The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Back from Sabbatical

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Back in March I reported that I would be taking leave from this blog as I embarked on an eight-month sabbatical. With support from the Hanley Award I received last year, I was able to take an unpaid leave from BuildingGreen for some rejuvenation, reflection, research, and writing.

Das Haus Tour

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I attended an event in October called the Das Haus tour – a prefab “house” sponsored by the German Consulate General that will be roaming the country for about a year. The first stop was in Atlanta, so although I was one of the first people to see it, I don’t understand the point of the venture.

Should Historic Preservation Trump Energy Performance?

Posted on December 5, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Windows are often a dominant architectural feature in old houses. A six-over-six sash with wavy, bubbled glass has a charm that modern windows can only aspire to, more than offsetting their less-than-stellar energy performance.

Or so many local historical preservation committees would argue. And, as Mike Keesee has discovered, that’s a frustrating problem for builders and homeowners who want to make energy-efficient windows part of a renovation.

Books on Insulation and Energy-Efficient Building

Posted on December 2, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Two new books that might interest green builders recently caught my eye: The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation Products and Practices by Alex Wilson and The JLC Guide to Energy Efficiency by the editors of The Journal of Light Construction.

Full disclosure: I was a minor participant in the creation of both books. At Wilson’s request, I reviewed portions of his manuscript before publication and provided feedback. I also wrote several of the articles appearing in the JLC book.

Sniffing Out House Problems

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

A victim of a hepatitis E infection she picked up unknowingly in Brazil, Genevive Bjorn’s liver rebelled against her one night in Hawaii. Her body almost shut down on her, but with help from the hospital, a battery of tests, her watchful boyfriend at her side, and a diet of nothing but rice porridge, she squeaked through.

Energy Code Enforcement is a Mixed Bag

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I’ve never been much of a code geek, but recently I’ve been studying the 2009 and 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.) documents. When I was a contractor, energy code enforcement by building officials was pretty much nonexistent, so I didn’t pay much attention to the specifics, although I’m fairly certain we met or exceeded the minimum requirements in our projects.

The Case of the Mystery Gas Leak

Posted on November 28, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

What began as an attempt to track down the source of air leaks in his one-year-old home has led Kevin Hilton to a deeper mystery — a natural gas odor that is apparent only when energy auditors are running a blower-door testTest used to determine a home’s airtightness: a powerful fan is mounted in an exterior door opening and used to pressurize or depressurize the house. By measuring the force needed to maintain a certain pressure difference, a measure of the home’s airtightness can be determined. Operating the blower door also exaggerates air leakage and permits a weatherization contractor to find and seal those leakage areas..

As Hilton explains in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, the source of the gas leak has been impossible to track down so far.

Energy Star Version 3

Posted on November 28, 2011 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

Planning is an essential component to the new Energy Star Version 3. Not only is Energy Star Version 3 a component of the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, but it is also rapidly becoming the go-to energy performance standard for most federal and local funding sources.

European Products for Building Tight Homes

Posted on November 25, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A new distributor of building products from Europe has set up shop in Brooklyn, New York. The company, called Four Seven Five, was recently founded by a trio of PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. consultants: Floris Keverling Buisman, Sam McAfee, and Ken Levenson. Four Seven Five plans to import air-sealing products and ventilation fans from Germany, as well as HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. equipment from Denmark.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 1

Posted on November 24, 2011 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

I come from a family of non-conformists. My dad was the product of a line of labor shit-disturbers of the first order; my mom came from milder stock but was herself a civic activist of unparalleled backbone. I spent my childhood marching for racial equality, farm worker rights, and peace in Vietnam. So perhaps it’s inevitable that I have come to view myself as a green building revolutionary.

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!