The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Solar Decathlon 2011: Purdue University’s INhome

Posted on April 5, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

Like most projects heading for the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C., Purdue University’s INhome is designed to address regional climate conditions and cultural expectations.

ACI 2011 National Home Performance Conference Wrap-Up

Posted on April 5, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

The ACI National Home Performance Conference was held in San Francisco, March 28-April 1, and I attended for the fourth consecutive year. It was my second year presenting. As this was the 25th anniversary of the event, I am still very much a newbie to this crowd, but now that I know many of the major players and have earned at least a little respect in the industry, I felt pretty comfortable. As always, ACI was a major geek fest with what appeared to be hundreds of different educational sessions running from 8 a.m.

How Much Radiation Does It Take 2 Kilomockingbird?

Posted on April 4, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

What is the measure of the time between slipping on a peel and hitting the pavement?

One bananosecond.

What is the ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter?

Eskimo pi.

What is the metric equivalent of 1,000 aches?

1 megahurtz.

What is the metric equivalent of 2,000 mockingbirds?

2 kilomockingbirds.

How to Keep Garage Fumes Out of the House

Posted on April 4, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jack Woolfe wants to build a small, airtight house with an attached garage. The house will have an exhaust-only ventilationMechanical ventilation system in which one or more fans are used to exhaust air from a house and make-up air is supplied passively. Exhaust-only ventilation creates slight depressurization of the home; its impact on vented gas appliances should be considered. system, meaning the system will expel stale air from the house without providing a specific source for replacement air.

That's one of several options for whole-house ventilation, but Woolfe is weighing the possible risks.

Are Passivhaus Requirements Logical or Arbitrary?

Posted on April 1, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

What follows is a reconstruction of Martin Holladay’s keynote address at the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Northwest conference in Olympia, Washington, on March 18, 2011. The piece has been fleshed out somewhat, in light of the fact that the original time constraints no longer apply. For the most part, each paragraph corresponds to one slide of the accompanying PowerPoint presentation.

Click here to view the presentation slides

Are Passivhaus requirements logical or arbitrary?

A Passivhaus Rebuttal: In Defense of the Standard

Posted on April 1, 2011 by mike eliason in Guest Blogs

By Mike Eliason

To preface: these thoughts are my own and draw from the Certified PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Consultant training, studying European Passivhaus projects (occasionally documented on our blog), modeling projects and dissecting PHPP with my brute force collaborative cohort, Aaron Yankauskas. They are in no way endorsed by PHIUS, PHnw, PHA or the PHI in Darmstadt…

Blog Review: Brute Force Collaborative

Posted on March 31, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

One of the most appealing things about the web are the unplanned side trips you take on the way to somewhere else, which is how I found myself at Brute Force Collaborative, a blog with a special focus on PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. projects.

BFC is the work of two Passivhaus designers, Michael Eliason and Aaron Yankauskas, who went to school together at Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and then worked for a time in Germany. Both eventually settled in Seattle.

Solar Decathlon 2011: Parsons and Stevens Institute Team Up

Posted on March 29, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

As the Solar Decathlon has evolved, the intended users of the homes in the competition have increasingly, even if only tacitly, become partners in shaping the finished products. Many Decathlon entries are not only climate-specific, they are designed to reflect regional architecture and to accommodate local culture and customs. Empowerhouse is one such entry, with design and performance features targeted for a specific lot and community environment in Washington, D.C.

Passivhaus, Part 1: Concepts and Basics

Posted on March 29, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

There's a perceptible buzz in the air about the PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard within the green building community. In fact, it's becoming downright inescapable in these hallowed halls, forums, blogs, and seminars. So naturally it's time for the less-than-hallowed reaches of the blogosphere, such as the Green Architects' Lounge, to jump in and join the conversation.

Nuclear Meltdown in Japan and Our Energy Future

Posted on March 28, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

The two parents have their backs to the camera, ten feet away. The father is standing, and the mother crouching, both looking into what looks like a tangled pile of debris, but which (we are told by the photo caption) is a vehicle in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. The body of their daughter, killed by the tsunami, is trapped inside. I can only imagine the grief on their faces and in their hearts.

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