The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

A Green Remodeling Training Project

Posted on April 25, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Looking through the April issue of Remodeling magazine (after reading my own column in the issue), I ran across an article about John Tabor, a remodeler who used an addition to his own home to learn about green building and train his crews on technologies that they had not yet used.

How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 1

Posted on April 20, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

I’m going to devote the next several blogs to a discussion of heat-loss and heat-gain calculations. These calculations are the first step in the design of a home’s heating and cooling system.

In order to address this big topic in little bites, I’ll start by discussing heat-loss calculations. I’ll get around to heat-gain calculations and cooling equipment in a future blog.

Cutting-Edge Windows that Can Be Tinted on Demand

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I've examined state-of-the-art windows and glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. systems over the past four weeks. This week, I'll cover an innovative product that may help define the state-of-the-future: a dynamic glazing called SageGlass that can be tinted on demand. To understand what's so exciting about such a product, let's look at conventional high-performance windows.

Can Vinyl Siding be Applied Over Furring Strips?

Posted on April 18, 2012 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Wall assemblies that incorporate rigid foam insulation over exterior sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. , followed by furring strips and siding, are becoming common. The extra layer of insulation helps reduce thermal bridgingHeat flow that occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss. For example, steel studs in an insulated wall dramatically reduce the overall energy performance of the wall, because of thermal bridging through the steel. through wood framing, and the furring strips create a ventilation space behind the siding that promotes drying.

Why Range Hoods Don’t Work

Posted on April 17, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Last month at ACI in Baltimore I attended an interesting session about range hoods. It was chock-full of useful information and very well presented (often a hit-or-miss proposition at many conferences).

I was planning on waiting until the slides were available online, but I’m anxious to share this information. I will update this post when I have a link available.

Heat-Pump Water Heaters Come of Age

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The least expensive way to heat domestic hot water is with natural gas. Homes without access to natural gas usually choose an electric water heater, since electricity is generally cheaper than propane.

Window Performance 4 — Dealing with Edge Losses

Posted on April 12, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Over the last three weeks I've focused on the major strategies for improving the energy performance of windows: adding extra layers of glass, increasing the thickness of the airspace between the layers of glass, adding low-emissivityAmount of heat radiation emitted from a particular body or material. Emissivity is expressed in a fraction or ratio, with the lowest values indicating low emissivity and the highest indicating the high emissivity of flat black surfaces. coatings, and replacing air with a low-conductivity gas fill. These strategies all help to reduce heat flow through an insulating glass unit (IGU), and if we do a really good job with these strategies we can achieve center-of-glass R-values of R-5 or higher.

How Much Air Leakage in Your Home Is Too Much?

Posted on April 10, 2012 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Whether you want to build a new home or fix an old one, the way to ensure that you get the best performance is to do the building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. right. That means installing the right amount of insulation and installing it well, and it means having 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. with minimal leakage. But how do you know when you've done enough air sealing? How tight is tight enough?

A Recap of ACI’s 2012 National Conference

Posted on April 9, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

The 2012 ACI National Home Performance Conference was held in Baltimore at the end of March, and was yet again another marathon geekfest. With almost twenty concurrent sessions running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by more sessions lasting until 8 p.m., it is a feat of endurance to attend this almost week-long event.

This year there appeared to be an underground movement (Twitter handle: #ACIafterdark) that threw late-night parties, although I never managed to figure out where they were.

Heat-pump water heaters

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