The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

New Blowing Agent Addresses Climate Impact of Foam Insulation

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Honeywell has introduced two new blowing agents that could dramatically reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of a variety of foam insulation types. Marketed under the brand name Solstice, they are designed to be “drop-in” substitutes for blowing agents currently used to manufacture insulation for both buildings and appliances, including extruded polystyrene and closed-cell polyurethane foams.

The Business of Building a ‘Building Business’ — Part 1

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

On residential job sites, the polymath is virtually extinct. A variety of factors have conspired to make the jack-of-all-trades an endangered species, including greater competition, higher consumer expectations, increased technological sophistication in virtually every product category, tougher warranties, third-party inspections, more stringent codes and regulations, greater liability, and manufacturers’ requirements for training.

Dealing with a High-Capacity Range Hood

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

A range hood that whisks away cooking odors, moisture, and grease is almost always recommended as a way of keeping indoor air healthy. But what happens to the equation when the range hood is a behemoth, capable of sucking up 900 cubic feet of air per minute?

That’s the dilemma that Sean McLoughlin is facing as he designs a 3,500-sq. ft. house in southern California. The kitchen will be outfitted with a professional-size range and barbecue grill.

How to Build an Insulated Cathedral Ceiling

Posted on November 18, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on April 8, 2016

Although the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com website already contains many articles on the topic, we continue to receive frequent questions about the best way to insulate a cathedral ceiling. It’s therefore time to pull together as much information on the topic as possible and publish it in one place, to clarify the building science issues and code requirements governing insulated sloped roofs.

Historic Preservation and Green Renovation

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

At a recent round-table meeting on sustainable historic preservation, I was struck by how much alignment there is between preservation and green renovation. Now, green renovation is a wide and diverse field, and some of the deep energy retrofit people probably don’t have the same opinion on sustainable preservation standards as I do, but disagreements just help to keep things interesting and further the conversation.

Top 10 Air Leaks in Existing Homes – Part 2

Posted on November 16, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

From an energy-efficiency standpoint, the trouble with owning an old home is that you’re stuck with whatever bad decisions the previous owners made, and historical trends also tend to work against you. The trouble with building a new home is that you are the one that is going to make the bad decisions.

The best opportunity to make important decisions that will deliver energy efficiency for the life of the home is during design. There is rapid diminution of these opportunities during construction and then during use of the home.

From Designed to Built, Part 2: Three Questions

Posted on November 15, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

So now it's time to get the builder involved in your green project. In Part One of this episode, we shared the views of the design team; but what do the builders think? How would they like to get involved? To find out, Phil and I asked three prominent builders to join us in a a round of “Three Questions.” Let's meet our contestants.

Michael Chandler is a contributor here on GBA and is the president of Chandler Design-Build. He has been designing and building high-performance homes since 1978.

Paul Eldrenkamp is the owner of Byggmeister Design Build in Boston. Established in 1983, his company places a high value on the customer relationship and sustainable design / build methods.

Dan Kolbert is the owner of Kolbert Building in Portland, Maine, where, for over twenty years, he has been moving his company and the market toward sustainable construction.

Phil and I both really appreciate their participation and want to convey our thanks. Are you ready to play? Come on down!

The transcript below includes the answers provided by Chandler, Eldrenkamp, and Kolbert. To hear our reactions to their answers, be sure to listen to the Podcast.

How to Track Down Leaks in Forced-Air Ductwork

Posted on November 14, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Leaky ducts in a forced-air heating and cooling system are an all-too-common problem contributing to significant energy losses and lower indoor air quality.

Mark Renfrow knows that. Duct tests at his 3,400-sq. ft. home revealed “huge leakage.” A contractor addressed the problem by applying mastic to any accessible ductwork. But the key word is “accessible.” Many parts of the system apparently are not so easy to reach.

More Energy Myths

Posted on November 11, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Energy myths are persistent, in spite of the fact that energy experts spend a good deal of time performing debunking duty. Many energy experts collect misguided energy-saving tips as a hobby, and pick the myths apart with the dedication of an 18th-century amateur scientist.

In a previous blog, I presented my own list of ten energy myths.

PODCAST: How to Insulate an Unvented Roof

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

Attics are a great place to reclaim living space without the expense of an addition. If you have the headroom, you can gain at least one extra room by finishing your attic.

But with energy codes requiring more and more insulation, it can be difficult to pack all of that R-value into the skinny little rafters that are common in older houses.

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!