The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Ground-Source Heat Pumps (2010)

Posted on February 23, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

For the past month, I’ve examined various home energy improvements for which one can earn a 30% federal tax credit. The last of these opportunities I’ll cover is ground-source heat pumps. A ground-source heat pump (GSHP) is also referred to as a “geothermal” heat pump, though I prefer the former terminology, to avoid confusion with true geothermal energyHot water or steam extracted from reservoirs beneath the Earth's surface; can be used for heat pumps, water heating, or electricity generation. The term may also mean the use of near-constant underground temperatures by ground-source heat pumps to provide heating and cooling. systems that rely on elevated temperatures deep underground from the Earth’s mantle.

Architects Talking About Air Barriers

Posted on February 22, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

With cocktails in their hands, architects Chris Briley and Phil Kaplan discuss green building and design issues in a casual, pithy format

Join the guys for a drink as Chris and Phil look at air barriers — one of “The Big Three” topics (along with insulation and windows) of green construction.

Sit back, relax, and be “edutained” — while you work, drive, exercise or do whatever you do while you podcatch.

Green Home Programs

Posted on February 22, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Among other endeavors, I have been certifying LEED homes as a provider representative for about two years now. In order to continue doing this work after next year, USGBC and GBCI have decided that I must become certified as a green rater. After looking at my various options for obtaining this designation, I elected to take a two-day training class in advance of the required test. Not uncharacteristically, I bristled at the thought that I would have to spend my time and money learning something I was already doing.

What’s the Most Cost-Effective Way to Bring Fresh Air into a Tight House?

Posted on February 20, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Q&A Spotlight

Our Question of the Week focuses on a query from “DC,” a Texas reader who wants to know which residential ventilation system will provide the “most bang for the buck.”

DC knows that a tight home requires a mechanical ventilation system to provide fresh air. But how does one choose among the bewildering array of options? And are there any performance advantages to expensive ventilation systems?

Duct Leakage Testing

Posted on February 19, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

For years, Americans who would never put up with leaky plumbing pipes have been willing to accept leaky ducts. While water damage is hard to ignore, the damage caused by leaky ducts is more subtle. Yet leaky ducts not only waste huge amounts of energy — they can also lead to comfort complaints, moisture problems, mold, and rot.

Green Remodeling Workshops Coming to a Town Near You

Posted on February 18, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Building Blog

Ever since the premier of USGBC’s two-day REGREEN workshop in Phoenix, AZ at Greenbuild last November, Annette, Rob, and I have been gearing up for a slew of green remodeling workshops across the country — the REGREEN Roadshow. The REGREEN workshops are a lot of fun to teach (and take) for two reasons: one, the blend of builder/remodeler with interior design perspectives is completely refreshing; and two, the substantial and substantive group work woven into the workshop makes for an energetic and invigorating approach.

Does Spray Foam Insulation Off-Gas Poisonous Fumes?

Posted on February 17, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Q&A Spotlight

Spray-foam insulation has become a weapon of choice for many builders and homeowners trying to build tight, energy efficient houses. And with its long list of attributes, that's no wonder. It fills tiny cracks and fissures in walls and roofs to form an effective air seal. The high R-values of closed-cell foam pack a lot of punch in a small space, and closed-cell versions can block the movement of moisture into wall and roof cavities. Expensive as it may be, it's at the top of its class.

Energy Is Only One Part of the Building Inspector’s World

Posted on February 17, 2010 by Lynn Underwood, GBA Advisor in Code Green

Recently a Green Building Advisor blog post made some statements about the building inspector that, in my opinion, maligned the profession and were unwarranted. It occurred to me that if a professional peer could make such a faux pas, perhaps I should clarify the role that building inspectors play in assuring energy efficiency in buildings.

Building codes cover safety, sanitation, structural integrity, AND energy efficiency

Home Wind Power

Posted on February 16, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

For several weeks now, I’ve addressed tax credits for home energy improvements. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a 30% tax credit for a wide range of energy measures, including efficiency retrofits, better heating and cooling equipment, and renewable energy systems, including solar water heating and photovoltaics, which I discussed last week.

Exhaust-Only Ventilation Systems

Posted on February 13, 2010 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

After trying a variety of ventilation approaches, I've settled on exhaust-only ventilation systems with ventilation rates that are on the low side of most recommendations.

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