The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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.

Building for Reduced Flood Risk

Posted on September 7, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

A lot can change in two hours. At 8 a.m. Sunday, I walked the length of our half-mile driveway here in southern Vermont, checking the culverts and water bars, all fortified and cleared the day before. All good. The brook next to our driveway was raging, but staying within its banks. The Green River was doing the same across the town road.

Let There Be Light — on the GU24 base for CFLs and LEDs

Posted on September 6, 2011 by Peter Yost in Green Communities

Are we really ready to say goodbye to incandescent light bulbs? The ones that give off 10% light and 90% heat? The ones with the shortest life span? The ones that have the lowest initial price, don’t flicker, are always instant on-instant off, and give off the “right” color and quality of light? Not so fast and not so easy…

We have been here before: 2- and 4-pin CFL fixtures!

The Pros and Cons of Running a Dehumidifier

Posted on September 6, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Superinsulation is the most effective weapon we have against wintertime heat losses. R-values of 60 or more in the roof and 40 in exterior walls can slow the movement of heat to a crawl, keeping energy costs far below what they’d be in a conventionally built house.

Yet Harry Seidel puts his finger on a potential problem. During the summer, any heat generated inside the house will have just as much trouble getting out of the house.

Labor Day Thoughts on Unemployment and Weatherization

Posted on September 6, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor in Business Advisor

I’ve been thinking more than usual this Labor Day weekend about putting Americans to work while solving our energy crises. If our goals are to reduce unemployment, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and improve all the buildings that are bleeding energy into the night sky, we need a better way to sell and finance home energy weatherization contracts.

The problem: how we sell weatherization work

Spray Foam Jobs With Lingering Odor Problems

Posted on September 2, 2011 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Should spray polyurethane foam be installed in an occupied house? Hundreds of spray foam contractors around the country are happy to answer “Yes!” In almost all cases, these jobs end successfully: the spray foam improves the home’s thermal performance and the homeowner is happy.

An Interview With Martin Holladay, Part 2

Posted on September 1, 2011 by Christopher Briley in Green Architects' Lounge

Those who are new to the green design and construction movement, or “sprouts,” often have some misconceptions. We've all been there, and most of us are still there to some degree or another. It's a long learning process — one that is truly endless, as Martin eloquently discusses in Part 1 of this episode.

We thought we'd talk about a few of these common beliefs as a means to structure a conversation with GreenBuildingAdvisor's senior editor, Martin Holladay.

Garbage Disposal, Compost, or Landfill?

Posted on August 31, 2011 by Tristan Roberts in Energy Solutions

I have been having a lot of fun feeding worms my garbage. We have something you could either call a “worm bin” or a “home vermicomposting system,” and we throw our food scraps, banana peels, melon rinds, moldy bread — you name it — into that. There are a couple pounds of worms in the bin, and they gratefully accept the waste, eat it, and turn it into worm castings, which is basically organic matter that is broken down in such a way that it’s very good for our garden.

It’s Alive! Studying the Living Building Challenge

Posted on August 30, 2011 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

I spent most of a day recently in a seminar on the Living Building Challenge (LBC), a self-described philosophy, advocacy tool, and certification program for sustainable building. If people outside the industry think that existing green building programs are pie-in-the-sky and touchy-feely, put together by granola-eaters, then they are going to have to adjust their scales for the LBC.

Are LEDs Worth Their Extra Cost?

Posted on August 29, 2011 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Standard incandescent light bulbs are among the most profligate energy consumers available, turning more than 90% of the energy they consume into heat rather than light. These old-school bulbs are inexpensive and cast a pleasingly warm light, but their days are numbered.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are gradually taking their place. Although they’re more expensive, the cost is coming down and dimmable versions have become available. Bulb life is much longer and, more important, CFLs deliver much more light per watt of electricity than incandescent bulbs.

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