The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Brick Chimneys With Multiple Flues

Posted on January 26, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

One of my first construction jobs in Vermont, back in the late 1970s, was at an architect-designed home with a massive brick chimney with four flues: one flue for the oil-fired boiler, and three flues for the home’s three wood stoves. The chimney worked fine — mostly because the house had so many air leaks that the wood stoves were never starved for combustion air.

Massive chimneys like the one I remember from that job are expensive to build, but they are often a source of pride for the owner. They provide interior thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. ; they are durable; and they are handsome to behold.

Kingspan Kooltherm Phenolic Foam Rigid Insulation

Posted on January 25, 2018 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Improving the thermal performance of an existing attic is often challenging: workers are faced with narrow cavities, low clearances, and claddingMaterials used on the roof and walls to enclose a house, providing protection against weather. systems that make it hard to achieve desired R-values while still maintaining the necessary drying potential of the assembly.

The house at 81 Chapin Street in Brattleboro, Vermont, is no exception. It’s a 100-year-old wood-framed two-story home that Alex Beck and Candace Pearson are determined to comprehensively retrofit to high performance.

Adjusting Bath Fan Use in Winter

Posted on January 24, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

You may have heard or read somewhere that you should run your bathroom exhaust fan whenever you take a shower and then let it run for a while after you're done with the shower. Showers increase the humidity in the bathroom. Sometimes it gets high enough to cause condensation to appear on the mirror and other surfaces in the bathroom. And that can result in mold growth.

So you should always run your bath fan when you shower. Or so they say.

Urban Rustic: Prepping for a Basement Slab

Posted on January 23, 2018 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 One-Room Insulation Challenge

Posted on January 22, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

The one-room addition on Emerson W's home is not what anyone would realistically consider over-insulated: R-11 batts in the walls and R-19 at most in the ceiling. But the immediate issue is the floor. There's no insulation at all there, and because the addition sits on concrete piers, there's nothing to stop the wind from blowing freely below.

All About Air Purifiers

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, you may have noticed ads for a type of appliance called a portable air purifier. Purchasers hope that these boxes will suck in dirty air and discharge clean air, but few homeowners know how these appliances operate.

In this article, I’ll try to answer a few basic questions about portable air purifiers:

  • How many kinds of portable air purifiers are on the market?
  • Do they work?
  • Who needs one?

California Gets New Light Bulb Efficiency Standard

Posted on January 18, 2018 by Noah Horowitz in Guest Blogs

One of the least energy-efficient products in modern history, the incandescent light bulb — a type of bulb that dates back to the days of Thomas Edison — is being permanently retired in California as of January 1, 2018, and in 2020 for the rest of the nation. California is demonstrating its environmental leadership once again by being the first state in the nation to move forward with improved energy efficiency standards for the everyday screw-based light bulb.

Rebuilding America and the ‘New Normal’ of Resilience

Posted on January 17, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By RADHIKA LALIT and KELLY VAUGHN

This year’s hurricane season is the most expensive on record, with $202.6 billion in damages according to Bloomberg. These storms across the Atlantic had devastating impacts on people’s lives and homes, on communities, and on infrastructure in the hardest-hit areas.

No, Wind Development Is Not a National Security Threat

Posted on January 16, 2018 by Christian Haig in Guest Blogs

Note: This is fourth and last in a series of blogs highlighting recent progress in onshore and offshore wind energy and examining some of the opportunities, challenges and threats the industry faces. The series was originally published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Flatrock Passive: Wrapping Up the Air Barrier                                             

Posted on January 15, 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 GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com 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.

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