The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

All About Glazing Options

Posted on December 3, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Everybody has an opinion on windows, and there’s a lot to talk about. Which frame material do you prefer: wood or fiberglass? Do you like double-hungs, sliders, or casements? Who provides better warranty service, Marvin or Pella?

Window selection is a complicated topic, so I'll approach the issue in small bites. In this article I’ll focus on glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill..

Presents For the Would-be Energy Savers Among Family and Friends

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

With Black Friday behind us, it's time for my annual Christmas shopping list — ideas for energy-saving and green living gifts this holiday season. Most of these products can be purchased locally — benefiting the local economy. Discounts may be available for both in-store and online purchases.

Concept SL-100 Solar-Powered LED Security Light

Blower Door Testing Row Homes

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

This question comes up quite a bit, particularly in affordable housing. Using a blower door to depressurize a rowhome means that air is being pulled not just from the outside, but also from adjacent units through the common or party walls of the home. And while the air that leaks into one home from another may be conditioned (heated or cooled) and not a real issue from an energy-efficiency perspective, there may very well be indoor air quality concerns related to combustion safety, radon, smoking, etc.

Five approaches

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.

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