The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

How to Insulate a Slab Foundation—With Straw-Bales?

Posted on February 7, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Superinsulated houses need insulation under the slab as well as in the walls and roof, and the most common choice for sub-slab insulation is rigid foam.

Things I Learned in the Great White North

Posted on February 5, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Although I grew up in New York and attended college in New England, I have lived in the South for more than 30 years and have become physically acclimated to warmer weather and more accustomed to local building practices. My moderate-climate building experience is what leads me to speak up frequently about the fact that much of the information on GBA, as well as in the building science community as a whole, tends to be cold climate focused.

Are Energy Codes Working?

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

Residential energy codes have evolved rapidly over the last two decades. The origin of many of our current energy codes can be traced back to the Model Energy Code (MEC), which was first introduced in 1992. The MEC eventually evolved into the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.).

Heating with Oil or Gas: What’s to Like?

Posted on February 2, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I think it's safe to say that nobody likes to burn oil. Maybe it's the people I hang around with, but we go straight from talking about the cold weather we've been having to how much oil we've been burning (for myself, it's in our Buderus oil-fired boiler that we heat with, along with cordwood in the house and a pellet stove in the adjoining garage apartment). Whether it's because of financial or planetary concerns, everyone seems to wince when they talk about how many gallons of oil or gas they've been through.

Rigid Insulation Rehabs

Posted on January 31, 2011 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

We tend to put insulation into empty roof and wall cavities because, well, they’re empty. If a rehab gives access to the bare exterior or interior of framing assemblies, how do we decide what type of and how much rigid insulation to add, and what are the pros and cons of putting the rigid insulation on the exterior or the interior of the assemblies?

Design all assemblies to dry

Is Radiant Floor Heat Really the Best Option?

Posted on January 31, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Lukas Smith, a framer by trade, is building a 3,100-sq. ft. house in southern Ontario and plans to install a radiant-floor system in the basement slab as well as the first and second floors. The house will be built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and have R-values of 33 in the walls and 50 in the roof.

The Return of the Energy Quiz

Posted on January 28, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

When I published my first Energy Quiz over a year ago, a reader posted the comment: “I want another quiz.” Okay — we aim to please.

Remember, using Google for research is cheating. Answers are at the bottom of the page.

1. Evaporative coolers:
a. Perform better in a dry climate than a humid climate.
b. Perform better in a humid climate than a dry climate.
c. Don’t work very well anywhere in the U.S.

Blog Review: Eco Build Trends Blog

Posted on January 27, 2011 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

By Martin Holladay

Vera Novak’s Eco Build Trends blog covers green construction, environmental responsibility, and building science issues. Her diverse background — as a building science student and a former employee working in the ICFInsulated concrete form. Hollow insulated forms, usually made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), used for building walls (foundation and above-ground); after stacking and stabilizing the forms, the aligned cores are filled with concrete, which provides the wall structure. (insulated concrete forms) industry — gives her an experienced take on many green building topics. Novak expects to receive her PhD in construction from Virginia Tech this year.

To give a flavor of her blog, here’s a sample of some of her writing.

What’s the Greenest Option for Home Heating?

Posted on January 26, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I've always gotten a lot of questions from friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances about energy issues, and those questions picked up dramatically when I started writing this column two-and-a-half years ago. Beginning with this week, I'm going to devote an occasional column to answering some of these questions. (Feel free to e-mail questions to me, mentioning Energy Solutions in the subject line:

What's the greenest option for heating my home?

The Insulation Empire Strikes Back

Posted on January 25, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I was amused, and maybe a little surprised, to find a snail mail, printed letter from NAIMA, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, in my mailbox recently. This letter, signed by the executive vice president and general counsel, was in response to my earlier post regarding batt insulation. Here is the text of the letter. Please forgive any errors, as it was scanned and run through an OCR program.


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