipients, sub-recipients, and project teams to discuss some of the challenges and successes you are experiencing as it relates to your green initiatives across the country. With the newness of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, we are all in the same place – learning lots of new regulations, interpretations, and minute details. Enterprise Green Communities is hoping that the existence and continual use of this blog will help you through every step of the green initiative you are building into your Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Peter Yost, with GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, will be co-authoring this blog with me, teaching us all about the science behind green building. I will be co-authoring and consistently checking in, answering questions, and joining the discussions in the hopes of learning from you and hopefully, helping a little.

GREEN BUILDING TIP: Pick Windows That Don't Waste

Posted on January 13, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

True divided-lightTrue divided light sash have small panes of glass separated by muntins. Because large pieces of glass used to be difficult (or expensive) to make, older houses have windows with two, four, or six small lights per sash. These multiple-light sash are also called "divided-light sash" or sometimes "divided-light windows." windows lose more heat.

Seeking Common Ground on Climate Change Policy

Posted on January 13, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week’s column took a quick look at the science of climate change and how scientific hypotheses have shifted over time based on new evidence. In developing public policy, I believe we should start with a firm foundation of science—whether the issue is banning lead in gasoline, regulating the annual harvest of salmon, or adopting policies on energy efficiency. The better the science, the better the resulting policies or laws.

Product Review: World’s Best Sill Seal

Posted on January 11, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

Sill seal made from closed-cell foam does a pretty good job of stopping air leaks on smooth-topped foundations. When the concrete is rough, however, it’s hard for sill seals to bridge the uneven gap under the mudsill.

The Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las Vegas

Posted on January 8, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The American Southwest is running out of water. For a powerful reminder, if any is needed, of why builders in Western states should integrate water-conservation strategies in all new buildings, check out a new book by James Lawrence Powell, Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water.

Powell’s message is stark: according to scientists’ best predictions, millions of Americans living in the Southwest will face unprecedented water shortages in the next few decades.

Science, Climate Change, and Policy

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Global warming deniers have garnered a lot of attention in recent years. From opinion columns and letters in our local newspaper to heated reporting on Fox News (whose trademarked slogan “Fair & Balanced” is often anything but), those who doubt the underlying science of global warming are receiving unprecedented access to the American public and to policymakers.

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