The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Are You a Green Building Geek, Nerd, Dork, or Dweeb?

Posted on November 8, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

I hear a lot of people call themselves building science geeks, energy nerds, green building dorks, HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. dweebs, weatherization wonks, and policy poindexters. (It's true! Some of them are imaginary people in my mind and some are aliens, but they really do say that.) What I see, though, is that most such people seem to throw these words around without understanding which is which and how dorks and nerds and geeks and dweebs differ.

Guardian Fiberglass Threatens Blogger With Legal Action

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

UPDATED 11/8/2011: Guardian Building Products has apologized to Allison Bailes. See full information at the end of the article.

On October 19, 2011, blogger Allison Bailes, a frequent contributor to GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com, posted a blog on his Energy Vanguard website about the difficulty of installing fiberglass batts well. You can read his excellent blog here: A Visual Guide to Why Fiberglass Batt Insulation Underperforms.

BEopt Software Has Been Released to the Public

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

UPDATED February 1, 2012

In 2004, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed BEopt, a software program that finds the least-cost solution to designing a zero-energy house. Now that the software developers — a team that includes Craig Christensen and Scott Horowitz — have spent seven years improving the program, it has finally been released to the public. The development of BEopt was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Advice from a Homeowner

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Alana Shindler in Guest Blogs

Working at Home Energy magazine would seem to have prepared me for having an energy-efficiency retrofit done on my own home, or at least to ask all the right questions. But Murphy’s Law intruded nevertheless, and you may learn from my experience.

Blog Review: Green Building in Denver

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Kevin Dickson was an early convert to solar energy. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1977, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and solar technology from Colorado State University in 1979. In the early 1980s, he was involved in hundreds of solar thermal systems and received several design patents.

Top 10 Air Leaks in Existing Homes — Part 1

Posted on November 2, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Whenever we’re working on the outside of a home—the roofing, siding, or site—my uncle Chris will remind me to think like a drop of water. Mentally tracing how a raindrop is likely to travel down a building, and including details to move it off and away, is a simple exercise that is too often ignored.

Today, though, we’re going to talk not about water but about air. I have a new exercise to propose to Chris: think like a wisp of air.

An Energy-Auditing Class in Montana

Posted on November 1, 2011 by Kathy Price-Robinson in Guest Blogs

When I arrive for the five-day energy-auditing course at the Pure Energy Center in eastern Montana, I see instructor A. Tamasin Sterner outside the main house, clapping her hands and doing a little dance.

If you know Tamasin, a veteran energy auditor who famously counseled President Obama on the need for weatherization programs, you expect this show of exuberance.

Rail-Volution: A Conference For Mass-Transit Wonks

Posted on November 1, 2011 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

“Rail-Volution.” The first time I heard the made-up word, I giggled and immediately had to know what it meant.

Well, I quickly found out: it is an annual conference focusing on building livable transit communities. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not attend this year’s conference, nor have I ever been. And, I admit that I fell in love with Portland before I had ever been there because I had studied its transit system in grad school and am outright obsessed with Portland now that I have actually experienced their transit.

Can Cellulose be Used in an Unvented Roof?

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Dean Manoogian has a Cape Cod style house in Portland, Maine, and is puzzling over the best way to retrofit the roof with rigid foam insulation.

Working with both an insulation company and a roofing contractor, Manoogian has come up with a plan: apply 2-in. rigid foam on the interior of the dormered roof and then fill the rafter bays with dense-packed cellulose.

Scary Stories for Halloween

Posted on October 28, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

What’s scary for a green builder? Mold in the crawl space?

Naw — mold is a routine problem. What’s really scary is the end of the world as we know it.

A decade or two ago, the end of the world as we know it was a matter of concern for a few nutty survivalists in Idaho. Now it is a matter of discussion at academic conferences.

Several mechanisms have been proposed for the coming economic collapse. Some are based on New Age nonsense, while others are based on hard science.

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