The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Wood Stoves: Safety First

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Nobody speaks of this contest but everybody knows who’s winning. It’s how we get out the competitive impulse in rural Vermont: we race to have the neatest woodpile. Admit it: even as you’re reading this, saying “that’s not me,” you’re mentally comparing your woodpile with the neighbor’s.

One Fine Day With a Ventilation Expert

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

I had the pleasure of attending an all-day seminar in Atlanta recently by Gord Cooke, one of the rock stars of the building science community. I have known him for a while and heard him speak a few times in the past, but was unaware of his close connection with the ventilation industry.

Is There Such a Thing as a Perfect Building Envelope?

Posted on October 17, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Is there such a thing as a perfect building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials.? One that could be mass-produced from readily available materials, and be appropriate for 90% of all new homes?

Andrew Homoly thinks he’s found one, as he explains in this Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor.

Keeping Ducts Indoors

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you live in New England, you know that furnaces are installed in basements. But any New Englander who moves to Oregon soon learns that furnaces are installed in garages. And anyone who retires to Texas discovers that furnaces are installed in unconditioned attics.

Of course, there are many other examples of similar regional differences in construction practices. But this is one regional difference that matters. New Englanders have it right: furnaces and ductwork belong inside a home’s conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. , not in the great outdoors.

How To Do Everything

Posted on October 14, 2011 by GBA Team in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A collection of links to dozens of
“How To” articles, culled from
Martin Holladay’s Energy Nerd blogs

UPDATED on May 20, 2016

How to Get Good Blower-Door Results

Posted on October 13, 2011 by Ted Clifton in Guest Blogs

Our development company has been working with several builders, including our own parent company, to determine the factors that affect our blower-door testTest used to determine a home’s airtightness: a powerful fan is mounted in an exterior door opening and used to pressurize or depressurize the house. By measuring the force needed to maintain a certain pressure difference, a measure of the home’s airtightness can be determined. Operating the blower door also exaggerates air leakage and permits a weatherization contractor to find and seal those leakage areas. results.

The following list includes things we have learned to do, and things we have learned not to do, to achieve an optimal blower door test result. (We aim to achieve the PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard of 0.6 ach50.)

Top 10 Green Building Products for 2011

Posted on October 12, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

It is well understood that formations of flying geese ride on a wave of air piloted by the leader of the group. As described in the excellent book “Sensitive Chaos,” by Theodor Schwenk, “The beats of their wings follow the ups and downs of the wave and simply make visible what, as a vibrating aerial form, surrounds and bears them all in the arrow formation.”

Affordable Housing is Leading Green Building

Posted on October 11, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I recently learned that in Georgia, as well as much of the rest of the country, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), the fuel that drives much of the affordable housing industry, strongly encourages green building certification for projects that obtain these credits. Without this connection to tax credits, we would see many fewer certified green homes and apartments, and these affordable developers would not be the leaders in green building that they are today.

Are Blower-Door Regulations Too Big a Burden?

Posted on October 10, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Building tight houses is a fundamental step toward energy efficiency, and figuring out how well you’ve done is actually pretty simple.

Air leakage is calculated with a blower-door testTest used to determine a home’s airtightness: a powerful fan is mounted in an exterior door opening and used to pressurize or depressurize the house. By measuring the force needed to maintain a certain pressure difference, a measure of the home’s airtightness can be determined. Operating the blower door also exaggerates air leakage and permits a weatherization contractor to find and seal those leakage areas.. A technician depressurizes the house with a blower sealed into a doorway and measures how much air can pass through the building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials..

Day Three at GreenBuild: John Picard’s Vision of the Future

Posted on October 8, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Have you ever paid $8 for a movie ticket and still had to sit through commercial messages in the theater before they showed the main feature?

Commercial messages are an established part of the American way of doing business, and we’ve all learned how to sit through them when necessary. The same rules apply at a major conference like GreenBuild as at your local Cineplex. Even if you pay $700 for a ticket, you still have to sit through a few ads.

At national conferences, some speakers are invited because they are experts in their field. Others buy their way on stage.

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