The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Planning a New Home: Where to Spend the Money?

Posted on August 22, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

A tight, well-insulated building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. is fundamental to a high-performance house. So is a heating and cooling system that keeps it comfortable with a minimum input of energy. What happens when the construction budget can’t handle the added costs of high-quality windows and extra insulation as well as high-efficiency mechanicals?

That basic question is what’s plaguing Dave W as he works to complete plans for his new home.

A Bold Attempt to Slay R-Value

Posted on August 19, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. is the poor stepchild of building science metrics. Although it is often essential for builders, designers, and engineers to know a material’s R-value, this useful metric is regularly abused, derided, and ridiculed for its shortcomings. “R-value doesn’t measure assembly effects: thermal bridges, air movement, thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. , moisture content — all of which can all affect thermal properties,” explained Chris Schumacher, an engineer and researcher at Building Science Corporation, at a summer symposium in 2009. “R-value doesn’t do a good job describing the entire system.”

Choosing a High-Performance Wall Assembly

Posted on August 18, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jesse Lizer’s new house will be in Climate Zone 6, where he can expect 7,400 heating degree days a year. High R-values in the building envelopeExterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. are a high priority.

Energy Upgrade or 401(k)?

Posted on August 17, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

Sure, I’ve heard of placentas before, but my mental image of them was of some kind of amorphous blob that sort of disappeared after the baby was born.

Integrative Design: Planning Early Reduces Risk Later

Posted on August 17, 2011 by Amy Hook in Green Communities

Hello, Green NSP World. I saw this post on the larger Enterprise Community Partners blog by Ray Demers @the horizon and thought you would enjoy it! - Amy

Charrettes as a simpler fix

Blog Review: NB Superinsulated House

Posted on August 16, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Green Building Blog

Richard Lachance, an architect, spent 22 years working in the Missouri state park system before relocating to Cocagne, New Brunswick. He now researches “the transition to a new economy,” including the role of energy-efficient housing design.

Cocagne is a small community at the mouth of the Cocagne River in this Canadian Martime province. Across the Northumberland Straight is Prince Edward Island. Given its location and sometimes harsh weather, LaChance’s interest in superinsulated house design makes sense.

Insulating Old Brick Buildings

Posted on August 12, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED March 19, 2015

Older buildings with load-bearing brick walls are common in many northern U.S. cities. While these thick (muti-wythe) brick walls were often plastered on the interior, they were rarely insulated.

Ramblings on Retail and Green Homes

Posted on August 12, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

My father owned a local hardware store for almost thirty years, and I have fond memories of hanging out and working there, with the locally owned stationery story, movie theater, pharmacy, and grocery on the same block. Each successive block was also populated primarily with independently owned businesses, usually operated by their owners, most of whom lived nearby. Most businesses were local; when you went to a different town, the stores were noticeably different.

An Interview With Martin Holladay, Part 1

Posted on August 11, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

You know him, you love him (or at least his articles): Martin Holladay. He was in the neighborhood, so he stopped by to chat with Phil and me for this episode of the Green Architects' Lounge. This is your chance to get to know the man behind some of your favorite blog posts and Fine Homebuilding articles.

Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 1

Posted on August 10, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

The invitation was too cool to be real: My name was somehow on a list of “experts” who were invited to take part in a Building America Water Heater Expert Session on combo systems. The invite noted that the session was to be the day before Joe Lstiburek’s Building Science Summer Camp, and “it is expected that the information obtained will lend itself toward the eventual production of a guide for the best practice application of combination space and domestic water heating systems for new and retrofit residential construction.”

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