The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Solar Decathlon 2011: Appalachian State’s Solar Homestead

Posted on February 15, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

To the extent they try to squeeze a lot of innovation into small packages, all Solar Decathlon entries reflect a pioneering spirit. But Appalachian State University’s entry, the Solar Homestead, also reflects homebuilding strategies that arose from the pioneering spirit of an entirely different era – that of Appalachia’s early settlers, whose houses and outbuildings were designed to help them cope with isolation and wilderness conditions in the mountains of North Carolina.

2011 Solar Decathlon Resource Guide

Posted on February 14, 2011 by GBA Team in 2011 Solar Decathlon

The Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, which launched in 2002 and will present its fifth competition in 2011, is one of the world’s most instructive and rigorous academic competitions. Twenty teams of college students design, build, and operate small solar-powered houses that they will transport, often as modules or collapsed panels, to the Decathlon site. There, they will reconstruct their houses and prepare them for visitors and judges.

New Urbanist Andres Duany Lashes Out at LEED

Posted on February 14, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

As quoted in an online article, Andres Duany, one of the founders and leaders of the New Urbanist movement, both predicts a decline in LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. certifications and argues against excessive regulation of development. Now, those who follow my posts know I am not the biggest fan of LEED. While it's well intentioned, I think LEED, like most green building programs, is flawed and long overdue for some major revisions.

Right Idea, Wrong Result: A Cellulose Insulation Job Goes Off Track

Posted on February 14, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jason Shapiro took the plunge and invested in more insulation for his house: blown cellulose for his attic and dense-packed cellulose in the exterior walls. No doubt he'd like to be enjoying a warmer house and lower energy bills. Instead, he's dealing with a mess.

Sunspaces - Solar Heat and a Place to Grow Plants

Posted on February 11, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Way back in the late 1970s, I worked for the New Mexico Solar Energy Association in Santa Fe. I ran the Workshop Program, leading a crew of three or four like-mined idealists teaching mostly low-income New Mexicans about solar energy through hands-on construction workshops. We primarily built attached solar greenhouses, or sunspaces — structures that provide not only passive solar heat to the adjoining house, but also a place to grow seedlings or house plants.

Superinsulated House Specs

Posted on February 11, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Designing a superinsulated house can be tough. How much insulation should you install under a slab? Should your walls be sheathed with rigid foam, or should you go with double-stud walls? Could SIP(SIP) Building panel usually made of oriented strand board (OSB) skins surrounding a core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation. SIPs can be erected very quickly with a crane to create an energy-efficient, sturdy home. walls save you money? Does the added cost of triple 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. make sense?

New 2011 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria

Posted on February 11, 2011 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

Our team here at Enterprise Green Communities is elated to present the 2011 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. The Enterprise Green Communities Criteria contain detailed information that address aspects of design, development and operations. The Criteria are grouped into the following eight categories:

• Integrative Design
• Location and Neighborhood Fabric
• Site Improvements
• Water Conservation
• Energy Efficiency
• Materials Beneficial to the Environment
• Healthy Living Environment
• Operations and Maintenance

How to Sell Green Upgrades: Tankless Water Heaters

Posted on February 8, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

If you do not already include tankless water heaters as part of the signature features in your homes and remodels, you should at least understand why so many folks are in love with the benefits. The reasons just may surprise you — and hopefully motivate you to learn how to sell more of them and how to better satisfy your clients.

When I sell tankless water heaters, I do not sell them based on their perceived water efficiency or that they provide instant hot water. In fact those are myths that I usually have to dispel first before talking about their benefits.

How to Insulate a Slab Foundation—With Straw-Bales?

Posted on February 7, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Superinsulated houses need insulation under the slab as well as in the walls and roof, and the most common choice for sub-slab insulation is rigid foam.

Things I Learned in the Great White North

Posted on February 5, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Although I grew up in New York and attended college in New England, I have lived in the South for more than 30 years and have become physically acclimated to warmer weather and more accustomed to local building practices. My moderate-climate building experience is what leads me to speak up frequently about the fact that much of the information on GBA, as well as in the building science community as a whole, tends to be cold climate focused.

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