The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Blower Door Testers Wanted — Scientists and Engineers Preferred

Posted on October 5, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

OK, the title here may be a little extreme, but if you've taken a look at the new chapter on performance testing and scope of work in the HERS Standards, you know what I'm talking about. RESNET just adopted this as the new chapter 8 in August of this year, and it goes into effect on 3 January 2012.

Girl Eats Bug

Posted on October 5, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

The Large Blue Butterfly, found in Europe, lays its eggs on a marsh gentian leaf. Its larva (a caterpillar) hatches and falls to the ground and emits a scent that smells to certain species of ant just like its own larvae. The ants carry the caterpillar back to their nest, where they not only care for it as one of their own, but as one of their own that is going to turn into a queen. Meanwhile, the caterpillar is eating the actual ant larvae and growing large.

Utilities Offer Programs That Can Benefit Your Customers

Posted on October 4, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Green Building Blog

In Texas, as in many other states, local electric utilities offer homeowners a variety of free services to help lower energy bills.

Perfect Balance Makes the Cut

Posted on October 3, 2011 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

In a past blog (“Return to Sender – HVAC Return Pathway Options”), a posted comment by GBAdvisor Mike Guertin introduced a new option for returning delivered air from rooms with closed doors, the Tamarack Technologies Perfect Balance. Perfect Balance is a grille and filter system installed into a cutout at the bottom of interior doors.

University of Maryland Wins the Solar Decathlon

Posted on October 3, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

The second time was the charm for University of Maryland. The school took second place in Solar Decathlon 2007 and parlayed its experience into a very solid first-place finish in the 2011 edition, which wound down on Sunday in Washington, D.C.’s West Potomac Park after almost two weeks of site preparation and installation work, visitors, and evaluations in the competition’s 10 contest categories.

Does R-Value Trump Thermal Mass?

Posted on October 3, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jesse Lizer’s plans for a new house in Climate Zone 6 call for a 60-foot long walkout basement wall on the north side. The three below-grade foundation walls will be built with insulated concrete forms (ICFs) with an R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of roughly R-25.

How to Install Rigid Foam Sheathing

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on July 20, 2015

What’s the best way to install foam insulation on the outside of a wall?

Although GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com has published many articles and videos on the topic, we continue to receive frequent questions from readers asking how to install rigid foam sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. on exterior walls — so it’s time to provide a primer on the topic.

Cost-Effective Passive Solar Design

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Brian Knight in Guest Blogs

Passive solar design is one of the most attractive strategies available for energy-efficient construction and green building. The sun provides free heat, daylightingUse of sunlight for daytime lighting needs. Daylighting strategies include solar orientation of windows as well as the use of skylights, clerestory windows, solar tubes, reflective surfaces, and interior glazing to allow light to move through a structure., and a better connection to our outdoor environment. It does this for the life of the structure.

If you follow these priciples, your house will offer passive survivability, meaning it will remain livable through winter power outages. The passive elements of your home design will have no moving parts, and the only maintenance need is occasional window cleaning.

2011 Solar Decathlon is in the Home Stretch

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Patrick McCombe in 2011 Solar Decathlon

After being in the construction business in one form or another for more than 20 years, I often feel jaded by our lack of progress in building long-lasting, energy-efficient homes despite decades of trying. Well, my trip last week to the 2011 Solar Decathlon has given me renewed hope. The young people who designed and built the 19 homes in the event had more smarts and enthusiasm than I could ever have anticipated. And they made really nice houses, too. Even the designs and features I was skeptical of proved thought-provoking and interesting.

Two Solar Decathlon Homes Get High Marks for Affordability

Posted on September 29, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

The newest of the 2011 Solar Decathlon’s 10 contest categories – affordability – has become an impressive showcase for design ingenuity, and powerful evidence that building energy-efficient homes doesn’t have to bust the bank.

The rules are simple: homes that cost $250,000 or less to build earn the contest category maximum of 100 points, while homes costing more than $250,000 lose points on a sliding scale that tapers to zero at the contest limit of $600,000.

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