The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

The Pretty Good House

Posted on February 6, 2012 by michael maines in Guest Blogs

Energy Star. LEED. Passivhaus. There are many programs with different metrics for determining how green your home is. But what elements of green building are important to you when designing and building a home?

New Green Building Products — February 2012

Posted on February 3, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

My folder of interesting new building products is getting thick, so it’s time for another new product roundup. I’ll review three brands of 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. roofing designed to integrate with asphalt shingle roofs. I’ll also discuss several new types of insulation: a new type of rigid foam, batts made from plastic fibers, and batts made from hemp.

Resilient Design: Water in a Drought-Prone Era

Posted on February 2, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Periodic drought is something that a significant portion of the U.S. will have to get used to in the coming decades. Climate scientists tell us that while precipitation will increase overall with climate change, certain regions, including the American West, will see increased frequency of drought.

Cape Cod Style Homes Are Difficult to Heat

Posted on February 1, 2012 by Erik North in Guest Blogs

One of the great ironies in construction (I bet you didn’t even know that construction could be ironic) is that Cape Cod style houses perform pretty poorly on Cape Cod. The year-round sea breezes wash right through a Cape building frame, making them chilly and uncomfortable in the winter months.

How did Cape Cod style houses (which perform not-so-great in the winter) become popular in New England? Maybe the name was a marketing scheme? And how can we address the air leakage and heat loss issues to make Capes more comfortable?

What’s Going On With Home Performance?

Posted on January 31, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I’ve been involved, if somewhat peripherally, with the Home Performance industry for quite a while. I was one of the original group working on Home Performance with Energy Star in Atlanta quite a few years ago. As I learned more about this evolving field, I felt that it was both important and necessary, and thought that it had potential to be a profitable business model.

The Green Architects Chat With James Howard Kunstler

Posted on January 30, 2012 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

You know how occasionally the comments section that follows certain blogs drifts off into “Big Picture” territory? When we do a podcast on something simple like air sealing or home energy monitoring, for some reason someone has to bring up population control, lack of focus on urban retrofits, or how Frank Loyd Wright was a racist. (For the record, I'm not trying to bring that one up again—so let's leave it alone, please.)

Anyway, this one's for you, “Big Picture People.”

Is This Building Passivhaus-Certified?

Posted on January 27, 2012 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED February 7, 2012 with a response from Wolfgang Feist

The first residential PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. building in Canada is the Rideau Residences, a duplex at 279 Crichton Street in Ottawa. The building has impressive specifications: an R-70 foundation, R-50 walls, an R-70 roof, and triple-glazed low-eLow-emissivity coating. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Low-e coatings boost a window’s R-value and reduce its U-factor. windows. The building’s air leakage rate was tested at 0.58 ach50.

Resilient Design: Emergency Renewable Energy Systems

Posted on January 26, 2012 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

House location and design are the starting points in achieving resilience — where the house located, how well it can weather storms and flooding, and how effectively it retains heat and utilizes passive solar for heating and daylightingUse of sunlight for daytime lighting needs. Daylighting strategies include solar orientation of windows as well as the use of skylights, clerestory windows, solar tubes, reflective surfaces, and interior glazing to allow light to move through a structure.. Beyond that, we should look to more active renewable energy systems for backup heat, water heating, and electricity. This week we'll review these options.

Wood stoves

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 3

Posted on January 25, 2012 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

During the last month we’ve had a very stimulating conversation going about design – and how some important design opportunities for improving energy performance are often overlooked, and why. The dialogue started here and, thanks to fellow Advisor Bruce King, continued on Facebook.

Now to continue the fun, we’re going to look at CODE – specifically, the energy code – and its role in high-performance and 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. homes.

LEED Certification as an Afterthought

Posted on January 24, 2012 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I was recently hired to be the Green Rater on a LEED for Homes project that is already under construction. This particular project is a fraternity house and the delay was due to a late decision to pursue LEED certification.

Apparently there was some confusion as to whether it was a commercial or residential building and if it should be considered a single family or multifamily structure. All these issues preceded my involvement – I am now involved and will work diligently to keep the project on track.

Register for a free account and join the conversation

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