The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Solar Decathlon 2011: Team China’s Y Container

Posted on May 10, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

Team China’s Solar Decathlon 2011 entry, Y Container, pushes hard on the notion that shipping containers can be as comfortable to live in as they are easy to transport from mainland China to Washington, D.C.

Do Grid-Tied Photovoltaic Systems Really Have an Advantage?

Posted on May 9, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Most houses with solar electric panels remain grid-tied, meaning the house is still connected to the utility’s grid even as it has the means to produce its own power. Off-grid houses, which once accounted for the lion’s share of installations, are now in the minority.

Biomass Electricity Production: How Green Is It?

Posted on May 9, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

“On a scale from 1 to 10, how nice are you?”

My nine-year-old neighbor put that question to me recently. He had been asked the question as part of an anti-bullying curriculum at his school, and he was trying it out on other people. I wasn't sure how to answer it, and neither was he — “niceness” just doesn't fit on a 10-point scale, in my mind. It did get us to talk a bit about what is nice and what isn't, though, and he noted that there was less “meanness” at his school following use of the curriculum.

Alternatives to Clothes Dryers

Posted on May 6, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on 9/17/2012 with new information on dehumidifiers for clothes-drying rooms.

In an American home with a relatively new refrigerator, the clothes dryer usually uses more energy than any other home appliance. An electric clothes dryer draws between 4,000 and 6,000 watts, and costs about 60 cents an hour — about $158 per year, on average — to operate. While a gas dryer may only draw 400 watts of electricity, it also consumes a significant amount of natural gas or propane to dry each load of laundry.

NSP Green Workshops Are Coming Your Way

Posted on May 5, 2011 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

The team here at Enterprise Green Communities is really excited to announce that we are gearing up for a set of Green Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) workshops around the country this summer. We have been working hard with some of the Enterprise Green Communities Technical Assistance Providers to come up with a creative agenda and informative content.

Blog Review: Erik’s Blog

Posted on May 5, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Erik Haugsjaa is a software engineer and Web consultant who lives in Stow, Massachusetts, in a house he says comes close to net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. performance. Built in 2010, his 2 1/2-story, 1,650-square-foot. house is equipped with a 6.9-kW photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. array and a ductless minisplit system for heating and air conditioning.

Book Review: Green Building Product Certifications

Posted on May 4, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I was honored to be asked by GBA to review Green Building Product Certifications, a recent publication of Building Green, Inc. that makes a valiant attempt to demystify the seemingly infinite range of product certifications currently in the marketplace. The first clue that this was not going to be easy was the third line of the table of contents – “Green Labels: A mess, but not as bad as you think.”

Solar Decathlon 2011: Team Florida’s FLeX House

Posted on May 2, 2011 by Richard Defendorf in 2011 Solar Decathlon

There are two kinds of summers in Florida: hot and humid, and really hot and humid. Team Florida has prepared for both with FLeX House, its entry for the 2011 Solar Decathlon. But the team also is attempting to address issues that go well beyond the state’s seasonal plunge into tropical weather.

Does Saving Historic Buildings Save Energy?

Posted on May 2, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

A surreal magazine ad just got even more surreal for me.

After learning of the fire at the historic 1871 Brooks House here in Brattleboro, Vermont last week, I quickly got to wondering: will the owner be put in the painful position of choosing to salvage a beloved historic property or to build new? Similar choices are faced with sad frequency in historic downtowns across America.

How to Insulate a Wall from the Outside

Posted on May 2, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Gregg is renovating his 50-year-old house in Wisconsin and trying to devise the best way of insulating exterior walls from the outside. The house was built conventionally, with 2x4 walls, fiberglass batt insulationInsulation, usually of fiberglass or mineral wool and often faced with paper, typically installed between studs in walls and between joists in ceiling cavities. Correct installation is crucial to performance. , fiberboard 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. , and hardboard siding.

He plans to tear off both siding and sheathing and remove the batt insulation, then apply 3 in. of spray polyurethane foam insulation into the stud bays. The existing kraft paper vapor barrier on the interior side of the wall will stay in place.

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