The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Blog Review: GreenBridge

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Juli MacDonald is an architect and accredited 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. professional who worked in Chicago for 20 years before relocating to the East Coast and eventually opening her own firm in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 2007.

Later that year she started writing the GreenBridge blog. It’s named after her firm, which concentrates on residential additions and remodels.

How to Make a SIP Roof Better

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

Roger Lin’s Washington, D.C., house will have a roof of 12-inch-thick structural insulated panels (SIPs). By most standards, that’s a well-insulated roof. But Lin wants to add 2 inches of rigid foam on top of the panels to reduce thermal bridgingHeat flow that occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss. For example, steel studs in an insulated wall dramatically reduce the overall energy performance of the wall, because of thermal bridging through the steel. .

He’s uncertain about the details. He has already installed roofing underlayment over the panels. Can he put expanded polystyrene foam on top of the underlayment and cap it with metal roofing? Or does he need a layer of plywood or furring strips over the foam before the metal roofing is installed?

A New Way to Generate Solar Electricity

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

An environmentalist dies and reports to the pearly gates, but there is a mix-up and she is sent to the gates of hell. Once in hell, she is horrified by the air and water pollution, global warming, and habitat destruction. But she gets to work to improve the situation, and soon the hellscape is covered with grass and plants, the food is organic, the air is clean, and the people are happy.

The Piecemeal Approach to Green Building

Posted on November 8, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Almost every time I am talking with someone about green building, whether a potential or current client, or just a casual conversation, inevitably solar power comes up. This causes me to go into full on curmudgeon mode, pointing out that solar panels are pretty much pointless on homes until you’ve done everything else you can to make it more efficient and healthy. Solar is hot, trendy, hip, something you can touch (and might want to touch, as opposed to insulation), and a marketer’s dream, as are many other building products, all of which are seem to be labeled “green.”

Are You a Green Building Geek, Nerd, Dork, or Dweeb?

Posted on November 8, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

I hear a lot of people call themselves building science geeks, energy nerds, green building dorks, HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. dweebs, weatherization wonks, and policy poindexters. (It's true! Some of them are imaginary people in my mind and some are aliens, but they really do say that.) What I see, though, is that most such people seem to throw these words around without understanding which is which and how dorks and nerds and geeks and dweebs differ.

Guardian Fiberglass Threatens Blogger With Legal Action

Posted on November 4, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED 11/8/2011: Guardian Building Products has apologized to Allison Bailes. See full information at the end of the article.

On October 19, 2011, blogger Allison Bailes, a frequent contributor to GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com, posted a blog on his Energy Vanguard website about the difficulty of installing fiberglass batts well. You can read his excellent blog here: A Visual Guide to Why Fiberglass Batt Insulation Underperforms.

BEopt Software Has Been Released to the Public

Posted on November 4, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED February 1, 2012

In 2004, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed BEopt, a software program that finds the least-cost solution to designing a zero-energy house. Now that the software developers — a team that includes Craig Christensen and Scott Horowitz — have spent seven years improving the program, it has finally been released to the public. The development of BEopt was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Advice from a Homeowner

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Alana Shindler in Guest Blogs

Working at Home Energy magazine would seem to have prepared me for having an energy-efficiency retrofit done on my own home, or at least to ask all the right questions. But Murphy’s Law intruded nevertheless, and you may learn from my experience.

Blog Review: Green Building in Denver

Posted on November 3, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Kevin Dickson was an early convert to solar energy. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the Colorado School of Mines in 1977, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and solar technology from Colorado State University in 1979. In the early 1980s, he was involved in hundreds of solar thermal systems and received several design patents.

Top 10 Air Leaks in Existing Homes — Part 1

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

Whenever we’re working on the outside of a home—the roofing, siding, or site—my uncle Chris will remind me to think like a drop of water. Mentally tracing how a raindrop is likely to travel down a building, and including details to move it off and away, is a simple exercise that is too often ignored.

Today, though, we’re going to talk not about water but about air. I have a new exercise to propose to Chris: think like a wisp of air.

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