The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Top 10 Green Building Products

Posted on November 13, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Green Building Blog

Phoenix, AZ, November 12, 2009 — BuildingGreen, LLC, publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News, today announced the 2009 Top-10 Green Building Products. This eighth annual award, announced at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild Conference, recognizes the most exciting products drawn from recent additions to the GreenSpec directory and coverage in Environmental Building News.

Ten Ways to Improve a New Home

Posted on November 13, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Buying an inefficient refrigerator is an expensive mistake. But at least the solution is simple: you can always buy a new refrigerator.

If you build an inefficient house, however, you may have an unfixable problem on your hands. Some newly built homes are so poorly designed, sited, and built that it would be cheaper to demolish them and start again than to correct all their flaws.

Position Yourself as an Expert Eco-Builder: Identify Your Ideal Customer

Posted on November 11, 2009 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

Introduction

How to Choose a Builder or Remodeler to Fit Your Needs and Budget

Posted on November 9, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

Builders and remodelers are often seen in the same light as attorneys and auto mechanics - necessary, tolerated, but not especially embraced by society. That may be because in most places, the bar is set pretty low to become a builder or remodeler.

Unfortunately, a lot of under-qualified folks get into the trades. Many backed in because they couldn't think of anything else to do and the home-building market was booming. But surely there are some good (and even great) builders out there, right? So how do consumers go about finding the good ones?

Tools for consumers

‘I’m Sorry, My Son, You’ve Got Industrial Disease’

Posted on November 8, 2009 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Business Advisor

I’ve been working in the trades for 35 years and have taken a few injuries along the way: four nail gun accidents—two through the bone; quite a memorable fall from a roof while working alone; tablesaw up the center of my middle finger (SawStop would have been nice right about then).

So it didn’t surprise me much when my incessant coughing during a recent movie date with my wife led to a doctor’s visit and the diagnosis of “industrial bronchitis,” aka white lung, or in the words of Mark Knopfler, “industrial disease."

Have a Building Code Question?

Posted on November 6, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Code Green

At trade shows we ask customers and passersby what their biggest challenges are in green building.
"Cost."
"Wading through the greenwash"
"Getting customers to buy into it."

Those are a few of the common answers. But one answer that's all too common is "Convincing my building inspector that what I want to do is better than what (s)he wants me to do."

When we talk to building inspectors about their biggest challenges in green building, they tell us that it's the magnitude of new stuff they need to learn in order to keep up with it.

Heating a Tight, Well-Insulated House

Posted on November 6, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you build a small, tight, well-insulated home — in other words, a green home — it won’t need much heat. Since typical residential furnaces and boilers are rated at 40,000 to 80,000 Btuh, they are seriously oversized for a superinsulated home, which may have a heating design load as low as 10,000 to 15,000 Btuh.

Builders have been struggling for decades with the question, “What’s the best way to heat a superinsulated home?” Your solution will depend in part on your answers to a couple of other questions:

The Clothes Washer Revolution

Posted on November 3, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

In the 1980s, when my wife and I were expecting our first child, we decided it was time to give up our weekly adventure at the laundromat and buy our first clothes washer: a used Maytag. It was rugged and generally dependable despite its age, but it had a big drawback: it used about 50 gallons of water to wash a load of laundry. Our house was served by a spring that often ran dry in the late summer, so we had to watch our water use very carefully. It wasn’t too long before we decided to replace that Maytag.

Attic Insulation Upgrades

Posted on November 2, 2009 by michael maines in design-matters

Two projects my company is currently working on involve a common problem: not enough insulation in the attic. Both homes are old; one dates from 1860, the other from 1705. In both cases we initially recommended insulating the rafter bays. In both cases, however, we were not able to get over homeowner biases against heating “storage spaces,” and instead opted for insulating the attic floor.

Green From the Start: Home Edition Volume 2

Posted on November 2, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

For those few of you who have been waiting breathlessly for updates on my new house, I finally have something to report. The preliminary plans were completed this fall and submitted to the local historic commission for approval, and that is where I ran into my first hiccup.

There is an existing cottage on the property that I was planning to demolish after my new house is complete. I was told by the commission staffer that the cottage is considered a “contributing structure” to the district, and I would have a hard time getting approval to remove it.

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