The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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.

Disappointing Energy Savings for Energy Star Homes

Posted on February 25, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’re interested in residential energy efficiency, you’re probably familiar with the marketing pitch of the EPA’s 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.

Among the program’s claims:

Green Building Programs: Time for a Do-Over?

Posted on February 24, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I’ve been involved with green building certification programs for about 10 years now, starting with my work with Southface and the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association in developing the EarthCraft Renovation program.

Direct-Gain Passive Solar Heating

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Over the past two weeks I've written about two relatively obscure passive solar heating strategies: isolated gain using sunspaces; and indirect gain using a Trombe walls. This week I'll cover a far more common and cost-effective approach: direct-gain.

My Forays Into Multifamily Affordable Housing

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

After a decades-long career in high-end, single-family renovation and construction, and a relatively new business providing consulting and certification services for the same market, I recently became involved in several multifamily projects. Starting with National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification on a market-rate apartment building that was completed in 2010, I am now in the early stages of LEED certification for several affordable projects throughout the southeast.

Blog Review: Kitchen-Exchange

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Peggy Deras is a certified kitchen designer and certified interior designer in the San Francisco Bay area who launched her Kitchen-Exchange blog as a companion to her Web site, Kitchen Artworks.

Home Energy Monitoring, Part 3: The Wrap-Up

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

In this final part of the episode, Phil and I continue our chat with Peter Troast of Energy Circle about home energy monitoring. We conclude this epic trilogy by discussing:

  • Cost. How much are these systems going to set you back?
  • Renewables. These are the perfect tools for monitoring the generation of electricity by your installed renewables too.
  • Solar Decathlon 2011: Team Canada's Turtle-like TRTL

    Posted on February 22, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

    The path to Solar Decathlon 2011 for Team Canada – an interdisciplinary group of students from the University of Calgary – cuts through the prairie of southern Alberta and incorporates the culture and traditions of the area’s indigenous people, the Treaty 7 First Nations of Alberta.

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