The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Commercial-Scale Wind Power

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week I wrote about the challenges of small wind turbines and the difficulty of successfully integrating wind power into buildings. This week, I’ll look at larger-scale commercial wind power developments.

The Thermal Bridge to Nowhere

Posted on February 13, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Let's play a little game today. Take a look at that photo at right. See anything that bothers you?* Well, pretend that you're the heat in the house once everything is finished and people are living in it. Does that help? If your answer is still no, let me give you a little help. Here are the approximate R-values of wood and the standard insulation you might find in a wall (fiberglass, cellulose, open-cell spray foam):

Insulation: R-3.7 per inch

Wood: R-1.1 per inch

Installing Roxul Mineral Wool on Exterior Walls

Posted on February 12, 2013 by Shannon Cowan and Patrick Walshe in Guest Blogs

As the landscape around our building site disappears under a rare blanket of snow, the sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. on our houses has been disappearing under a thick layer of exterior mineral-wool insulation. Known as Comfortboard IS, this insulation has impressed us with its green virtues, versatility, and price.

Building in Japan

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Energy efficient houses are becoming more common in the U.S., even if progress sometimes seems halting. What about building practices in other parts of the world? Are builders elsewhere more progressive about using new materials and techniques, or sticking to the old ways?

We get one take on this question from Eric Matsuzawa of Connecticut, who's getting ready to build a house in a Climate Zone 4A region of Japan. Conditions would be similar to those of Virginia, not especially harsh. But what Matsuzawa is learning about local building practices is giving him pause for thought.

Wind Power: Why it Doesn’t Make Sense Everywhere

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

At least in our neck of the woods, wind power is very much in the news these days. The Vermont legislature is debating whether to institute a three-year moratorium on what detractors refer to as “industrial wind power,” and debate is raging in the nearby towns of Windham and Grafton, Vermont about a potential wind farm. I figured I should weigh in.

Batt Insulation is Still Making Me Batty

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

I recently performed the pre-drywall inspection on a small home seeking LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. certification. The local building inspector had visited and approved the batts for covering up.

The 7 Biggest Opportunities for HVAC Contractors

Posted on February 6, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Heating and air conditioning contractors have a lot of opportunities to make homes better and to be profitable. The surprising thing is just how few HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. companies take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to them.

A New Encyclopedia Article on Skylights

Posted on February 5, 2013 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers skylights.

Spraying Polyurethane Foam Over an Existing Roof

Posted on February 4, 2013 by Mike Litchfield in Guest Blogs

When Taya and Stephen Shoup's old tar-and-gravel roof began leaking, the couple hoped to find a replacement roofing that would be energy-conserving, leakproof, cost-competitive, and reasonably green. As the house's roof sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. doubled as a finished ceiling, the old insulation was scant. They broiled in the summer and hemorrhaged money during the heating season.

A Chat With Henry Gifford

Posted on February 1, 2013 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most builders and designers involved with green building have heard of Henry Gifford. Energy efficiency experts admire his deep knowledge of heating systems and his straight talk about the unacceptably high number of HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. problems in run-of-the-mill new buildings in the U.S. At the headquarters of the United States Green Building Council (USGBCUnited States Green Building Council (USGBC). Organization devoted to promoting and certifying green buildings. USGBC created the LEED rating systems.), on the other hand, he is something of a pariah — due in part to his 2010 lawsuit that accused the USGBC of making “deceptive marketing claims.”

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