The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Urban Rustic: Up on the Roof

Posted on October 23, 2017 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

A Better Bath Fan Termination for Soffits

Posted on October 20, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most bathroom exhaust fans are installed poorly. Because of twisted ductwork, improper terminations, and (in some cases) inappropriate backdraft dampers, the actual air flow through the exhaust fan is much less than the fan rating.

Rebuilding After the Hurricanes

Posted on October 19, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By Siddarth Narayan and Michael Beck

An Easy Retrofit for Return Air

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Your bedroom really doesn't aspire to be a balloon. Yet, because of the way your heating and air conditioning system was installed, it may be acting like one. At least to an extent. It doesn't expand the way a balloon does, but it does get blown up.

Think about it. If your bedroom has a supply register from your HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. system but no return grille or other pathway for the air to make its way back to the unit, what happens to that air blowing into the room when you close the door?

The Latest Trend in Home Performance: Why You Should Be Concerned

Posted on October 17, 2017 by Charles Cormany in Guest Blogs

For the past couple of years there has been a lot of conversation in the industry about indoor air quality and the health benefits of home performance upgrades. Even the certification folks have jumped on the bandwagon, offering special certifications for home inspections that focus on health and indoor air quality. There is no question that energy upgrades can improve the indoor environment of a home or building; this has always been one of the non-energy benefits of home performance upgrades. The real question is, does this warrant a change in messaging for the home performance industry?

Can Bathroom Fans Be Used to Distribute Heat?

Posted on October 16, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Debra's new house in southwestern Virginia will be a one-story design of 1,344 square feet with half the space devoted to a single, open room and the remaining area divided into two bedrooms, two baths, and a utility room. The main source of heat will be in the open room, and in the absence of a conventional forced air heating system, Debra's quandary is how to distribute the heat evenly.

‘Extended Plate and Beam’ Walls

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Production builders in the U.S. love 2x4 walls. They also love keeping the cost to build their homes as low as possible.

When energy codes ratcheted up in the 1980s and 1990s, cold-climate home builders eventually switched to 2x6 studs. But most production builders are still reluctant to install exterior rigid foam or furring strips.

In Climate Zones 6, 7, and 8, new codes are forcing builders to consider the implications of the “R-20 + R-5” requirements for walls. But many builders are unhappy with current options for building high-R walls.

Is It Time to Move Our Cities?

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Crawford Kilian in Guest Blogs

The end of this wretched summer will go unlamented by all North Americans: raging wildfires from British Columbia to California, no fewer than three catastrophic hurricanes (so far), and two disastrous earthquakes in southern and central Mexico.

Four Sources of Crawl Space Moisture

Posted on October 11, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Here in the southeastern U.S., we have a lot of crawl spaces. Most are vented. Even most new ones are vented. It's not because it's the best way to keep them dry. That's certainly not true. We have enough research on crawl spaces to know better. No, they're vented because foundation vents got into the code decades ago and, once there, they’ve been difficult to dislodge.

So if you have a vented crawl space, especially in a humid climate, it most likely has moisture problems. And where does that moisture come from? Let's take a look.

Home Energy Performance Data: Why It Pays to Go First

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Kelly Vaughn in Guest Blogs

There is tremendous risk and reward to being a first mover. News that Tesla overtook Ford in market value is perhaps the most illustrative example of what’s possible when innovative technologies disrupt the market.

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