The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Deciphering the Tax Credits

Posted on October 30, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The energy-efficiency tax credits and renewable-energy tax credits are better than tax deductions. The allowable credits aren’t just deductible expenses; they represent dollars subtracted directly from your tax bill. While the tax credit program includes illogical rules, the available tax credits can be significant.

If you want to claim a tax credit on your 2009 income tax return for energy-efficiency improvements to your home, you should get the improvements installed before the end of the year. There’s really no need to rush, however, since the tax credits will remain available until the end of 2010 — or, in some cases, 2016.

Why Does Green Building Matter? (Part 2) - Building Science Podcast

Posted on October 30, 2009 by John Straube in Building Science

This podcast series is excerpted from a two-day class called "Building Science Fundamentals" taught by Dr. Joe Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube, of Building Science Corporation.

Pro/Con: Open-Cell or Closed-Cell Foam?

Posted on October 29, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

Everyone agrees that spray polyurethane foam does a great job at reducing air leakage. But which type of insulation makes the most sense: open-cell foam or closed-cell foam?

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com presents two spray-foam experts — Jim Coler, the owner of Coler Natural Insulation in Ionia, New York, and Neal Ganser, a spray-foam consultant from Bozeman, Montana — who explain the advantages of the two main types of spray foam insulation.

Open-Cell Foam Beats Closed-Cell Foam

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Anonymous in Green Building Blog

By Jim Coler

When shopping for spray foam insulation, many builders and homeowners are uncertain whether to choose an open-cell product or a closed-cell product. In my opinion, the choice is clear: for above-grade residential applications, the best choice is usually open-cell foam. In most cases, open-cell foam will be more economical, more flexible, and more forgiving with moisture than closed-cell foam.

Closed-Cell Foam Beats Open-Cell Foam

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Anonymous in Green Building Blog

By Neal Ganser

Replacing long-obsolete insulation materials with closed-cell or open-cell spray polyurethane foam is a big step in the right direction for energy efficiency. Of the two types of foam, it is closed-cell foam that truly answers all of the building envelope’s requirements for long-term sustainability. Compared to open-cell spray foam, closed-cell foam has a higher R-value and is less vapor-permeable.

Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariffs

Posted on October 27, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Vermont made history last week, becoming the first state to offer “feed-in tariffs” for electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

Feed-in tariffs have been used since the early 1990s in Europe, most notably in Germany, to jump-start the photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (solar electricity) industry. In a nutshell, they are government-mandated, long-term power purchase contracts for electricity generated by renewable energy systems at rates that are significantly higher than the market rate for wholesale power.

Elements of Successful Websites

Posted on October 27, 2009 by Dina Lima in Business Advisor

Your website is your online storefront. We live in an Internet-driven society. One of the huge benefits that we all love and enjoy is instant access to all sorts of information. According to the Domain Name Industry Brief by VeriSign, Inc., the Internet now has more than 183 million domain names (1Q 2009). This is a 12% increase compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Passivhaus Crosses the Atlantic

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Last weekend I attended the Fourth Annual North American Passive House Conference in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. The conference offered a great opportunity to learn more about the Passivhaus standard and to discuss low-energy buildings with an experienced group of architects, engineers, and builders.

Improving Water Heater Efficiency

Posted on October 21, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week I wrote about a high-tech solution for water heating--heat-pump water heaters that can cut costs by more than half compared to conventional electric water heating. This week, I’ll address the low-tech efficiency side of water heating.

How Deep Is Your Footprint?

Posted on October 19, 2009 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

In my house we’ve been talking a lot lately about consumption—more specifically, about the relationship between consumption and our carbon footprint. In the green-building world, when we talk about a footprint, it’s usually related to building design.

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