The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Earth Day + 40

Posted on April 20, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day arrives this week to relatively little fanfare. We’re focused on other things: high unemployment, a moribund economy, residual sniveling over health insurance reform. But 40 years is an important milestone.

High Performance Scopes of Work

Posted on April 19, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

What are Scopes of Work?
Scopes of work (SOW) are part of the legal contract between the general contractor or client and the trade contractors, detailing exactly what must be done to complete his or her work and achieve the desired result, an assembly or system that works. A program of SOW connects the work of individual trades so that the work of each produces the desired result: a home that works.

A ‘Magic Box’ For Your Passivhaus

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

By designing a tight envelope with thick insulation, Passivhaus designers work hard to whittle a home’s space heating load to a bare minimum. Many European designers strive to get the heating load so low that all space heat can be provided by raising the temperature of the ventilation air.

7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 2. The Roof

Posted on April 15, 2010 by Betsy Pettit in Guest Blogs

Editor's introduction: With energy prices rising again, many homeowners are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. But most people are unsure of where to begin, and even seasoned builders don’t always know which priorities should rise to the top of the list. Betsy Pettit, an architect at Building Science Corporation, recommends starting where you can get the most bang for the buck.

Step 2: To stop air leaks and reduce heat loss, seal up your home's cap

Green Building Myth: Green Homes are Ugly

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

For the last several weeks I’ve been describing a number of common myths about green building. This week I’ll address the myth that green homes are ugly — that incorporating solar and other green features somehow compromises aesthetics.

How Heat Moves Through Homes — Building Science Podcast

Posted on April 12, 2010 by John Straube in Building Science

In our last episode, Dr. Joe Lstiburek talked about efflorescence and the serious damage that water and salt can do to masonry. This week, Dr. John Straube explains how the three forms of heat flow work, and debunks the claims of a few common insulating materials.

Comfort is the Primary Purpose of Buildings

Construction Process Part Two: Contractor Selection

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

I have about a half dozen green contractor attributes to consider, but let’s start with a baseline: NOT green (behind the ears…).

It’s the Little Things

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I was hired a few years ago to consult on a new luxury residence to make the house as green as possible. At about 7,500 square feet, many people would argue that it could never be a green home, but as I was brought in after the design was complete, my job was to do the best I could with what I was given to work with. While the builder, Mike LaBelle, had no prior experience in high-performance homes, luckily for everyone, he was very interested and enthusiastic about learning how to build better.

Lead-based paint and green remodeling

Posted on April 9, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

The paint problem
Lead improved paint’s performance; it made paint more durable, moisture-resistant, and faster-drying. That sounds pretty green. Unfortunately, lead also makes paint a human health hazard, particularly to kids. Not even close to green. Tiny amounts can permanently damage a child’s growing brain, resulting in IQ loss, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Contrary to the myth, kids don’t typically eat paint chips; they ingest lead dust from ordinary (and frequent) hand-to-mouth contact.

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