The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Diagnostic Tools for Energy-Minded Remodelers

Posted on April 9, 2015 by Don Jackson in Green Building Blog

The past several years have seen a flurry of activity on the home-energy front. Federal tax incentives and dozens of rebate programs have focused attention on cutting residential energy consumption. Energy audits are now common in many areas of the country, and building codes have stepped up insulation and air-sealing requirements, and are even beginning to require blower-door testing and duct-testing on new construction. Homeowners are more aware than ever of these trends, with more and more wishing to tighten their houses so that they can save money on their utility bills.

Should the DOE Increase Furnace Efficiency Standards?

Posted on April 8, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Do you know when the U.S. last raised furnace efficiency standards? It was 1987. Do you know how long the U.S. Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) has been trying to change that? At least since 2007.

The past eight years have been a sad case of industry heavyweights preventing progress on this important issue. The DOE, however, just proposed a new rule, so we might finally see some action here. Do you know when it's set to go into effect, if passed?

Best Practices for Zero Net Energy Buildings

Posted on April 7, 2015 by Marc Rosenbaum in Guest Blogs

This is a synopsis of a peer-reviewed article by Marc Rosenbaum, found in the Fall 2014 edition of BuildingEnergy magazine, and a preview of what's in store for students of Marc's BuildingEnergy Masters Series Course, Zero Net Energy Homes.

A Better Approach to Design/Build

Posted on April 6, 2015 by Ann Edminster, GBA Advisor in Green Building Blog

The most ambitious project I’ve ever worked on is a spectacular, über-green home in the foothills west of Silicon Valley. The owners, Linda Yates and Paul Holland, contacted me in May 2006 to request that I brief their project team on LEED for HomesLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. , then in its prepilot stage. Six years later, in November 2012, I had the pleasure of leading a tour of the house as part of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild conference. I invited Fine Homebuilding editor Brian Pontolilo to tag along.

The 10 Most Important Water Stories in 2014

Posted on April 6, 2015 by Peter Gleick and J. Carl Ganter in Guest Blogs

1. The California drought becomes an emergency
California’s multi-year drought grew dire enough in 2014 to prompt Governor Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency in January. By the end of the year, California had experienced the driest and hottest 36 months in its 119-year instrumental record. Some researchers described the drought as 1) the worst in over 1200 years and 2) evidence of rising temperatures globally as climate changes accelerate. As of mid-January, the drought is continuing.

How to Install Rigid Foam On Top of Roof Sheathing

Posted on April 3, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A roof over a vented, unconditioned attic does not need to include any insulation. However, most cathedral ceilings and low-slope (flat) roofs are insulated roof assemblies: with this kind of roof, the insulation follows the slope of the roof.

Insulated roof assemblies can be vented or unvented. There are lots of different ways to insulate this type of roof, but one of the best methods calls for the installation of rigid foam insulation above the roof sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. .

Lawns Gone Wild

Posted on April 2, 2015 by Lance Hosey in Guest Blogs

Because environmental challenges are so complicated, potential solutions are rarely as simple as they seem.

For example, the market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing rapidly, outpacing hybrids, although the supply is nowhere near the million EVs that President Obama called for in his 2011 State of the Union address (which might be why he didn't mention the topic this year).

California’s Mistake Puts Spray Foam Insulation on the Bad List

Posted on April 1, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Last summer I learned about the state of California's efforts to create more healthful buildings and working conditions. In 2008, they passed the California Green Chemistry Initiative with the intent of reducing state residents' exposure to toxic chemicals.

Breathe Easy With Balanced Ventilation

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Sean Groom in Green Building Blog

Houses need fresh air. Without ventilation, the quality of indoor air can rapidly become worse than that of the outside air; that holds true even in urban areas. Common contaminants include gases, odors, and moisture, and these can stem from utility rooms, garages, basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Reflections on BuildingEnergy 2015

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Marc Rosenbaum in Guest Blogs

For 36 years, my professional community has been the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEANorth East Sustainable Energy Association. A regional membership organization promoting sustainable energy solutions. NESEA is committed to advancing three core elements: sustainable solutions, proven results and cutting-edge development in the field. States included in this region stretch from Maine to Maryland. www.nesea.org). In early March we gathered once again in Boston for the BuildingEnergy conference. It was one of the best ever.

I go to BuildingEnergy to get my mind twisted out of my ordinary fixed ideas and to learn new ways to think. This year was a bumper crop.

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!