The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Green Building Programs Got Some ’Splainin’ to Do

Posted on June 26, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Much of my work these days is certifying homes under 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. , EarthCraft, Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners., and the National Green Building Program (NGBP). My day-to-day work includes energy modeling and site inspections, but I find that I spend most of my time explaining and interpreting the different programs to builders, telling them what to do to achieve certification. Each program has minimum requirements, all slightly different. These requirements are not always straightforward or intuitive, and most builders struggle to do them right.

What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?

Posted on June 26, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

I recently heard that a good blog is like a red party dress: long enough to cover the important parts, but short enough to maintain one's attention.

By that measure, the Green Architects' Lounge podcast episodes are like royal wedding gowns with long trains that flow down the aisle. This is great if you like wedding gowns, but ...

Because we feel that many short dresses are better than a single long one, we've decided to divide our episodes into smaller, more manageable parts, and release them with greater frequency.

(Time to switch metaphors...)

Five Energy Nerd Classics

Posted on June 25, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Martin will be back soon. Honest.

Until next Friday, please enjoy some classic Energy Nerd columns from the early days of Green Building Advisor.

Energy Use Is the Most Important Aspect of Green Building
Here, Martin sticks a stake in the ground and takes a stand on what really matters in Green Building.

Slums of the Future
Do the McMansion developments of the housing boom represent tomorrow's slums?

Simplicity Versus Complexity
How to design a heating system: Keep it simple.

Understanding R-Value

Pressure Reducing Valves Save Water and Prevent Problems

Posted on June 24, 2010 by Peter Yost in Water Efficiency

What is a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)?

Can Exterior Foam Insulation Cause Mold and Moisture Problems?

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Many builders add one or more layers of rigid foam insulation to the outside of a house to lower heat losses. Rigid insulation has an R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of up to 6.5 per inch, but it also can be an effective vapor retarder.

Ed Welch touched off an extended discussion in the Green Building Advisor's Q&A section when he asked whether the foam would trap moisture inside walls, creating mold as well as the potential for structural decay.

Saving Energy by Recycling

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

While our homes and cars get most of the attention relative to energy savings, our materials stream also has a huge impact on energy use. Nationally, the U.S. generates about 236 million tons of municipal solid waste each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That works out to about 4 pounds of waste for every American every day.

How to Solve the Energy Puzzle

Posted on June 21, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

The disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has generated endless news stories and opinion pieces on the state of our energy industry and how to “fix” it. Most of the conversations address two key points: independence from foreign oil and alternative energy. Strategies on the first point tend to be limited to expanding domestic drilling capacity. Regarding alternatives, suggestions range from wind and solar to nuclear, biomass, and clean coal. What I find most troubling is that there is so little discussion of conservation.

The Energy Nerd's Greatest Hits

Posted on June 18, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Martin is enjoying what may be one of his last opportunities for a family vacation; his oldest son is winding down his high school career, and will leave for college in about a year. All of us at Green Building Advisor support his strong family values and hope he has a great time vacationing on the island of Crete for the next couple of weeks.

Green Technical Assistance Providers Wanted

Posted on June 17, 2010 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

Enterprise Green Communities is seeking qualified consultants to expand its Technical Assistance Providers Network in response to the growing demand for specialized technical assistance designing, developing, and operating green affordable housing developments. Enterprise has released its second national Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to identify the nation’s leading green professionals in the residential building sector. The objective of this RFQ is to expand the delivery of technical assistance to local affordable housing developers.

Now’s the Time to Install Solar

Posted on June 15, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

This summer is a great time to get a good deal on a solar water heating or solar-electric (photovoltaic) system for your home. While I argued a few months ago in this column that the 30% federal solar tax credit has some flaws--key among them being that it’s based on the dollar value rather than performance and that there’s no cap on the cost of the system (and credit you can earn)--these aren’t reasons not to take advantage of it.

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