The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Solar Thermal is Dead

Posted on March 23, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

In the northern half of the U.S. — and even much of the South — installing a residential solar hot water system doesn’t make any sense. It’s time to rethink traditional advice about installing a solar hot water system, because it’s now cheaper to heat water with a photovoltaic (PV) array than solar thermal collectors.

In short, unless you’re building a laundromat or college dorm, solar thermal is dead.

The Revolution in Window Performance — Part 1

Posted on March 22, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I've been working for the past couple weeks on a report on windows — the latest in BuildingGreen's series of special reports on green building (the last one covering insulation). This focus has reminded me just how much we expect of our windows and what an amazing job they do.

Evolving Opinions on Green Building

Posted on March 21, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I still remember using spray foam insulation in my early green renovation projects – it was almost magic! It sealed and insulated in one shot. It made it easy to finish attics and avoid most of the problems with fiberglass batts that were the common insulation on our jobs.

Design for Disassembly

Posted on March 19, 2012 by Vera Novak in Guest Blogs

In his seminal book “Cradle to Cradle,” designer William McDonough advocated that objects should be designed with the end in mind. This has been codified by the EU End-of-Life Directive, which has improved upon the traditional recycling of cars as junk, or co-mingled material.

A Superinsulated House in Rural Minnesota

Posted on March 16, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Electric resistance heating systems have a bad reputation. While the required equipment is cheap (and sometimes cheap-looking), homes with electric heat are known for their high fuel bills.

German Innovation in Solar Water Heating

Posted on March 15, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I was in Boston last week for the annual Building Energy conference, sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Each year this conference provides an opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues, catch up on leading-edge building design, and learn about product innovations in energy conservation and renewable energy.

‘All New Construction and Retrofits Must Be Carbon-Neutral’

Posted on March 14, 2012 by Lenny Antonelli in Green Building Blog

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

How to Choose Insulation

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

[Editor's note:This is an excerpt of the “Insulation and Air Sealing” chapter of Carl's new textbook, Green Building. Carl's publisher, Cenage Learning, has allowed us to make the whole chapter available as a free download.]

Occupant Behavior Makes a Difference

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Energy experts often repeat the cliché, “There’s no such thing as a zero-energy home — just zero-energy homeowners.” Energy monitoring data from two well-publicized Massachusetts homes — the so-called Montague Urban Homestead house in Turners Falls and the home of Matt and Laura Beaton in Shrewsbury — prove the cliché to be true.

Traffic Calming – Saving Lives and Saving Energy

Posted on March 8, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Brattleboro, Vermont hasn't been a good place to be a pedestrian recently. In the past nine months there have been nine accidents in which pedestrians were hit by vehicles, including two fatalities (one immediate and the other from injuries six weeks later).

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