The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Night Sky Radiation

Posted on May 26, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Let’s say you walk into an unheated room. The air temperature is only 50°F. There is a wood stove in the room, but the wood stove is unlit.

Your body is at about 98°F. Since your body is warmer than absolute zero, it is radiating heat in all directions. (All objects that aren’t at absolute zero emit infrared radiation). The wood stove is cool — it’s at 50°F. Still, the wood stove is also radiating heat in all directions.

Young Adults and the Construction Trades

Posted on May 25, 2017 by Rose Quint in Guest Blogs

NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification. conducted a national poll of young adults aged 18 to 25 to find out how this age group feels about a career in the construction trades. The majority of young adults (74%) say they know the field in which they want to have a career. Of these, only 3% are interested in the construction trades.

Most of the young people interested in the trades say that the two most important benefits of this career choice are good pay (80%) and the attainment of useful skills (74%). Less than half cite as benefits that the work is seasonal (15%) or that it does not require a college degree (37%).

Heating Degree Days Drop Again in 2017

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

We've had some beautiful cool weather here in Atlanta this spring. It's about 50°F outdoors as I write this, one week into the month of May. The high yesterday was only about 70°F.

We're getting a few more heating degree days (HDDThe difference between the 24-hour average (daily) temperature and the base temperature for one year for each day that the average is below the base temperature. For heating degree days, the base is usually 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For example, if the average temperature for December 1, 2001 was 30 degrees Fahrenheit, then the number of heating degrees for that day was 35.) in the middle of May. (Heating degree days are really just another way at looking at temperature, which I explained in more detail in a look at the fundamentals of degree days.) We occasionally pick up some HDD even in July and August. But it's the winter HDD that matter for heating — and that give us a clue about the climate.

Clean Energy Programs Are Safe for Now

Posted on May 23, 2017 by Elizabeth Noll in Guest Blogs

Congress did its job last week in preserving funding for critical clean energy programs that create jobs and save Americans money. The just-passed Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill, which will keep the government running through September 30, largely sustains funding for efficiency standards, advanced research, renewable energy deployment, and other important clean energy initiatives.

Airport House: Experiments in Home Automation

Posted on May 22, 2017 by Reid Baldwin in Guest Blogs

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of guest blogs by Reid Baldwin about the construction of his house in Linden, Michigan. For a list of previous blog posts on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com by Reid Baldwin, see the “Related Articles” sidebar below. You can read his entire blog here.

Natural Gas Pipelines Are Leaking

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The CO2 emissions associated with the burning of natural gas are less than the CO2 emissions associated with burning an equivalent amount of coal. Because of this fact, natural gas is seen by many policy makers as a “clean” alternative to coal.

In the last few years, however, climate activists have been pointing out two worrisome facts: (1) methane (natural gas) is a potent greenhouse gas — about 80 times more potent than CO2 (on a mass basis) during the first 20 years after the methane is released; and (2) our nation’s natural gas pipelines are much leakier than some people thought.

Installing Basement Waterproofing from the ‘Negative’ Side

Posted on May 18, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Negative-side waterproofing (NSW) is a tough topic that I have frankly been dancing around for quite some time. Manufacturer claims and homeowner anecdotes of successful interior waterproof solutions for basement walls and slabs did not completely add up. But I did not think that I understood the topic or the physics well enough to challenge the claims or explain my skepticism.

Three Easy and Essential Advanced Framing Techniques

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Most new homes in North America are built with sticks. The early home builders used bigger pieces of wood — timbers — and when the smaller dimensional lumber that we use so much today hit the market, they scoffed at those new-fangled little woody things, calling them sticks. Now our home construction industry is full of people who do stick building and the home you live is most likely stick-built. And sadly, many of the techniques used to build many of those homes are the same used before we started insulating them.

Why Real Estate Developers Are Ignoring the Middle Class

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Geoff Dembicki in Guest Blogs

The real estate industry knows there’s huge demand for less expensive homes. It’s aware that millions of people in Canada and the U.S. don’t have the financial means for a million-dollar mortgage. It gets that this is a growing problem. But real estate developers aren’t that interested in solving it. Land in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto is expensive. Developers — and the industry at large — make much bigger profits building luxury homes for wealthy people than affordable homes for the rest of us. It’s why so few new developments are targeted towards average incomes.

All-Electric vs. Natural Gas

Posted on May 15, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Given a photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. system with a capacity of as much as 8 kilowatts, does it make any sense to include natural gas appliances in a new house, or would an all-electric design be more practical?

That's the question Markus ponders as he plans a new house in Houston, Texas. Although he has natural gas service in the house where he currently lives, the size of his new rooftop solar system could prompt a change of heart.

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