The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Bathroom Design

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Americans who grew up in the 1950s or early 60s (that includes me) remember living in a house with one bathroom. There was usually someone standing outside the door yelling, “Hurry up!”

These days, most Americans live in (or aspire to live in) a house with two or more bathrooms. My guess is that we’re never going to return to the bathroom standards of the 1950s; two-bathroom houses are probably here to stay.

Pete’s Product Puzzle: VersaDry

Posted on September 21, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

I first “learned” about VersaDry when a colleague of mine here at BuildingGreen — our materials and product expert, Brent Ehrlich — sent me the photo reproduced at right. I was in the same boat you are right now: “OK, thanks for the photo, Brent, but what the hell is this VersaDry bent-metal thingamajig?”

He replied, “Oh, yeah, here is another photo that will help.” This time he sent me the photo reproduced as Image #2, below.

Thinking Clearly About the 3 Levels of the Building Enclosure

Posted on September 20, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

When you approach the subject of building science, especially regarding heat, air, and moisture flows through a building enclosure, it's easy to get confused. There's a lot to learn: blower door testing, insulation grading, R-value, vapor permeance, radiant barriers, combustion safety, solar heat gain coefficients, and on and on. That's why we break things down into simpler pieces.

Batteries Included

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Bronwyn Barry in Guest Blogs

Almost everyone has a story about receiving an awesome gift, only to find they couldn’t use it until hours later because the box lacked one essential item — the battery. Remember the frustration, and how easily that manufacturer could have made you happy if they weren’t so cheap?

How to Vent a Rainscreen

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

A vented rainscreenConstruction detail appropriate for all but the driest climates to prevent moisture entry and to extend the life of siding and sheathing materials; most commonly produced by installing thin strapping to hold the siding away from the sheathing by a quarter-inch to three-quarters of an inch. — an air gap behind the siding — has become a standard detail in many new houses. It helps remove moisture that works its way through the siding, and in the process helps siding last longer. It's the "vented" part of this equation that has Gerald Pehl thinking.

"I've got an assembly design for a vented rainscreen, and it will be held continuous to the soffit spaces, which then vent through to the attic ridge vent via conventional vent chutes between the rafters," Pehl says in a comment posted in the Q&A forum at GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com.

Low-Income Housing: Problems and Solutions

Posted on September 15, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Low-income Americans have a hard time finding housing. When families learn that market-rate housing is unaffordable, they often seek help from a variety of government agencies — some local, some state, and some federal. Unfortunately, government efforts to provide housing assistance to low-income families are unable to fully meet the need.

Thirty Years After the Montreal Pact, Solving the Ozone Problem Remains Elusive

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Fred Pearce in Guest Blogs

Did the Montreal Protocol fix the ozone hole? It seemed so. With chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-eating chemicals banned, many scientists said it was only a matter of time before the ozone layer recharged, and the annual hole over Antarctica healed for good.

But 30 years on, some atmospheric chemists are not so sure. The healing is proving painfully slow. And new discoveries about chemicals not covered by the protocol are raising fears that full recovery could be postponed into the 22nd century — or possibly even prevented altogether.

Is It Possible to Get Condensation on a Sponge?

Posted on September 13, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

I recently taught a class called What the Duct!? at the Builders' Boot Camp in Virginia. Paul Francisco was one of the other instructors (teaching about indoor air quality), and on the last evening at dinner, our conversation turned to building science. (Imagine that!)

Thinking Beyond Trump

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By JENNIFER MORRIS

Flooding Is More Than a Coastal Problem

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Nina Lam in Guest Blogs

Catastrophic flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey is the latest reminder that floods kill more people in the United States than any other type of natural disaster and are the most common natural disaster worldwide. Many communities along U.S. coastlines have begun to take heed and have slowed development in coastal flood zones. The bad news, as Harvey shows, is that inland communities are also at risk — and in some, development in flood zones is increasing.

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