The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Can Your Water-Resistive Barrier Take UV Exposure?

Posted on April 6, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

A water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) provides protection against water damage for water that gets behind the claddingMaterials used on the roof and walls to enclose a house, providing protection against weather. of a building. But what if it doesn't really resist water? I've written a lot about installation problems that can lead to compromised water resistance. (See the article I wrote last week, for example.) But other factors can make them leaky, too. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is one of them.

Oregon’s Groundbreaking Clean Energy Bill

Posted on April 5, 2016 by Noah Long in Guest Blogs

The historic clean energy law that passed Oregon's Legislature with bipartisan support this month will have regional, national, and international implications.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown's ceremonial signing of the state's pioneering Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act at an elementary school that recently installed solar panels was both symbolic and appropriate. The new clean energy law helps address the greatest environmental threat of our time and protect future generations from the worst effects of climate change.

LEED Gets Tougher Energy Requirements

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Stuart Kaplow in Green Building Blog

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBCUnited States Green Building Council (USGBC). Organization devoted to promoting and certifying green buildings. USGBC created the LEED rating systems.) has announced that beginning on April 8, 2016, all new projects registering for LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. 2009 will need to satisfy increased minimum energy performance thresholds.

According to USGBC, the results of a recent ballot show that 78.6% percent of the consensus body voted in favor of this change to the 7-year-old rating system. By LEED rules, a minimum of two-thirds approval was needed for any balloted measure.

Two Wingnuts Describe Their Backyard Tape Tests

Posted on April 1, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Regular visitors to GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com probably know that I’m a big fan of backyard product tests. (In the past, I’ve reported on my tape tests, flexible flashing tests, and liquid-applied flashing tests.) So when I noticed that Peter Yost and Dave Gauthier would be giving a presentation titled “Sticky Business: Tape Testing, Round Two” at the BuildingEnergy 16 conference in Boston, I showed up early to make sure I got a good seat.

A Timber-Frame House for a Cold Climate — Part 3

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Rob Myers in Guest Blogs

Rob Myers is building a timber-frame house in Ontario, Canada, at a site on the Bonnechere River an hour and a half west of Ottawa. The first installment of his blog series was A Timber-Frame House for a Cold Climate — Part 1.

Will Self-Driving Cars Save Energy?

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Zia Wadud in Guest Blogs

I started to learn to drive only three years ago, and — inevitably — failed my first test. Naturally, I was disappointed. But then it occurred to me that I could avoid the whole issue, if only I could get my hands on a driverless car. And this triggered the research question: what would the overall impact on travel demand, energy use, and carbon emissions be if driverless cars were readily available to the likes of you and me?

The Carbon Footprint of Minisplits

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Dana Dorsett in Guest Blogs

It’s often presumed that heating with high-efficiency heat pumps has a lower carbon footprintAmount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a person, community, industry, or other entity contributes to the atmosphere through energy use, transportation, and other means. than heating with other equipment (and often it is). But how do you really know?

Do the math!

If Ants Like Rigid Foam, Should We Stop Using It?

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Writing from the Pacific Northwest, Malcolm Taylor dives into a problem experienced by many homeowners and builders: a carpenter ant infestation in rigid foam insulation.

"I am involved with two projects right now that have carpenter ant infestations — and in both cases they are in the foam," Taylor writes in this Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor. "One is particularly difficult to fix as it is a flat roof with tar and gravel above and a wood tongue-and-groove ceiling, making it hard to get at the nests."

How to Insulate an Attic Floor

Posted on March 25, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Maybe you are building a new home with an unconditioned vented attic. The house is framed, sheathed, and roofed. The drywall contractors have finished their work, so now you’re ready to insulate the attic floor.

If you are an owner-builder, this may be the first time you’ve done this. So what do you need to know?

Dry Is the New Normal

Posted on March 24, 2016 by Andreas Franz Prein in Guest Blogs

A few large weather systems make all the difference between a wet and a dry year in the Southwest. Coming during the winter and spring, they account for the bulk of the rain and snow the region receives.

My colleagues and I were intrigued by the relationship between weather systems and rain and snowfall in the contiguous United States. We used historic weather data from the period 1979 to 2014 to find a representative set of weather types.

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