The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Green Building Priority #8 — Use Green Products

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Those who are new to green building may be surprised that material selection isn't right at the top of my priority list. Many people assume that what makes a home green are things like the use of recycled-content or bio-based materials — decking made out of recycled milk jugs or foam insulation made from soybean oil, for example.

Greening Bank-Owned Homes

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

Before a bank puts a foreclosed property back on the market, typically the bank does some bare-bones repairs on the property. What if, instead of doing the bare minimum, the bank decided to look at the foreclosed property as a challenge and opportunity?

Building an Energy-Efficient Home on a Budget

Posted on September 27, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

John Holscher has done enough research to know there are many ways of building and insulating an energy-efficient home. Options include double-stud walls, 2x6 walls with rigid foam on the exterior, and structural insulated panels.

Now he has to figure out which one makes the most sense for his Cape-style home in New England.

"So many options, so little time," he writes in his Q&A post.

Radiant Barriers: A Solution in Search of a Problem

Posted on September 24, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A radiant barrier is a shiny panel or flexible membrane used in construction. Although radiant barriers have no R-value, they can be used as part of a building assembly — for example, an assembly made up of a radiant barrier and an air space — to slow heat transfer.

Biomass Boilers, Part 3: Summing It All Up

Posted on September 24, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

For Part Three of this Green Architects' Lounge episode, we are joined once again by our good friend Pat Coon, from Revision Heat, to discuss the topic of biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. boilers. We complete the trilogy with a succinct discussion on cost and tax incentives (unfortunately, $1,500 is all you'll get from the U.S.). This is after Phil shares his "Hot Zigg!" (our expression for a good idea). Phil just wants a consistent wood pellet rating system. Is that too much to ask?

Green From the Start: Small Victory Department

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Well, it finally happened. My new house plans were approved by the local Hysterical Preservation Commission this week. Of course, there were a few hitches. I specified standing-seam metal roofing on the entire house and garage to allow for rainwater harvesting, but the commission and the neighbors pitched a fit about this particular finish selection. It seems that a nearby house recently was approved for, and installed, a corrugated galvanized roof on the front porch, which created quite a stir in the neighborhood, provoking a backlash against anything metal.

Green Building Priority #9 – Create Resilient Houses

Posted on September 21, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Climate change is underway, and some of the impacts of that change will affect our homes. We need to account for that in the design, construction, and remodeling of our homes.

Green Bandwagon Rolls on at 2010 Remodeling Show

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I attended the Remodeling Show in Baltimore recently, and although I did not spend as much time perusing the exhibits on the show floor as they deserved, while roaming the floor with my fellow green policeman Michael Anschel, I ran across some cool new products, some blatant examples of greenwashing, and a few things that looked interesting but that I have not yet come to conclusions on. There were some excellent educational sessions, good times with old and new friends, and even an Orioles game thrown in for good measure.

Really green or just greenwashing?

Choosing Equipment for a Whole-House Ventilation System

Posted on September 20, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Tight, super-insulated houses need some kind of mechanical ventilation to keep indoor air healthy. Installing exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms is the simplest option. More often, energy-efficient builders install either a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. ) or an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV(ERV). The part of a balanced ventilation system that captures water vapor and heat from one airstream to condition another. In cold climates, water vapor captured from the outgoing airstream by ERVs can humidify incoming air. In hot-humid climates, ERVs can help maintain (but not reduce) the interior relative humidity as outside air is conditioned by the ERV.).

Are Dew-Point Calculations Really Necessary?

Posted on September 17, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most builders understand that condensation can form when warm, moist air encounters a cold surface. Condensation is bad, and builders want to avoid it. There’s a solution, though: According to building scientists, we can prevent condensation problems in walls by determining a wall’s temperature profile and performing a dew-point calculation. This calculation may require the use of a psychrometric chart.

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