The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Are Traffic-Clogged Cities Ready for Congestion Pricing?

Posted on February 21, 2018 by John Rennie Short in Guest Blogs

New York is the latest city to contemplate congestion pricing as a way to deal with traffic problems. This strategy, which requires motorists to pay fees for driving into city centers during busy periods, is a rarity in urban public policy: a measure that works and is cost-effective.

Flatrock Passive: Blower Door Test Comes up Roses

Posted on February 20, 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 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.

Planning for Backup Power in an All-Electric House

Posted on February 19, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Writing from central Kentucky, Clay Whitenack poses this question: in an all-electric house, what's the best way of providing power when the grid is down?

Whitenack and his family live in a new house, a house that does not have a fireplace or a wood stove. "This leaves us vulnerable in the event of a power outage during a bad winter," he writes in a post at the Q&A forum. "We live in central Kentucky, so the winters here are usually not too bad, but we do have times when the temps get below freezing for extended periods of time."

Using a Bath Fan to Equalize Room Temperatures

Posted on February 16, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

On Green Building Advisor, readers regularly ask questions about room-to-room temperature imbalances — the type of imbalances that may occur when a home has a point-source heater like a ductless minisplit or a wood stove. Here’s a typical question: “I’d like to install a bathroom fan to move air from a warm room to a cool room. Will this approach be enough to equalize the temperatures between the two rooms?”

Americans Are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Posted on February 15, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries, and consumer products has transformed shopping. Personal interactions, from the casual to the intimate, are increasingly virtual instead of face to face.

Is R-8 Duct Insulation Enough?

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

If you know a little building science, you've no doubt seen a lot of problems that occur with air distribution systems. Ducts just don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in most homes.

I've written about ducts quite a bit here and have shown problems resulting from poor design and installation. We all know how stupid some of those problems are. So today I'm going to talk about a problem that doesn't get nearly enough attention: duct insulation — even when the design and installation are perfect.

Can Mirrors Boost Solar Panel Output?

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Joshua M. Pearce in Guest Blogs

Falling costs for solar power have ledLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. to an explosive growth in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar use over the past decade. The levelized cost of solar electricity using imported solar panels — that is, the solar electricity cost measured over the life of the panels — has dropped so much that it is lower than electricity from competing sources such as coal in most of America.

Integrating HRVs With Air Handlers

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

This is the second of two articles about heat-recovery and energy-recovery ventilators based on training developed by Bruce Manclark and Dan Wildenhaus of CLEAResult. Part 1, which covers equipment selection, is available here. This post originally appeared at the Zero Energy Project.

Things You Do Not Need

Posted on February 9, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.

Can a Tech Company Build a City? Ask Google

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation startup owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced a partnership with the City of Toronto to develop a new waterfront precinct. Time to ask Google: Can you build a city?

The Quayside precinct, dubbed “Sidewalk Toronto,” is to become a 500-hectare (1,236-acre) sandpit for testing a suite of new tech products. The aim is to radically reimagine the way a city is made. (Further reading: Creative City, Smart City … Whose City Is It?.)

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