The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Choosing a Cost-Effective Wall System

Posted on June 18, 2012 by ScottG in Q&A Spotlight

Erik Olofsson is planning a small house in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Ideally, he’d like to get the walls close to R-40. The question is how.

“Seeing that the received opinion around GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com is the tandem of polyethylene sheeting and exterior rigid foam is not ideal, what do the builders on this site recommend?” he asks in a post at the GBA Q&A forum. “Larsen trusses seem fairly labor-intensive and rigid foam is expensive ... Is a double-stud wallConstruction system in which two layers of studs are used to provide a thicker-than-normal wall system so that a lot of insulation can be installed; the two walls are often separated by several inches to reduce thermal bridging through the studs and to provide additional space for insulation. the answer?”

Joe Lstiburek Discusses Basement Insulation and Vapor Retarders

Posted on June 15, 2012 by user-756436 in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Dr. Joseph Lstiburek needs little introduction. The well-known Canadian engineer is a principal of the Building Science Corporation in Massachusetts. He’s also a regular GBA podcaster and Fine Homebuilding author.

On Wednesday, June 6th, I attended an all-day building science class presented by Dr. Joe in Westford, Massachusetts. As usual, his presentation combined salty language, corny jokes, light-hearted insults, and rock-solid building science information.

Test Driving the New Brattleboro Food Co-op Building

Posted on June 14, 2012 by AlexWilson in Energy Solutions

The new Brattleboro Food Co-op building with affordable housing on the top two floors is nearly completed, and we’ll be shopping there in just a week or two. So, how did the building turn out? Were the goals achieved? Are the mechanical systems going to work as intended? How effectively was the building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. constructed?

The Green Architects Chat With Allison Bailes

Posted on June 13, 2012 by ChrisBriley in Green Architects' Lounge

Allison Bailes was in town to talk to the Building Science Discussion Group, and Phil and I thought we'd grab him to share a conversation with our listeners. (For more on the Building Science Discussion Group, see “Steve's Garage.”)

The Journal of Poor Homebuilding

Posted on June 11, 2012 by user-1048334 in Guest Blogs

I'm calling this collection of photos The Journal of Poor Homebuilding — kind of like Holmes on Homes, except that I won’t act like the previous contractors ought to be hunted down, predator-style.

I had some other ideas for naming it before settling on JoPH (though they are all the same basic joke): Energy Rearguard, Home Energy Amateurs, Journal of Light Destruction, or the Building Magic Corporation. (As a side note, I love the sites on which these parodies are based and highly recommend reading them).

Broken Ventilation Equipment Goes Unnoticed for Years

Posted on June 8, 2012 by user-756436 in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Years ago, when I worked as a home inspector, I was hired to perform a capital needs assessment at a Buddhist retreat center in rural Vermont. In an obscure mechanical closet I discovered a heat-recovery ventilator that the facilities manager didn’t even know existed.

The HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. had been installed at least a dozen years before. The filter, which had never been changed since the day it was installed, was totally clogged. The HRV was no longer working — perhaps the motor had burned out years ago. I advised the owners to call an HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. contractor to have the unit serviced.

Genuine Progress Indicators

Posted on June 7, 2012 by AlexWilson in Energy Solutions

The second annual Slow Living Summit was held in Brattleboro this past week. Featuring such presenters as David Orr of Oberlin College, Woody Tasch, the founder of the organization Slow Money, and Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, along with Governor Peter Shumlin, and Senator Bernie Sanders, the conference advanced alternatives to fast food, fast money, and the fast pace of life — with an emphasis on local food, local economies, resilient communities, and sustainability.

On the Path to More Green Building

Posted on June 6, 2012 by CarlSeville in Green Building Curmudgeon

We are in a very conservative, practically radical, political environment in where taxes, regulation, and almost anything that smells of “government” is beaten back as soon as it comes up. As energy codes become more rigorous, we see efforts to beat them back.

Efficiency Programs Struggle to Stay Ahead of Energy Codes

Posted on June 5, 2012 by ab3 in Building Science

Smart people in the home-building industry have a saying about codes: A code-built house is the worst house allowed by law. The implication behind that statement is that if all you're doing is meeting the code, you're probably short-changing the people who will live in the house. The folks at the International Code Council (ICC) are doing their best to make sure that that barely-legal house is worth living in.

Cold-Climate Passivhaus Construction Costs

Posted on June 4, 2012 by user-945928 in Guest Blogs

Despite all the fuss about difficulties meeting Passivhaus cost-effectively on detached housing in über cold climates, there have been several projects recently that seemingly disprove the fussers.

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