The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

It’s OK to Skimp On Insulation, Icynene Says

Posted on February 5, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

While energy experts often advise builders to exceed minimum code requirements for insulation, Icynene Incorporated, a manufacturer of open-cell spray polyurethane foam, is swimming against the tide. Surprisingly, Icynene is trying to convince builders to install less insulation than the code requires.

Become a Master Certified Green Professional

Posted on February 4, 2010 by Peter Yost in Building Science

As part of a new Master Certified Green Professional designation, NAHB worked with GreenBuildingAdvisor to develop a rigorous training course covering green home building, full of building science and quality construction details. This course premiered at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas just last week.

Will Solar Panel Mounts Cause Roof Leaks?

Posted on February 4, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Q&A Spotlight

Our latest Question of the Week comes from a homeowner in New Jersey. Monica is uncertain of the best way to insulate the roof of a new second-story addition on her Cape Cod home. She wonders whether it's wise to insulate directly under the 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. — especially since the mounting system for her 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. array requires 54 holes to be drilled in her asphalt shingle roof.

Tax Credits for Window Replacement

Posted on February 2, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week, I provided an overview of the 30% federal tax credits that are in place for 2009 and 2010 for residential energy upgrades. Most of the provisions of those tax credits are very good. In the rush to do a lot very quickly, though, some mistakes were made. One such mistake, in my opinion, has to do with the credit provided for window replacement.

Time for Some Respect

Posted on February 2, 2010 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I had a discussion several months ago with a designer I know regarding energy efficiency in a project she is working on. She recently took the initiative to become a licensed residential contractor and is now managing entire projects. I applaud her for making this transition and for working hard to maintain her professionalism in an industry where there are a lot of fly-by-night operators. The homeowner is interested in making the house more efficient, and our conversations focused on those aspects of the project.

GREEN BUILDING TIP: Use a Certified Irrigation Pro

Posted on February 1, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

As much as 60% of all household water consumption can go to outdoor uses. Irrigation systems should be designed not to waste potable water. A good system delivers water efficiently at the right time. Systems that distribute water indiscriminately, like lawn sprinklers, are inherently wasteful.

While lawn and garden work are tempting DIY projects, a certified pro can help you accomplish your water conservation goals more efficiently. At least they can help you make better choices when designing the system.

Kermit Was Right

Posted on February 1, 2010 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

Yes, we admit it; the blog title is a play on words from the oft-quoted Kermit the Frog. But it continually amazes me how many building professionals, companies, and organizations don’t have or clearly state a comprehensive and clear definition of building green. Without one, you risk confusing your staff and your clients. With one, you ensure that everyone is on the same page, from the beginning of and throughout the whole construction process.

Blower Door Basics

Posted on January 29, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Leaky homes are hard to heat and hard to cool. The only way to know whether your home is leaky or tight is to measure its air leakage rate with a blower door. A blower door is a tool that depressurizes a house; this 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. exaggerates the home’s air leaks, making the leaks easier to measure and locate.

An energy-efficient house must be as airtight as possible. Many older U.S. homes are so leaky that a third to a half of the home’s heat loss comes from air leaks.

CODE TIP: Footing Drains and Foundation Waterproofing

Posted on January 27, 2010 by Daniel Morrison in Code Green

Building codes require perimeter drains around the outside of basement footings. They are not difficult to install properly before the foundation has been backfilled, but they are costly and disruptive to put in after the fact.

Sections 404, 405, 406, and 801 of the International Residential Code (IRCInternational Residential Code. The one- and two-family dwelling model building code copyrighted by the International Code Council. The IRC is meant to be a stand-alone code compatible with the three national building codes—the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) National code, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) code and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) code.) relate to foundations and below-grade habitable space. All code references are to the IRC unless otherwise specified.


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