The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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.


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

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, 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.

Top Ten News Stories of the Decade

Posted on December 31, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

For those interested in energy efficiency and residential construction, what were the top ten news stories of the decade? I propose the following list — a list inevitably influenced by the years I spent as editor of Energy Design Update.

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Some energy-saving strategies involve spending money: replacing appliances and lights with more energy-efficient products, tuning up a heating system, and insulating an attic, for example. Other measures don’t require any expenditure at all. Below is my top-ten list of easy, no-cost ways to reduce your energy use. If you’ve been reading my column regularly, these will all be familiar, but since it’s time for New Year’s resolutions maybe a quick review will give you the needed nudge to step up your efforts.

Making Green Mainstream

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

On Wednesday, December 30, 2009, the New York Times headline read “New Slip in Housing Prices Undercuts Fragile Optimism.” As disappointing as that may sound, I think that it is a sign of hope for green building. Sustainable building has suffered too long from slow acceptance. This is due, I believe, in large part to the drunken orgy of real estate speculation we were living through for much of the last 20 years.

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