The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

How Land Under Solar Panels Can Contribute to Food Security

Posted on June 20, 2018 by Frank Jossi in Guest Blogs

At a recent solar energy conference in Minneapolis, attendees unwound at happy hour tasting free pints of a local honey-based India Pale Ale called “Solarama Crush.” Minnesota-based 56 Brewing makes the smooth IPA using honey from hives located on solar farms outside the Twin Cities.

Every New Home Should be Zero-Energy Ready

Posted on June 19, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By BEVERLY SMIRNIS

Reprinted with permission from Dallas/Fort Worth Building Savvy Magazine.

Flatrock Passive: Firing Up the Heating System

Posted on June 18, 2018 by David Goodyear in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: This is one of a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard. The first installment of the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. For a list of Goodyear's earlier blogs on this site, see the "Related Articles" sidebar below; you'll find his complete blog here.

Where Can I Find Good Advice?

Posted on June 15, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Donald Wulfinghoff is an energy consultant who works in Maryland. In 2015, he published Super House, a 700-page book that explains how an ordinary person without architectural training can design a superinsulated home that (he claims) will use only 10% to 20% as much energy for heating and cooling as a conventional home.

A Vision of the Future Takes Shape in Paris

Posted on June 14, 2018 by Susannah Shmurak in Guest Blogs

Every so often an environmentally friendly building gives us a glimpse of the low-carbon future so many climate plans envision. With the development of Clichy-Batignolles, the city of Paris has created a groundbreaking eco-village filled with such buildings. Begun in 2002, the massive redevelopment project is about 30% complete and is slated to be finished in 2020.

Simple Steps to Improve Air Conditioner Performance

Posted on June 13, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

It's getting hot out there. Here in the Southeast, we love our air conditioning.  In fact, without air conditioning, far fewer people would live in places like Houston, Hattiesburg, and Sopchoppy. And that's true for the hot, dry places, too, like Phoenix, El Paso, and Boron.

So if we're going to have air conditioning in our homes, we want it to work.  It should be effective and efficient.  It should keep us cool without creating new problems, such as excessive noise, bad indoor air quality, or comfort that varies from room to room.

Saving Sustainably: Designing and Installing a Septic System

Posted on June 12, 2018 by Matt Bath in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This is one in a series of blogs detailing the construction of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. house in Point Roberts, Washington, by an owner/builder with relatively little building experience. You'll find Matt Bath's full blog, Saving Sustainably, here. If you want to follow project costs, you can keep an eye on a budget worksheet here.

Designing a High-Performance Wall in Wildfire Country

Posted on June 11, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Will Welch has chosen to build his high-performance house in Nederland, Colorado. The site is at the border of Climate Zones 6 and 7, and it poses some challenges: it's at an elevation of 8,600 feet; the area gets a generous amount of snow and wind; and the number of heating degree days tops 8,800 a year.

But Welch has one more concern: the threat of wildfires.

Growing Marijuana Indoors is an Environmental Disaster

Posted on June 8, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Many Americans live in areas of the country where the local utility sponsors energy efficiency programs — for example, one that offers homeowners free energy audits. In addition to offering this type of residential efficiency program, many utilities have also developed energy efficiency programs to help commercial customers, including retailers and manufacturers.

California’s Solar Panel Edict

Posted on June 7, 2018 by Garth Heutel in Guest Blogs

More California rooftops will soon sport solar panels, partly due to a new state mandate requiring them for all new houses and low-rise residential buildings by 2020.

This rule immediately sparked lively debates. Even experts who generally advocate for solar energy expressed skepticism that it was actually a good idea.

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