The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

SWEET! S.E. Weatherization Energy Efficiency Training Center Opens

Posted on October 27, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Southface Energy Institute recently held a grand-opening ceremony for its new Southeast Weatherization Energy Efficiency Training Center, nicknamed the SWEET Center.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 1: The Basics

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

If you've done any amount of research on ground source heat pumps, chances are that you've heard from people who say that you'd be insane to consider them as a viable system for your house—AND you've heard from others who say you'd be insane NOT to use them.

Where insanity and green architecture meet, you shall find Phil and me mixing a Dark and Stormy and turning on the mike to act as your good-natured guides. For this episode, we will attempt to demystify this polarizing heating and cooling system.

In Part One of the podcast, we cover the basics and discuss:

My 9th Commandment: Weak Plans & Specs = Weak Project

Posted on October 26, 2010 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

Ever have prospective clients ask you for a ballpark price on their home that “they won’t hold you to” during your first sales call? Even after they have shown you a plan view of the project or home without elevations? Maybe they have elevations but no engineering? Perhaps they have made no selections but say they just want “normal, nice fixtures like everyone else that are not too expensive”? You know — just a rough idea of how much per square foot. They want regular tile in the bathrooms but do not know the difference between ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone.

Waste Management for New Construction and Remodeling

Posted on October 26, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

A big part of building green is managing the job site’s “tailpipe.” What you throw out on a job can say an awful lot about overall project management, from your scopes of work to budgeting to job site practices.

Know what you throw

Beefing Up Insulation (and Making it Easier to Hang Cabinets) in a Kitchen Remodel

Posted on October 25, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Eric Nash is renovating a kitchen with "old school" 2x4 walls. He's gutting the room, but not touching the outside of the house. He'd like to present the homeowners with some options for increasing the R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of the exterior walls while making a better air seal.

Here's his plan: fill the stud bays with cellulose, add 1 1/2 in. of rigid foam insulation on the inside, then a layer of 1/2-in. plywood on which to hang cabinets, and, finally, 1/2-in. drywall.

Navigating Energy Star’s Thermal Bypass Checklist

Posted on October 22, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’ve ever built an 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. home, then you’re familiar with the Thermal Bypass Checklist. Originally adopted on July 1, 2006, the Checklist identifies areas in homes under construction that must be inspected by a certified rater for a house to qualify for an Energy Star label.

Green Building Priority #5 – Build Smaller

Posted on October 20, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

While the trend has begun to turn around, we've been building larger and larger houses for decades. In 1950, the average house in the U.S. was about 1,100 square feet, while there were about 3.4 people per household, according to data I compiled for a 1999 article in Environmental Building News. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2009 the average new house in the U.S. was 2,438 square feet (down slightly from 2,518 square feet in 2008), while the average household size was 2.6 people.

What Do You Want To Know About Passivhaus?

Posted on October 20, 2010 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

A few Green Building Advisor staff members and contributors will attend the "Passivhaus, LEED, and the City of Boston" symposium on Saturday, where Passivhaus Institute founder Dr. Wolfgang Feist will be speaking about "The concept, experience, and dissemination of Passivhaus."

Healthy Child Healthy World, Part 2

Posted on October 19, 2010 by Annette Stelmack, GBA Advisor in Building Science

To create healthy and sustainable interiors for our clients, it is essential that we understand how to enhance indoor air quality, tapping into IAQIndoor air quality. Healthfulness of an interior environment; IAQ is affected by such factors as moisture and mold, emissions of volatile organic compounds from paints and finishes, formaldehyde emissions from cabinets, and ventilation effectiveness.-specific resources and expertise. GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is at the top of my resource list.

Q&A Spotlight: Will One Radiant Floor Heat Two Stories?

Posted on October 18, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Michael Schonlau is building a house in Omaha, Nebraska, where he can expect 6,000+ heating degree days a year. He's planning on putting a radiant-floor system in the basement slab of the ranch-style home with a footprint of about 1,600 sq. ft.

In a recent posting on GBA's page, Schonlau asked whether he'll have to install radiant loops under the subfloor of the first floor as well as the basement — or will the heat generated in the basement migrate upstairs and keep the house comfortable?

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