The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

EnerPHit — The Passive House Approach to Deep Retrofit

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Lenny Antonelli in Green Building Blog

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

Window-Mounted Air Conditioners Save Energy

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Window-mounted air conditioners (also called room air conditioners) aren’t particularly efficient; the best available models have an EEREnergy-efficiency rating or energy-efficiency ratio. As most commonly used, EER is the operating efficiency of a room air conditioner, measured in Btus of cooling output divided by the power consumption in watt-hours; the higher the EER, the greater the efficiency. of about 10 or 11. Central air conditioners (also called whole-house air conditioners or split-system air conditioners) are significantly more efficient; it’s possible to buy one with an EER of 14 or even 15.

So if you care about energy efficiency, you should use a central air conditioner, not a window air conditioner — right? Well, not necessarily.

Cool Window and Glazing Products from the AIA Convention

Posted on May 24, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I just spent three days at the American Institute of Architects annual convention in Washington, DC, including a fair amount of time at the massive trade show there. I didn’t make it all the way through the acres of exhibits over the eight hours or so I walked the floor, but I saw some really interesting products. I’m highlighting here a few of the 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.-related products I found.

Cool Tool for Duct Testing

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Some days I like my work, and some days I don’t, but I guess that’s just the way the world is. This love/hate relationship really rears its ugly head when I have to go out and do blower door and Duct BlasterCalibrated air-flow measurement system developed to test the airtightness of forced-air duct systems. All outlets for the duct system, except for the one attached to the duct blaster, are sealed off and the system is either pressurized or depressurized; the work needed by the fan to maintain a given pressure difference provides a measure of duct leakage. testing on homes. It’s not one of my favorite things to do, but if the weather’s nice and the drive’s not to far, it can end up being a good, and reasonably profitable, day.

Staying Cool with a Metal Roof

Posted on May 21, 2012 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

David Martin is intrigued with the idea of replacing his existing roof with a standing-seam metal roof. It should last longer than the alternatives, he says, and it would be compatible with photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. panels should he decide to add them in the future.

So what’s the issue?

David Martin is troubled by some of the advertising claims he’s seen about metal roofing, specifically a statement from the Metal Roofing Alliance that a “cool metal roof can save 25% in energy costs compared to a dark grey asphalt shingle.”

Choosing an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

Posted on May 18, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Because federal appliance efficiency standards have gotten more stringent, new refrigerators use much less energy than those sold in the 1970s. These days, it’s fairly easy to find a full-size refrigerator that requires only 350 to 500 kWh per year — significantly less than the 1,000 kWh/year energy hogs of yore.

Getting Around Without Fossil Fuels

Posted on May 17, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week I laid out some arguments on why we should wean ourselves from fossil fuels, and offered some suggestions of how we could go about doing that in our homes — by superinsulating, switching to oil- and gas-free heating, and converting to renewable electricity. Those steps certainly aren’t easy or inexpensive, but there’s a pretty clear path for doing so.

We Are the 99% — AND the 1%

Posted on May 16, 2012 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

We're making progress! With the all the emphasis on energy codes and energy efficiency programs like Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. New Homes, more homes are getting Manual J heating and cooling load calculations these days. The intent is for the heating and cooling systems to be sized properly because oversized systems have problems (poor dehumidification, short cycling...).

The Green Architects Chat With John Straube

Posted on May 14, 2012 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

Phil and I have long been fans of building science guru John Straube. So we were very pleased to have him as a guest on our podcast, and to bend his ear a bit on some of his views on green building.

Unfortunately, because we were unable to schedule a good time to record during the evening, we recorded in the morning. So the live libation of cocktails is absent from this episode. Sadly, the satisfying clink of our glasses has been replaced with a pathetic clunk of our coffee mugs. But not to worry—we've still managed to maintain our casual demeanor and include a cocktail and a song.

When Do I Need to Perform a Load Calculation?

Posted on May 11, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

In my last three blogs, I discussed the basics of heat-loss and cooling load calculations. The unfortunate truth about these calculations is that fast methods aren’t particularly accurate, and accurate methods require making measurements, checking specifications, and entering data into a computer program — in other words, a significant investment of time.

So how should builders go about making these calculations?

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