The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Is Bubble Wrap Duct Insulation a Good Idea?

Posted on August 23, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Lora's question seemed innocent enough, but it was enough to touch off a war of words and prove that building science isn't always as dryly academic as you might guess. It can, in fact, get downright cantankerous.

Lora's HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. installer wanted to insulate the ducts in her house with double-wrapped bubble wrap "as a cheaper way to achieve R-6." Fine, she thought, but does the stuff really work?

‘Walls Need to Breathe’ and 9 Other Green Building Myths

Posted on August 20, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Just for fun, I’ve rounded up ten oft-repeated statements that are either half-truths or outright falsehoods. I’m sure some readers will disagree with my conclusions; if you’re one of them, don’t hesitate to post a comment.

My 6th Commandment: Don’t Try to Be Something You’re Not

Posted on August 18, 2010 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

My advice to those involved with residential construction: if you are not sincere in your efforts to be a green builder/remodeler/supplier/architect, don't try to be something you're not. Quit fooling around, get out of the way, and do something you believe in. Otherwise, it will not be long before you are uncovered for what you are.

Everyone wants to go green

More Tips for Improving Mileage

Posted on August 18, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week, I touched on some of the strategies coming out of the “hypermiling” movement to boost automobile fuel economy. Here are a few more:

1. Lighten the load. The more weight we haul around in our cars or trucks, the more energy we use. If you keep sandbags in the bed of your pick-up for winter traction, remove them in the summer. Empty your trunk of those unneeded items you’ve been hauling around.

Vapor Barriers Are a Good Thing, Right?

Posted on August 17, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

At the dawn of our current interest in building science, sheets of polyethylene were routinely stapled to interior framing before drywall was installed. The idea was to block the flow of water vapor into exterior walls. (Some builders tried to make their polyethylene seams airtight, so that the poly would do double duty — acting as an air barrierBuilding assembly components that work as a system to restrict air flow through the building envelope. Air barriers may or may not act as a vapor barrier. The air barrier can be on the exterior, the interior of the assembly, or both. as well as a vapor barrier.)

Installing a vapor barrier (or more properly a vapor retarder) was considered cutting-edge.

Biomass Boilers: A Greener Alternative to Heat the Home?

Posted on August 16, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

For this Green Architects' Lounge podcast, 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—both gasification log boilers and wood pellet boilers. As we did with the Deep Energy Retrofit episode, we've divided the original recording into three blog-size pieces that are better suited for this format.

Comparing Green Building Rating Systems: LEED or NGBS?

Posted on August 16, 2010 by Danny Kelly in Guest Blogs

Two of the green rating programs we’ve mentioned in this blog series are the LEED for HomesLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. program and the National Green Building Standard (NGBSNational Green Building Standard Based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and passed through ANSI. This standard can be applied to both new homes, remodeling projects, and additions. ) developed by NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification.. The intent of these two certification programs is similar.

Saving Energy With Manual J and Manual D

Posted on August 13, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’ve been paying attention to energy-efficiency experts and green-building Web sites, you probably know that it’s important to properly size your HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. equipment. Most sources repeat the same advice: oversized furnaces and air conditioners cost too much, waste energy, and sometimes provide lower levels of comfort.

When is a Window Upgrade Worth the Extra Cost?

Posted on August 12, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

There's no doubt that windows are getting better — much better. The double-glazed, low-eLow-emissivity coating. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Low-e coatings boost a window’s R-value and reduce its U-factor. units that looked so ground-breaking a few years ago seem merely ordinary now that Canadian, European and some U.S. manufacturers are producing high quality triple-glazed units.

Triple-glazed windows offer substantial benefits, including improved indoor comfort and lower energy bills.

But they aren't cheap. Homeowners who are already facing painfully high building costs have to weigh the costs against the benefits. Are triple-glazed windows really worth the added cost?

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