The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Energy Predictions for 2012

Posted on December 30, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

As the sun sets on 2011 and we all turn our eyes to 2012, it’s time for journalists and consultants to publish their predictions for the coming year. I was briefly tempted to create such a list — something along the lines of “energy prices will be higher, the planet will be warmer, and many regions will be affected by drought” — until I remembered that I’ve always been bad at predicting.

For example, back in the late 1970s, I was convinced that energy prices would rise steeply during the 1980s. I was wrong.

Video: A Passivhaus Foundation

Posted on December 29, 2011 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

Scroll down this page to see a construction site video of the Karuna House in Yamhill County, Oregon, showing the installation of capillaryForces that lift water or pull it through porous materials, such as concrete. The tendency of a material to wick water due to the surface tension of the water molecules. break material on top of the footings to prevent moisture from wicking up the foundation walls.

The Karuna House was designed by Holst Architecture and built by Hammer & Hand of Portland, Oregon.

Designing Houses and Communities To Be Smarter and More Resilient

Posted on December 29, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

As we look to create homes and communities that will keep us comfortable and safe in a world of climate change, terrorism, and other vulnerabilities, there are a handful of strategies that I group loosely under the heading of "smarter design." Some of these strategies come into play more at the land-use planning scale, or are relevant only in certain locations that are at risk of flooding, but all are worth thinking about when planning a new home.

Where we build

The Business of Building a ‘Building Business’ — Part 2

Posted on December 28, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

In my last blog, I recommended that we builders should try to build our office team much like we build our construction team. We should move as quickly as possible from doing all the work ourselves to hiring specialty employees and professional partners. (In the field we call them trade contractors).

Lifecycle Building Center Opens in Atlanta

Posted on December 27, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I recently attended the grand opening for the Lifecycle Building Center (LBC), a new non-profit organization focused on building material reuse. The result of long hours of labor by many dedicated people, the LBC’s stated mission is to “make the lifecycle use of the built environment more efficient and sustainable.”

What’s Wrong With This Crawl Space?

Posted on December 26, 2011 by Garrett Mosiman in Guest Blogs

The photo shows an unvented crawl space in a cold climate. The home was built in 1885. This crawl space is attached to an adjacent concrete-floored basement. The foundation walls are made of mortared limestone.

Even in the small area captured in the photo, there are a number of problems that compromise energy efficiency, building durability, and life safety.

Next week, we will post the answers that a Building America team, NorthernStar, came up with.

Payback Calculations for Energy-Efficiency Improvements

Posted on December 23, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you are considering investing in an energy-efficiency improvement for your home — for example, additional attic insulation or a 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. system — you probably expect the investment will lower your energy bills. So it’s only natural to ask, “Is this a good investment?”

For example, let’s say that you are considering spending $5,000 on an improvement that will save you $350 a year on your energy bills. Does the investment make economic sense? The answer, of course, is “it depends.”

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 2

Posted on December 22, 2011 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

Welcome back to the rant! (This is an extended, multi-month rant, in case you were wondering.)

Last month I introduced the “Change Toolkit,” a hierarchy of interventions with Mindset at the top (most effective type of intervention), followed by Processes, then Tools; Technologies (the perennial favorite) resides at the bottom – i.e., it is the least effective change lever in our toolkit for creating higher-performing homes.

Resilience: Designing Homes for More Intense Storms

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Anyone who was in Vermont in late August of this year and witnessed the raging floodwaters from tropical storm Irene gained an intimate view of the vulnerabilities we face from intense storms and flooding. Hundreds of miles of roadway were heavily damaged, dozens of bridges washed away, and some communities were cut off for weeks.

Spending a Day With Energy Policy Geeks

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I recently attended a small, one-day meeting in Atlanta of individuals and organizations involved in energy efficiency throughout the southeast U.S. Hosted by SEEA, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the group responsible for distributing much of the ARRA money for efficiency throughout the region.

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