The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

The Construction Process Part Three – Project Scoping

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

Project scope is a summary of the project, what will be done and what will not. The scope of any project, but particularly affordable housing projects, can be heavily flavored by budget and additional constraints, such as HUD requirements or an increase in the agreed-upon number of units (decreasing the budget for each unit). Integrating, rather than superimposing, green building is key to keeping your scope green.

How is a green project scope different?

Biomass Boilers, Part 2: Taking Wood Hauling Out of the Users' Hands

Posted on September 13, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

For Part Two of this Green Architects' Lounge episode, we are joined once again by our good friend Pat Coon, from Revision Heat, to discuss the topic of biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. boilers. In the second installment of this epic trilogy, Phil, Pat, and I wrap up our discussion of log gasification boilers and introduce our listeners to the concept of wood pellet boilers. If you missed Part One, you might want to give that a listen first, especially since it gives you the recipe for the perfect red Manhattan (which goes very well with this smoky topic).

Is Tripolymer Spray Foam Insulation a Healthy Choice?

Posted on September 13, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

When builders talk about spray-foam insulation, we assume they're referring to a two-part polyurethane compound. But not always, as a recent Q&A demonstrates.

Amanda Cordano launched an interesting but inconclusive conversation when she asked for advice on "Tripolymer product," which had been told was a green product with no health risks.

New Green Building Products — September 2010

Posted on September 10, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

In this new-product roundup, I'll look at a cover for recessed can lights, a new caulk for polyethylene, and several new water-resistive barriers (WRBs) that promise better performance than Tyvek or Typar.

A fire-resistant hat for recessed can lights
A Delaware manufacturer named Tenmat is selling an airtight hat for recessed can lights. Tenmat light covers are made from mineral wool; according to the manufacturer, they are fire-resistant.

Foamglas – My New Favorite Insulation Material

Posted on September 7, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I spend a lot of time studying insulation--which is one of the most important components of any green home or commercial building. I have a new favorite. Foamglas® building insulation has been made by Pittsburgh Corning for many decades and is widely used in Europe. For the past decade or two, however, it has only been actively marketed in North America for industrial applications. (It’s been listed in our GreenSpec Directory as an industrial insulation material for years.)

Green Home Appraisal Woes

Posted on September 7, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Passive solar designs that include generous amounts of insulation can save homeowners a great deal of money in operating costs over the life of the house. But getting banks to approve loans that reflect somewhat higher construction costs can be a struggle, sometimes forcing builders to dial back their plans and deliver a less efficient house.

This dilemma was at the heart of a question from a green builder and the topic of this week's Q&A Spotlight.

Using Rigid Foam As a Water-Resistive Barrier

Posted on September 3, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Do foam-sheathed walls also need housewrap? There’s no simple answer to the question.

It is possible to use foam sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. as a water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB). However, those who choose this route should know:

<

ul>

  • Some brands of foam have been approved for use as a WRB, while others have not.
  • Even if you choose a code-approved foam, you can run afoul of your local building inspector if you don't follow strict fastening and seam-sealing details.
  • How To Combine Board and Batten Siding With Exterior Rigid Foam?

    Posted on September 1, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

    Claire Remsberg, an architect in the Rocky Mountain region, is working on a house where the main goals are to limit thermal bridgingHeat flow that occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss. For example, steel studs in an insulated wall dramatically reduce the overall energy performance of the wall, because of thermal bridging through the steel. through the 2x6 wood frame and to beef up wall R-values. Plans call for vertical wood siding over a layer of rigid foam insulation.

    If that sounds more or less straightforward, the details are not. The contractor has limited experience working with rigid exterior insulation, Remsberg writes, and has concerns that installing siding directly over the foam may not be a great idea.

    Saving Water by Conserving Energy

    Posted on August 31, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

    Last week we examined the amount of energy it takes to transport and treat water — and how we can conserve energy by using less water. This week, we’ll look at the inverse of that: how much water it takes to produce energy and how our energy conservation efforts reduce water use.

    The water intensity of energy

    Can You Heat a House with Air Ducts in a Concrete Floor?

    Posted on August 30, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

    Concrete floors with high thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. are often at the heart of passive solar designs. The density of concrete helps it store thermal energy and helps to reduce uncomfortable swings in indoor temperatures.

    Slabs collect some heat from the sun through south-facing windows, often supplemented by radiant-floor heating systems that use a network of embedded plastic tubing to circulate hot water.

    Register for a free account and join the conversation


    Get a free account and join the conversation!
    Become a GBA PRO!