The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Net-Zero Families, Not Net-Zero Homes

Posted on September 21, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Saturday found me helping a friend install new batteries for another friend's off-the-grid solar power system. We had fun getting the system back up and running and watching the solar-powered watts come in on a beautiful September day.

At one point my friend asked me to use his multimeter to read the voltage of the batteries. No problem: I put the two testing probes in place on the batteries and got the desired reading. He then asked me to reverse the probes to see if the reading also reversed, as expected.

Blog Review: Voices From BuildingGreen

Posted on September 20, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Unlike most of the blogs we review here, BuildingGreen is not the voice of a single author. Rather, it's a portal to a broad collection of blogs, news articles, product information, and other posts written by many people.

Is the Green Movement Just Spinning Its Wheels?

Posted on September 19, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

For senior editor Martin Holladay, it all started with a column in The New York Times provocatively titled “Going Green But Getting Nowhere.”

The author, Gernot Wagner, contends that individuals can make no meaningful impact on reducing carbon emissions and staving off global climate change.

Even if each of the 1 billion Catholics on Earth decreased their emissions to zero overnight, Wagner writes, “the planet would surely notice but pollution would still be rising.”

An Overview of the 2012 Energy Code

Posted on September 16, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED and CORRECTED on 9/22/2011

Are you ready for the 2012 code? Each revision of the International codes tends to ratchet up energy performance requirements, and the 2012 revision is no exception.

Although its adoption may be a long ways off in some jurisdictions — after all, many rural areas of the U.S. still have no building codes at all — the 2012 International codes may become law in some areas as soon as next year.

I’m Beginning to Really Hate Eco-Bling

Posted on September 15, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

On hearing the news that three photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers, at least one a recipient of federal loan money, have recently declared bankruptcy, I once again started thinking about my frustration with people’s attachment to putting cool “stuff” on their buildings before making sure that those buildings actually operate well.

Utility Wind Energy: Bad News for Bears

Posted on September 14, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Author's Note: Please see the comment thread at the bottom of this article for more discussion on the width of the ridgeline road. Since posting this article I learned of other permitting documents indicating a much narrower road than discussed in this article.

One of my favorite pieces of Vermont trivia has been that the tallest man-made structure in the state is the Bennington Battle Monument, at 306 feet tall — and construction of it was completed in 1889.

Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 2

Posted on September 13, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

In the Southeast where I live and build, we mostly rely on ducted HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. systems for heating and (especially) for cooling. So when I attended the Westford Building Science Symposium in early August, I was very excited to sit in on David Hill's presentation on HVAC systems, especially as Dr. Joe's introduction paraphrased Samuel Clemens’ observation: "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble; it's the things we know that just ain't so."

Is Green Building for Everyone?

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Is green building too narrow in focus, suitable only for people who keep the windows closed and let mechanical systems regulate temperature and humidity? What about people who like fresh air, even in winter, and are looking for minimal intervention from mechanical heating and cooling equipment?

That seems to be at the heart of a question from Maria Hars, a reader who lives in a passive solar house built 30 years ago in northern Massachusetts.

New Green Building Products — September 2011

Posted on September 9, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

About every six months, I report on new products that catch my eye. This round-up features products from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean: high-performance windows from Maine, Ontario, and Lithuania; high-performance doors from Poland; and high-performance tapes from Switzerland.

Never Promise That You Can Stop Ice Damming

Posted on September 8, 2011 by Pat Dundon in Guest Blogs

By Pat Dundon

Never tell anyone that you will stop ice.

I went to the building science conventions and thought I was bulletproof. But it turns out … not so much.

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