The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Big Variations in Annual Energy Use

Posted on March 19, 2013 by Marc Rosenbaum in Guest Blogs

One thing I learned while following the energy usage of buildings I designed was that as a building’s energy needs are reduced, and the fraction of those needs supplied by solar energy increases, the variation in backup energy (purchased energy) increases from year to year.

Let's look at the monitoring data for our house, and compare the winter of 2011-2012 with the winter of 2012-2013. Due to colder weather and changing lifestyles, we used 23% more energy over these months in 2012-2013 than in the previous year.

A New Encyclopedia Article on Water-Resistive Barriers

Posted on March 18, 2013 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's library of articles and blogs continues to expand. The newest article to be added to the ever-deeper GBA Encyclopedia covers water-resistive barriers (WRBs).

Pearls of Wisdom From Recent Conferences

Posted on March 15, 2013 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

There are lots of reasons to attend conferences. At a good conference, we get a chance to network with colleagues, to learn about recent research, to see new products, and to talk with manufacturers' reps. I've had the good fortune, over the last six weeks, to attend three conferences focusing on green building and residential energy:

Extending Window Openings for a Deep Energy Retrofit

Posted on March 14, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

A few weeks ago I reported on the amazing, high-tech Alpen, R-12 (center-of-glass) windows that we installed on the north and west facades of our farmhouse in Dummerston, Vermont. At that time I promised to report on the other windows we were installing on the south and east facades (windows 2.0 if you will).

How to Install Flex Duct Properly

Posted on March 13, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

I've written a lot about duct problems (especially those in flex duct) because they're so abundant. A couple of years ago, I even wrote an article in the Energy Vanguard Blog about whether or not flex duct should be banned. My answer was no — but that we need better quality control.

Factory-Built Wall Panels

Posted on March 12, 2013 by Roger Normand in Guest Blogs

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a Passivhaus in Maine. This is the 25th article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

Coping With Termites and Carpenter Ants

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Ralph’s new home will be in Cleveland, Tennessee, not far from Chattanooga and solidly in termite country. And that’s the problem.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic Bullet

Posted on March 8, 2013 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty hard on batt insulationInsulation, usually of fiberglass or mineral wool and often faced with paper, typically installed between studs in walls and between joists in ceiling cavities. Correct installation is crucial to performance. in the past. I feel that my complaints and concerns are well justified, but no matter which insulation product is chosen, it has to be installed properly or it just doesn’t work.

Many people mistakenly believe (myself once among them) that spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is the perfect product, is always installed right, and tightens up homes every time.

A Pioneer of Low-Energy Homes Since 1973

Posted on March 7, 2013 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Bruce Brownell, of Adirondack Alternate Energy, has been creating low-energy, largely passive-solar-heated, resilient homes in the Northeast for forty years — and he’s still going strong. Since 1973, Bruce has built more than 375 homes in 15 states, a third of them in very cold (over 8,500-degree-dayMeasure of how cold or warm a location is over a period of time relative to a base temperature, typically 65°F (although other base temperatures, such as 75°F, can be used for cooling). To calculate the number of heating degree-days (HDD) of a given day, average the maximum and minimum outdoor temperatures and subtract that from 65°F. The annual number of heating degree-days is a measure of the severity of the climate and is used to determine expected fuel use for heating. Cooling degree-days (CDD), which measure air conditioning requirements, are calculated by subtracting the average outdoor temperature from an indoor base temperature.) climates. Most require just a few hundred dollars of heat per year.

The Science of Global Warming Is Older Than Quantum Mechanics

Posted on March 6, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

I'm new to global warming. I didn't hear about it until 1983. Even thirty years ago, the science behind the greenhouse effect and global warming was well known. French Physicist and mathematician Joseph Fourier is generally credited with being the first to hypothesize that the earth is warmed by its atmosphere and even that we humans can change the climate. That goes all the way back to 1827.

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