The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Recycling Vinyl Siding

Posted on March 10, 2011 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

In 1998, while at the NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification. Reseach Center, I worked on a vinylCommon term for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In chemistry, vinyl refers to a carbon-and-hydrogen group (H2C=CH–) that attaches to another functional group, such as chlorine (vinyl chloride) or acetate (vinyl acetate). siding recycling project in Grand Rapids, MI. It was pretty simple: siding installers stuffed their cut-off waste into the long cardboard boxes the new siding came in, and back-hauled both to the same place they bought their vinyl siding stock. There, the vinyl cut-offs were placed in one container and the cardboard in another. The vinyl cut-offs were baled and when a 40,000-pound load was accumulated, a plastics broker would negotiate a price for the tractor-trailer load.

Recycling vinyl siding

How to Sell Green Upgrades: Energy Audits

Posted on March 9, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

Before I move onto the topic du jour, How to Sell Energy Audits, I want to remind my readers of the context of this series. Remember, when I talk of selling various green options, they are always sold in the context of the house we are building or remodeling.

Solar Decathlon 2011: New Zealand Vacation Cabins Inspire Designers

Posted on March 8, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

For many New Zealanders, forging a close connection between one’s home and its environment is more than an afterthought. While that is partly because the island nation is such a beautiful place, it's also because the New Zealand climate is generally mild and sunny.

LEED for Homes Online Scoring Tool Needs a Lot More Work

Posted on March 7, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

The USGBC just released its online scoring tool for LEED for Homes, a much-anticipated advance in the program. After months of announcements and requests for people to sign up, the tool was finally available to the public on February 28th. I took some time to run through it, and I can report there are things to like about it, but it needs a lot more work to be truly useful.

How to Calculate the Value of Energy Improvements

Posted on March 7, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Adding more insulation, replacing an inefficient furnace, or performing air-sealing measures are oft-recommended strategies for lowering energy consumption and saving money.

Aaron Vander Meulen puts his finger on a key issue, however, when he wonders whether there is a way of determining exactly how much money improvements such as these will save.

Location Efficiency

Posted on March 4, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

We spend a lot of time and money making our homes more energy efficient. Whether adding insulation, upgrading windows, replacing incandescent light bulbs, or replacing appliances, our efforts to use less energy save us money and help the environment. But what about where we live?

The Energy Star Homes Program Raises the Bar with Version 3

Posted on March 4, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Beginning on January 1, 2012, homes enrolled in the Energy Star HomesA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to promote the construction of new homes that are at least 15% more energy-efficient than homes that minimally comply with the 2004 International Residential Code. Energy Star Home requirements vary by climate. program will need to comply with a new specification — dubbed Energy Star Version 3 — that is stricter than the current Version 2 specification.

Solar Decathlon 2011: Middlebury College’s Self-Reliance House

Posted on March 1, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

The individualist spirit that became Ralph Waldo Emerson’s calling card found a home at the 2011 Solar Decathlon when the team representing Middlebury College decided to name its entry Self-Reliance, after the title of one of Emerson’s most famous essays on the virtues and challenges of independent thought, originality, and action. Not surprisingly, the name is intended to be more than a tribute to one of New England’s best-known philosophers. The Middlebury team wants the project to bring Emersonian ideals to life.

Creating an Urban Oasis: A Green Live-Work Space Blooms on a Gritty City Lot

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Mike Litchfield in Guest Blogs

One of the great tests of green building will be how well it thrives in inner cities and other inhospitable environments. To put his green beliefs to the test, contractor Stephen Shoup bought a woodshop in a marginal neighborhood of Oakland, Calif., and converted it into a work-live space that housed both him and his design-build business, buildingLab. It was a tight fit; his living room frequently doubled as a lounge for his crews — but it worked while he was single.

How to Insulate a Cathedral Ceiling with Mineral Wool

Posted on February 28, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

John Roy is building a house in southeastern Massachusetts, and at least part of it will have a cathedral ceiling. He's thinking of insulating the ceiling with dense-packed rock wool.

The president of a local insulation company tells him there's no need to install air chutes in the rafter bays before the insulation is blown in because the insulation does not absorb water. The local building inspector is prepared to go along with the recommendation providing soffit vents are installed.

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