The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

New Lighting for Historic Covered Bridge

Posted on June 29, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

One of Vermont’s longest and most treasured covered bridges now has the newest, most environmentally responsible lighting. This past weekend, the 267-foot West Dummerston Covered Bridge (the longest operating covered bridge fully within Vermont), built in 1872 by Caleb Lamsom and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was fitted with state-of-the-art LED lighting.

Green Specifications

Posted on June 29, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

Once you have selected your green building products, it would be great if you could simply tell everyone, “Here—use these.” But it is rarely that simple. Everyone has project documentation that serves three purposes: getting everyone on the same page (literally), delivering information for bidding, and establishing binding trade contracts.

How do selections, scopes of work, and specifications fit together?

Whether Wood Weathers

Posted on June 28, 2010 by Peter Yost in Building Science

The weathering of wood is very different from decay; weathering is breakdown at the surface only. While there are a number of forces that contribute to weathering of wood—moisture, temperature, abrasion by wind-borne particles, air pollution—it’s the narrow band of high-energy ultraviolet light in sunlight that is the dominant force (see Image #1).

What bare wood looks like when cut or milled

Green Building Programs Got Some ’Splainin’ to Do

Posted on June 26, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Much of my work these days is certifying homes under 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. , EarthCraft, 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., and the National Green Building Program (NGBP). My day-to-day work includes energy modeling and site inspections, but I find that I spend most of my time explaining and interpreting the different programs to builders, telling them what to do to achieve certification. Each program has minimum requirements, all slightly different. These requirements are not always straightforward or intuitive, and most builders struggle to do them right.

What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?

Posted on June 26, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

I recently heard that a good blog is like a red party dress: long enough to cover the important parts, but short enough to maintain one's attention.

By that measure, the Green Architects' Lounge podcast episodes are like royal wedding gowns with long trains that flow down the aisle. This is great if you like wedding gowns, but ...

Because we feel that many short dresses are better than a single long one, we've decided to divide our episodes into smaller, more manageable parts, and release them with greater frequency.

(Time to switch metaphors...)

Five Energy Nerd Classics

Posted on June 25, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Martin will be back soon. Honest.

Until next Friday, please enjoy some classic Energy Nerd columns from the early days of Green Building Advisor.

Energy Use Is the Most Important Aspect of Green Building
Here, Martin sticks a stake in the ground and takes a stand on what really matters in Green Building.

Slums of the Future
Do the McMansion developments of the housing boom represent tomorrow's slums?

Simplicity Versus Complexity
How to design a heating system: Keep it simple.

Understanding R-Value

Pressure Reducing Valves Save Water and Prevent Problems

Posted on June 24, 2010 by Peter Yost in Water Efficiency

What is a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)?

Can Exterior Foam Insulation Cause Mold and Moisture Problems?

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Many builders add one or more layers of rigid foam insulation to the outside of a house to lower heat losses. Rigid insulation has an R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of up to 6.5 per inch, but it also can be an effective vapor retarder.

Ed Welch touched off an extended discussion in the Green Building Advisor's Q&A section when he asked whether the foam would trap moisture inside walls, creating mold as well as the potential for structural decay.

Saving Energy by Recycling

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

While our homes and cars get most of the attention relative to energy savings, our materials stream also has a huge impact on energy use. Nationally, the U.S. generates about 236 million tons of municipal solid waste each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That works out to about 4 pounds of waste for every American every day.

How to Solve the Energy Puzzle

Posted on June 21, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has generated endless news stories and opinion pieces on the state of our energy industry and how to “fix” it. Most of the conversations address two key points: independence from foreign oil and alternative energy. Strategies on the first point tend to be limited to expanding domestic drilling capacity. Regarding alternatives, suggestions range from wind and solar to nuclear, biomass, and clean coal. What I find most troubling is that there is so little discussion of conservation.

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