The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 3: Five Questions

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

I sent an email to Jeff Gagnon and Jim Godbout, and asked them five basic questions about ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. Temperatures underground are relatively constant. Using a ground-source heat pump, heat from fluid circulated through an underground loop is transferred to and/or from the home through a heat exchanger. The energy performance of ground-source heat pumps is usually better than that of air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps also perform better over a wider range of above-ground temperatures. installations. In this part of the Green Architects' Lounge podcast, Phil and I take some time to review and compare their answers. We also take a moment to touch on the subject of ozone-depleting refrigerants.

How Smart Is My Smart Power Strip?

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I’ve been hearing about “smart” power strips for a while, and while I am pretty good about turning off the various electronics in my house on regular old manual power strips, I decided it was time to evaluate one of these advanced devices for myself. I purchased a TrickleStar unit for about $30 and set out to hook it up in my office to see how it worked.

A Checklist for Building a House

Posted on November 29, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

John Hess built a small house 20 years ago, and he may have the chance to build again in the coming year. But he realizes a lot has changed in residential construction since 1990.

He'd like to incorporate more green-building features this time around while making fewer mistakes than he did with his first house.

“Can anyone recommend a downloadable checklist or spreadsheet which covers the many and varied aspects of building a house?” he asks in this Q&A post.

Fastening Furring Strips to a Foam-Sheathed Wall

Posted on November 26, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED March 1, 2012

If you’re building a house with foam 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. , and your siding is installed over vertical rainscreenConstruction detail appropriate for all but the driest climates to prevent moisture entry and to extend the life of siding and sheathing materials; most commonly produced by installing thin strapping to hold the siding away from the sheathing by a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch. strapping installed on top of the foam, how should you attach the strapping? Most builders screw the strapping through the foam into the studs; so far, so good. But what length screws should you use? And how closely should you space the screws?

LED Lighting Getting Better and Better

Posted on November 25, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I'm just back from Chicago, where I was attending the Greenbuild Conference of the U.S. Green Building Council. Despite the weak economy, some 27,000 architects, builders, developers, and manufacturers gathered for this 9th annual conference.

At Greenbuild, I moderated an interactive session looking at "hype vs. reality" with LEDLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. lighting. Indeed, there is a lot of hype out there (more on that below), but the bottom line is that there are some amazing products coming onto the market.

Jeffrey Gordon's Paper on Bursting Pipes

Posted on November 24, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

William Rose, the renowned architect and building researcher from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, kindly forwarded a research report by Jeffrey Gordon, “An Investigation Into Freezing and Bursting Water Pipes in Residential Construction.”

The report is broken into three parts. To view the report, click on the links below:
Part 1
Part 2

Greenbuild Expo 2010 Recap

Posted on November 24, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Another Greenbuild Expo is in the books, and based on the Twitter traffic (hashtag #greenbuild), people can’t stop talking about it, so I suppose it’s my turn to chime in. According to the USGBC, attendance was up slightly from last year. The show floor was huge, as always, although the arrangement did not feel crowded or even that big to traverse.

Does Spot Ventilation Work in an Ultra-Tight House?

Posted on November 22, 2010 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

UPDATED: 12/9/10 with expert opinions from David White and Marc Rosenbaum

Frank O's new house is tight — very tight. Tests by an energy auditor measured 0.13 air changes per hour at 50 pascals of depressurizationSituation that occurs within a house when the indoor air pressure is lower than that outdoors. Exhaust fans, including bath and kitchen fans, or a clothes dryer can cause depressurization, and it may in turn cause back drafting as well as increased levels of radon within the home. (ACH50), meaning the house beats the very stringent airtightness target of the 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. standard.

Frank O has installed a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. ) to provide fresh air as well as fans for spot ventilation and a range hood fan rated at 189 cubic feet per minute (cfm).

Sounds perfect. So what's the problem?

Makeup Air for Range Hoods

Posted on November 19, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most homes have several exhaust appliances. These typically include a bathroom fan (40-200 cfm), a clothes dryer (100-225 cfm), and perhaps a power-vented water heater (50 cfm), a wood stove (30-50 cfm), or a central vacuum cleaning system (100-200 cfm). But the most powerful exhaust appliance in most homes is the kitchen range-hood fan (100-1,200 cfm).

Green Building Priority #1 – Reduce Energy Use

Posted on November 17, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Energy consumption carries with it numerous environment impacts. Most importantly, burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, to oil) to heat homes or generate electricity emits the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which is the leading cause of global climate change. Debate about whether climate change is real has long since ended in most scientific circles and is now relegated to the radical blogosphere and pseudo news outlets. The vast preponderance of evidence supports the contention that greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere are trapping heat and warming the globe.

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