The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Window Shades, Blinds, and Awnings

Posted on July 27, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Good ways to modify windows to prevent too much solar gain in the summer.

A few weeks ago I told a story in this space that was third-hand from Gordon Hayward. Well, a lot changed in the telling, and Gordon got back to me with what really happened.

Three aunts of a young man from Dorchester, Mass., came up to celebrate his graduation from a Vermont boarding school. They asked Gordon how anyone here ever slept at night: it was so dark and quiet that none of them got a wink. They thought there were at least three bears outside.

An Open Discussion on Closed Crawl Spaces

Posted on July 26, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

This post is just an observation that I hope will stimulate some conversation about the subject of closed crawl spaces. This evolved out of conversations with two builders—one a high-end custom outfit and the other an affordable builder. Both of them had been certifying their homes to EarthCraft House standards and were building with closed crawl spaces. On the same day last week I heard from both builders that they were having moisture problems in their closed crawl spaces, were reluctant to continue building them, and were considering returning to vented designs.

Home Energy Efficiency Pays Steady Dividends

Posted on July 26, 2011 by Ted Clifton in Guest Blogs

Have you taken the time to have a hard discussion with your investment adviser about how you should adjust your investment portfolio as you get closer to retirement age? If you have, he or she probably told you that the closer you are to retirement age, the more secure your investments need to be.

How to Build a ‘Perfect Wall’

Posted on July 25, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Andrew Homoly is building a house in Kansas City, Missouri, and plans to use a “perfect wall” system consisting of 2x6 studs, IcyneneOpen-cell, low-density spray foam insulation that can be used in wall, floor, and roof assemblies. It has an R-value of about 3.6 per inch and a vapor permeability of about 10 perms at 5 inches thick. open-cell foam insulation and an additional 1 1/2-in. layer of rigid foam on the building’s exterior.

His question in this Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor concerns the best way to install window and door flashing, and where to install housewrap.

Lstiburek’s Rules for Venting Roofs

Posted on July 24, 2011 by Joe Lstiburek, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Building Science Fundamentals: Roof, Part 1: Ventilation

By Dr. Joseph Lstiburek

Dr. Joseph Lstiburek talks about the not-so-controversial ways to maximize the efficiency and airflow of your roof and attic.

Video Transcript:
There’s been so much stuff said about roofs that you sometimes lose perspective. I’m going to start off by saying what might seem controversial but really shouldn’t be.

All About Larsen Trusses

Posted on July 22, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A Larsen truss is a type of wall truss used to build a thick wall — thick enough to provide room for above-average amounts of insulation. It was developed in 1981 by John Larsen, a builder in Edmonton, Alberta.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Larsen truss, the time has come for a definitive article on the invention. This report includes an interview with the inventor of the Larsen truss, a history of its use, and a discussion of its advantages and disadvantages.

Job-Site Recycling: Gypsum Wallboard

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

UPDATED 6/21/2012

Everyone knows the environmental benefits of recycling. Turning landfill-clogging debris into useful products is fundamental to green building. Yet recycling construction-site waste is a lot more complicated than recycling household trash.

The construction industry produces a lot of waste: 325 million tons every year, according to the Construction Materials Recycling Association, an industry trade group.

Repaying Debt in an Era of Energy Scarcity

Posted on July 20, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Once upon a time in a village there lived a wise old man. Legend had it that he could answer any question posed to him. A village boy hatched a plan to fool him. He caught a small bird, and approaching the wise old man with the bird in his hands, he asked, "Is this bird dead or alive?"  If the man said it was alive, the boy would secretly break its neck and then reveal it to be dead (or perhaps pining for the fjords). If the man said it was dead, the boy would release it alive from his hands.

Solar Decathlon 2011: Living in a Glass House

Posted on July 19, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

University of Tennessee’s Living Light is among the 2011 Solar Decathlon’s more straightforward expressions of form and function, with heavily glazed north and south walls and a compact, steel-framed rectangular shape that allows it to be lifted onto a set of truck-trailer wheels, coupled to a road tractor, and hauled down the highway like a moving van.

Baby Steps on the Path to High-Performance Homes

Posted on July 18, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

As a consultant (which I recently learned is a euphemism for "unemployed"), I find that my income streams seem to change fairly regularly. One year I do a lot of speaking and teaching, then suddenly most of my work is building certification, and the next year it is something else. I liken my business model to fishing; that is, I eat what I catch. My newest “catch” is performance testing of new homes for energy code compliance.

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