The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

The Journal of Poor Homebuilding

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Erik North in Guest Blogs

I'm calling this collection of photos The Journal of Poor Homebuilding — kind of like Holmes on Homes, except that I won’t act like the previous contractors ought to be hunted down, predator-style.

I had some other ideas for naming it before settling on JoPH (though they are all the same basic joke): Energy Rearguard, Home Energy Amateurs, Journal of Light Destruction, or the Building Magic Corporation. (As a side note, I love the sites on which these parodies are based and highly recommend reading them).

Broken Ventilation Equipment Goes Unnoticed for Years

Posted on June 8, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Years ago, when I worked as a home inspector, I was hired to perform a capital needs assessment at a Buddhist retreat center in rural Vermont. In an obscure mechanical closet I discovered a heat-recovery ventilator that the facilities manager didn’t even know existed.

The HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. had been installed at least a dozen years before. The filter, which had never been changed since the day it was installed, was totally clogged. The HRV was no longer working — perhaps the motor had burned out years ago. I advised the owners to call an HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. contractor to have the unit serviced.

Genuine Progress Indicators

Posted on June 7, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

The second annual Slow Living Summit was held in Brattleboro this past week. Featuring such presenters as David Orr of Oberlin College, Woody Tasch, the founder of the organization Slow Money, and Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, along with Governor Peter Shumlin, and Senator Bernie Sanders, the conference advanced alternatives to fast food, fast money, and the fast pace of life — with an emphasis on local food, local economies, resilient communities, and sustainability.

On the Path to More Green Building

Posted on June 6, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

We are in a very conservative, practically radical, political environment in where taxes, regulation, and almost anything that smells of “government” is beaten back as soon as it comes up. As energy codes become more rigorous, we see efforts to beat them back.

Efficiency Programs Struggle to Stay Ahead of Energy Codes

Posted on June 5, 2012 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Smart people in the home-building industry have a saying about codes: A code-built house is the worst house allowed by law. The implication behind that statement is that if all you're doing is meeting the code, you're probably short-changing the people who will live in the house. The folks at the International Code Council (ICC) are doing their best to make sure that that barely-legal house is worth living in.

Cold-Climate Passivhaus Construction Costs

Posted on June 4, 2012 by mike eliason in Guest Blogs

Despite all the fuss about difficulties meeting Passivhaus cost-effectively on detached housing in über cold climates, there have been several projects recently that seemingly disprove the fussers.

Belgian Passivhaus is Rendered Uninhabitable by Bad Indoor Air

Posted on June 1, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The first single-family Passivhaus in the U.S. was completed by Katrin Klingenberg in 2004. Klingenberg’s superinsulated home in Urbana, Illinois includes two unusual features: a ventilation system that pulls fresh outdoor air through a buried earth tubeVentilation air intake tube, usually measuring 8 or more inches in diameter and buried 5 or more feet below grade. Earth tubes take advantage of relatively constant subterranean temperatures to pre-heat air in winter and pre-cool it in summer. In humid climates, some earth tubes develop significant amounts of condensation during the summer, potentially contributing to indoor air quality problems., and walls that include an interior layer of OSB. These details were not invented by Klingenberg; she adopted practices that were commonly used by European Passivhaus builders.

More Energy-Saving Products from the AIA Convention

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week, I wrote about a number of innovative window and 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. products I came across at the AIA Convention in Washington, DC earlier this month. Here are a few other products I came across with energy-saving features.

EnerPHit — The Passive House Approach to Deep Retrofit

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Lenny Antonelli in Green Building Blog

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

Window-Mounted Air Conditioners Save Energy

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Window-mounted air conditioners (also called room air conditioners) aren’t particularly efficient; the best available models have an EEREnergy-efficiency rating or energy-efficiency ratio. As most commonly used, EER is the operating efficiency of a room air conditioner, measured in Btus of cooling output divided by the power consumption in watt-hours; the higher the EER, the greater the efficiency. of about 10 or 11. Central air conditioners (also called whole-house air conditioners or split-system air conditioners) are significantly more efficient; it’s possible to buy one with an EER of 14 or even 15.

So if you care about energy efficiency, you should use a central air conditioner, not a window air conditioner — right? Well, not necessarily.

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