The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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.


Home Energy Monitoring, Part 2: Types of Monitoring Systems

Posted on January 25, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

In Part 2 of this episode, Phil and I continue our conversation with Peter Troast of Energy Circle and delve into the different kinds of home energy monitoring systems available to the homeowner. From the Kill A Watt outlet monitor that you can rent from your public library, to the full circuit-by-circuit monitor you can access from your iPhone, we try to cover it all.

Types of monitors discussed in this part of the podcast:

  • The single outlet monitor, like the Kill A Watt
  • How to Sell Green Upgrades: Radiant Barrier Paints

    Posted on January 25, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

    It’s time to sell some green upgrades this year, and this blog series is going to show you several ways I have “sold” them in the past. I put “sell” in quotes because I prefer to look at it like I show folks their options and they “buy” the one that’s right for them. So, this series will include, but not be limited to, selling attic ventilation, insulation, tankless water heaters, PEXCross-linked polyethylene. Specialized type of polyethylene plastic that is strengthened by chemical bonds formed in addition to the usual bonds in the polymerization process. PEX is used primarily as tubing for hot- and cold-water distribution and radiant-floor heating. plumbing, WaterSenseProgram developed and administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promote and label water-efficient plumbing fixtures. plumbing fixtures, and radiant barrier roof decking. When not spec’d, all are options we have offered as part of building a new home or remodeling an existing home.

    Are Masonry Heaters a Good Match for Superinsulated Houses?

    Posted on January 24, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

    In New York City, it's been considered a real coup to land an apartment with a fireplace. Now, according to The New York Times, those once lucky urban dwellers are having second thoughts. New concerns about the environmental and health hazards of wood smoke, an article this week said, are outweighing the charm of those cheery winter fires.

    What’s Vegetarian Got to Do With It?

    Posted on January 22, 2011 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

    My wife’s a raw vegan (vegetarian plus no dairy, plus no cooked food). She is committed to her diet for, well, dietary reasons. In green building terms, she’s like an extreme NZE (net zero energy) home builder! Not for everybody, but you have to admire the commitment!

    All About Water-Resistive Barriers

    Posted on January 21, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

    UPDATED on September 18, 2013

    By now, almost all builders know the importance of installing a water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) behind siding. Most types of siding leak, so it’s a good idea (and a code requirement) to install a WRB to protect your wall 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. from any wind-driven rain that gets past the siding.

    A WRB can be vapor-permeable, like Tyvek, or vapor-impermeable, like foil-faced polyisocyanurate. As long as the wall assembly is designed to dry out when it gets wet, either vapor-permeable or vapor-impermeable WRBs work well.

    Drive-by Energy Audits

    Posted on January 19, 2011 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

    With all the snow we received in southern Vermont last week, it's a great time to be an energy nerd! Lots of snow on roofs means that it's easy to tell at a glance how energy efficient houses in the neighborhood are. I mean, it's not a thorough energy audit. But it's a good way to quickly get a sense of how buttoned up these houses are.

    Home Energy Monitoring, Part 1: Knowledge Is Power

    Posted on January 18, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

    For this episode, Phil and I are joined by Peter Troast of Energy Circle to discuss home energy monitoring. Most people, I think, live their lives without much thought given to the power they are consuming when they turn on a device. They're more focused on the task at hand.

    NAHB Annual Conference Wraps Up 2011 Event in Orlando

    Posted on January 18, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

    It seems to me that most trade conferences have settled into a consistent rhythm—pre-conference classes and committee meetings, a trade show that lasts several days with a show floor and short seminars that attendees move between, and one or two big speeches that resemble tent revivals. I recently attended the International Builders Show, AKA IBS (which Leah Thayer pointed out also stands for irritable bowel syndrome), in Orlando, Florida.

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