The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Paint Peeling in Sheets: Why?

Posted on May 5, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

This house is down the road from mine. The paint job was new a couple of years ago. Before that the paint was in pretty good shape on all walls of the houses except this one: this wall looked like it does now. I suspected then that there was some sort of moisture problem going on. After they re-painted, and the wall re-peeled so quickly (within six months), I was sure that it wasn't poor prep or cheap primer.

This is the north side of the house (sunlight is visible because the sun is setting).

What do you think? Why is this paint coming off in sheets?

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Tubular Skylights Introduce Daylight to Dark Homes

Posted on May 4, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Much attention is focused on efficient lighting—from CFLs and LEDs to advanced controls. But for daytime lighting you can avoid electricity use altogether--with daylighting. Most daylighting is provided with windows or skylights (roof windows that are installed in the plane of the roof). For a lot of applications, there’s another, easier option: tubular skylights.

12th Annual NAHB National Green Building Conference

Posted on May 4, 2010 by Rob Wotzak in Green Building Blog

Visit the Green Building Advisor / Fine Homebuilding Booth

Once again, we'll be at the National Green Building Conference, this year in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Swing by the booth for a chance to talk to Pete (Technical director of, Dan (Senior web producer for GBA and FHB), and Brian Pontolilo (editor of FHB). Also, expect Carl Seville and Michael Chandler to be milling about.

7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 5. Mechanicals

Posted on May 3, 2010 by Betsy Pettit in Guest Blogs

Editor's introduction: With energy prices rising again, many homeowners are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. But most people are unsure of where to begin, and even seasoned builders don’t always know which priorities should rise to the top of the list. Betsy Pettit, an architect at Building Science Corporation, recommends starting where you can get the most bang for the buck.

Step 5: Replace your furnace, boiler, or water heater

Using a Roof for Rainwater Harvesting

Posted on May 3, 2010 by Rob Wotzak in Water Efficiency

The coastal community of Small Point shuts down its water supply in winter, which forced Laura Sewall to find an alternative source of water. A well was one option, but the high mineral content in local groundwater would have required treatment. More than that, Laura did not want to interfere with the area’s delicate hydrological balance.

Solar Thermal: Types, Cost, and Investment

Posted on May 2, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

Hi, Everyone! For better or worse, Dan (Morrison) tossed us the keys to the blog, so we’re posting without a net, so to speak. Phil and I were very lucky to have a special guest for this episode: Pat Coon. Pat is co-founder of Revision Energy, and is well under way in starting a new company, Revision Heat. Pat brings to the podcast his in-depth knowledge of solar thermal design and installation, as well as his craft in home-brewing technology.

ACI Round Two

Posted on April 29, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Expanding on my last post about ACI, here are assorted observations and amusing anecdotes about events, products, and educational sessions that I attended. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend as many classes as I would have liked.

Energy-Efficiency Retrofits: Insulation or Solar Power?

Posted on April 29, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

For our country to achieve the carbon emission reductions necessary to avoid a planetary catastrophe, many experts contend that almost every house in the country will need to have retrofit work that achieves deep cuts in energy use.

There’s a major stumbling block, however: deep energy retrofits are frighteningly expensive —in the range of $80,000 to $250,000 per house. With costs so high, many homeowners are asking: how long is the payback period for a deep-energy retrofit?

Now’s a Good Time to Replace Your Heating System

Posted on April 27, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

If your heating system is old and inefficient, now is a great time to replace it with a new, high-efficiency model. There are eight months remaining to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit that’s available for installing energy-efficient gas- or oil-fired furnaces and boilers, as well as air-source heat pumps.

Poll: Why Does Green Building Matter?

Posted on April 26, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

Everyone has their own reason for wanting to build green. A couple of years ago as a fun little experiment I asked people at Building Science Summer Camp what the most important aspect of Green Building was. I expected a pretty straight across the board "Energy Efficiency" answer. I wasn't surprised to get health, global warming, durability, and forest conservation as answers, but I was surprised that I got them so frequently.

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