The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Fiberglass versus Cellulose

Posted on March 5, 2012 by Erik North in Guest Blogs

The two least expensive and most commonly used residential insulation are fiberglass and cellulose. Granted, fiberglass is about 50 times more common — but a distant second is still second.

Unless the homeowner opts for spray foam, the insulation choice usually comes down to fiberglass vs. cellulose. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of each one? How are they similar and how are they different?

The High Cost of Deep-Energy Retrofits

Posted on March 2, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

How much does it cost to perform a deep-energy retrofit at a 100-year-old single-family home? Thanks to a recent study in Utica, New York, we now know the answer: about $100,000.

The research was sponsored by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), an agency that administers programs funded by public benefit charges tacked onto electric utility bills. The program paid for deep-energy retrofits at four wood-framed buildings in Utica, New York.

How Much Insulation Is Enough?

Posted on March 1, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I'm often asked the question, "How much insulation should I install in my house"? It's a great question. Let me offer some recommendations:

First of all... it depends. It depends to a significant extent on where you live. And it depends on whether we're talking about a new house or trying to squeeze insulation into an existing house.

To simplify the discussion, let's assume, for the time being, that we're talking about new construction

What’s the Difference Between the Energy Code and the DEA?

Posted on February 29, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the poor state of energy code enforcement and its effect on building performance. The rules are there, but not enough people are following them. This misbehavior leads to excessive energy use, providing support to the energy and utility industries, and does nothing to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.

The Pretty Good House, Part 2

Posted on February 28, 2012 by michael maines in Guest Blogs

What is truly important when designing and building a green home? Some of the many existing programs don’t go far enough, some are accused of going too far, and some just miss the mark. What should be included in a Pretty Good House?

What’s the Best Approach for a Rainscreen?

Posted on February 27, 2012 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Aaron Vander Meulen is building a house whose exterior walls will consist of 2x4 framing with cellulose insulationThermal insulation made from recycled newspaper or other wastepaper; often treated with borates for fire and insect protection., bracing, 2 in. of extruded polystyrene (XPSExtruded polystyrene. Highly insulating, water-resistant rigid foam insulation that is widely used above and below grade, such as on exterior walls and underneath concrete floor slabs. In North America, XPS is made with ozone-depleting HCFC-142b. XPS has higher density and R-value and lower vapor permeability than EPS rigid insulation.) foam, furring strips and, finally, Extira siding, an exterior grade wood composite.

Meulen is leaning toward horizontal rather than vertical furring strips because they’ll make it easier to install the 2-ft. by 4 ft. panels.

Carl and Abe Write a Textbook

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Carl Seville, this website’s resident green building curmudgeon and blogger, has teamed up with Abe Kruger, an energy rater and BPI Building Analyst, to write a new textbook, Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction.

Good News Bad News With Climate Change

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

During these spring-like days in mid-February in Vermont, it's hard not to think about climate change. It's been reaching the mid- and upper-40s over the past few weeks in a winter that really isn't. Yes, this particular year might be an anomaly (after all, Europe is experiencing record cold this winter), but increasingly, scientists believe the long-term trend is clearly warming.

Summertime, and the Living is Easy

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

You may or may not be aware of this, but I have spent much of the last three years writing Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, the first textbook on residential green building, with my friend and associate Abe Kruger. It was finally published in January, and as of February 4th, we were ranked as high as 192,000 on Amazon’s bestseller list!

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 4

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

In days of yore, buildings were designed and built by master builders. These were people who spent their whole lives learning about buildings by creating them – from idea to reality – working side by side with others, many of whom who had more experience than they did. That’s how they eventually achieved mastery. Practice, repetition, and observation of everything to do with the building’s creation.

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