The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Controlling Humidity

Posted on July 13, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

High relative humidity is a significant problem in many regions of the country during the summer months. In hot weather, the higher the humidity, the less comfortable we are--partly because moisture does not evaporate from our skin as readily. More worrisome over the long haul, high humidity levels in the air and high moisture content of materials in our homes can result in mold growth, which, in turn, can cause allergies and other health problems (as well as damage the building itself).

Green Up Your Carpet Life-Cycle

Posted on July 12, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

Some background on carpet
Most carpet has three primary components: the soft tufted face fiber, the primary backing through which the face fiber is punched, and the secondary backing (the visible back side that locks the face fibers in place). Most residential carpet installations also include a separate cushion or pad.

Energy and Construction Photos from Greece

Posted on July 9, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

You can put away your building science notebooks; this blog is simply a collection of photos from my recent vacation in Greece.

While the purpose of my trip was relaxation, I still managed to point my camera at a few construction sites and examples of renewable-energy equipment.

Bathroom Walls, Mold, Vapor Barriers, and Building Codes–Where's the Love?

Posted on July 8, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Josh, a builder in Columbus, Ohio, has been hired to add a bathroom in the attic of an existing house. Although he had hoped to use cellulose insulationThermal insulation made from recycled newspaper or other wastepaper; often treated with borates for fire and insect protection. in exterior walls, the homeowner's budget allowed fiberglass batts. Josh was counting on the kraft paper facing on the insulation to serve as a vapor retarder, but to his surprise the building inspector insists the paper be removed before the insulation is installed.

What gives? And will the inspector's decision increase the risk of moisture problems in the bathroom, surely one of the most humid rooms in the house?

The DOE Showerhead Rule: Someone is all wet

Posted on July 7, 2010 by Peter Yost in Water Efficiency

You would think that establishing a definition for “showerhead” would be simple. But, as the Department of Energy (DOE) is discovering after issuing a draft interpretive rule on the matter, nothing is simple when it comes to getting people wet.

Some showerhead background
Back in early 1994, under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, all showerheads manufactured in the U.S. could have a maximum flow no greater than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at 80 psi. The intent, of course, was to save water, particularly hot water and its associated energy use.

Simple Strategies for Keeping Cool

Posted on July 6, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

We’re into those hot days of summer--really hot--with temperatures predicted in the mid- to upper-90s, even in Vermont, this week. In this column I’ll provide some simple tips for keeping (reasonably) cool in hot weather or, if you use air conditioning, operating that air conditioning equipment most efficiently.

Keep the sun out

When Sunshine Drives Moisture Into Walls

Posted on July 2, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Builders have worried about wintertime vapor diffusionMovement of water vapor through a material; water vapor can diffuse through even solid materials if the permeability is high enough. ever since 1938, when Tyler Stewart Rogers published an influential article on condensation in the Architectural Record. Rogers’ article, “Preventing Condensation in Insulated Structures,” included this advice: “A vapor barrier undoubtedly should be employed on the warm side of any insulation as the first step in minimizing condensation.”

Business is Great in Green Home Building and Remodeling

Posted on June 30, 2010 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

December 2009: Signed design contract for green design/build/remodel, 40-year-old suburban home; $90,000
Profile: Energy auditEnergy audit that also includes inspections and tests to assess moisture flow, combustion safety, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and durability., kitchen remodel, remedial HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. and insulation work
Status: Nearing completion as an ANSIAmerican National Standards Institute. National nonprofit membership organization that coordinates development of national consensus standards. Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used meet the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process. Bronze remodel; Performance Path

January 2010: Signed construction contract for a 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. home (Silver);
$601,000
Profile: 3,100 sq. ft., 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. everything, wired for electric car and PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow., spray foam and cellulose, standing-seam roof, VOCVolatile organic compound. An organic compound that evaporates readily into the atmosphere; as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are organic compounds that volatize and then become involved in photochemical smog production.-free paints, PureBond cabinets, bamboo flooring

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?

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