The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

The Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las Vegas

Posted on January 8, 2010 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The American Southwest is running out of water. For a powerful reminder, if any is needed, of why builders in Western states should integrate water-conservation strategies in all new buildings, check out a new book by James Lawrence Powell, Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water.

Powell’s message is stark: according to scientists’ best predictions, millions of Americans living in the Southwest will face unprecedented water shortages in the next few decades.

Science, Climate Change, and Policy

Posted on January 5, 2010 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Global warming deniers have garnered a lot of attention in recent years. From opinion columns and letters in our local newspaper to heated reporting on Fox News (whose trademarked slogan “Fair & Balanced” is often anything but), those who doubt the underlying science of global warming are receiving unprecedented access to the American public and to policymakers.

Top Ten News Stories of the Decade

Posted on December 31, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

For those interested in energy efficiency and residential construction, what were the top ten news stories of the decade? I propose the following list — a list inevitably influenced by the years I spent as editor of Energy Design Update.

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Some energy-saving strategies involve spending money: replacing appliances and lights with more energy-efficient products, tuning up a heating system, and insulating an attic, for example. Other measures don’t require any expenditure at all. Below is my top-ten list of easy, no-cost ways to reduce your energy use. If you’ve been reading my column regularly, these will all be familiar, but since it’s time for New Year’s resolutions maybe a quick review will give you the needed nudge to step up your efforts.

Making Green Mainstream

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

On Wednesday, December 30, 2009, the New York Times headline read “New Slip in Housing Prices Undercuts Fragile Optimism.” As disappointing as that may sound, I think that it is a sign of hope for green building. Sustainable building has suffered too long from slow acceptance. This is due, I believe, in large part to the drunken orgy of real estate speculation we were living through for much of the last 20 years.

Position Yourself as an Expert Eco-Builder: Stay Connected With Your Customers

Posted on December 30, 2009 by Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP in Business Advisor

Rapid changes in the residential construction industry are providing new profit and diversification opportunities for builders. Those who see and understand these opportunities can position themselves as experts in the field and provide exemplary service to gain an important edge in the marketplace. Knowing where you stand in relation to your competition is paramount. Educating and communicating that position to prospective customers is equally important.

Part 7 of a 7-part series

7. Stay connected with your customers

’Twas the Night Before Christmas

Posted on December 23, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

’Twas the night before Christmas, when blizzards and chills
Strain my budget by raising my energy bills;
All the stockings were swaying — a cold winter breeze
Made my home’s leaky envelope feel like Swiss cheese
(The old windows and ceilings have so many gaps
That the kids have to sleep in their kerchiefs and caps) —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
And I yanked up the creaky old single-pane sash.

Vapor Retarders

Posted on December 23, 2009 by Lynn Underwood, GBA Advisor in Code Green

9 Steps to A Greener Code

New homes built using the 2009 International Residential Code (IRCInternational Residential Code. The one- and two-family dwelling model building code copyrighted by the International Code Council. The IRC is meant to be a stand-alone code compatible with the three national building codes—the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) National code, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) code and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) code.) or International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.) will be more energy efficient than ever. As a consequence, a builder’s world may become a bit more complex and, in some cases, a bit more expensive.

Last-Minute Shopping List for Christmas

Posted on December 22, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

You’re down to the last few days before Christmas. You’re looking for that meaningful, special gift for a family member, special friend, or co-worker. Buy a gift that keeps on giving—by saving energy! Below, is my top-10 list of energy-saving holiday gifts.

Martin’s Energy Quiz

Posted on December 18, 2009 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

This week’s blog is an energy efficiency and building science quiz. Remember, using Google for research is cheating. Answers are at the bottom of the page.

1. During the winter, a home inspector climbs into an attic and notices that the underside of the roof sheathing is covered with frost and the rafters have stains indicating mold. The most likely cause of these problems is:
a. A roof leak
b. Insufficient insulation on the attic floor
c. Air leakage paths between the wet basement and the attic.
d. Bats or squirrels.

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