The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Green Building Myth: Green Homes are Ugly

Posted on April 13, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

For the last several weeks I’ve been describing a number of common myths about green building. This week I’ll address the myth that green homes are ugly — that incorporating solar and other green features somehow compromises aesthetics.

How Heat Moves Through Homes — Building Science Podcast

Posted on April 12, 2010 by John Straube in Building Science

In our last episode, Dr. Joe Lstiburek talked about efflorescence and the serious damage that water and salt can do to masonry. This week, Dr. John Straube explains how the three forms of heat flow work, and debunks the claims of a few common insulating materials.

Comfort is the Primary Purpose of Buildings

Construction Process Part Two: Contractor Selection

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

I have about a half dozen green contractor attributes to consider, but let’s start with a baseline: NOT green (behind the ears…).

It’s the Little Things

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I was hired a few years ago to consult on a new luxury residence to make the house as green as possible. At about 7,500 square feet, many people would argue that it could never be a green home, but as I was brought in after the design was complete, my job was to do the best I could with what I was given to work with. While the builder, Mike LaBelle, had no prior experience in high-performance homes, luckily for everyone, he was very interested and enthusiastic about learning how to build better.

Lead-based paint and green remodeling

Posted on April 9, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

The paint problem
Lead improved paint’s performance; it made paint more durable, moisture-resistant, and faster-drying. That sounds pretty green. Unfortunately, lead also makes paint a human health hazard, particularly to kids. Not even close to green. Tiny amounts can permanently damage a child’s growing brain, resulting in IQ loss, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Contrary to the myth, kids don’t typically eat paint chips; they ingest lead dust from ordinary (and frequent) hand-to-mouth contact.

Airtight Wall and Roof Sheathing

Posted on April 9, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

In the early 1970s, residential builders knew almost nothing about air tightness. The first residential air barriers were installed in Saskatchewan in the late 1970s, when pioneering Canadian builders began sealing the seams of interior polyethylene sheeting with Tremco acoustical sealant. The Canadian builders (and their American imitators) went to a lot of trouble to weave the interior poly around framing members at rim-joist areas and partition intersections.

Green Building Myth: Technology Will Solve All Our Problems

Posted on April 6, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

The last several weeks I’ve written about a number of common myths of green building. Here’s another: that the energy-conservation features and products we install are enough to ensure that our houses will be top energy performers.

7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 1. The Basement

Posted on April 6, 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.

Radon and Airtightness

Posted on April 5, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

We are always trying to avoid unintended consequences of our best efforts to improve home performance. A good example of this is radonColorless, odorless, short-lived radioactive gas that can seep into homes and result in lung cancer risk. Radon and its decay products emit cancer-causing alpha, beta, and gamma particles. gas and air tightness levels in homes during energy retrofits. How are the two levels related and what can we do about it if they are?

A bit of background on radon

7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 3. The Walls

Posted on April 5, 2010 by Betsy Pettit in Green Building Blog

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 3: Insulate your walls

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