The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Off-Grid in Canada: An Energy Model of the House

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Craig Anderson in Guest Blogs

This is one of a series of posts by Craig Anderson describing the off-the-grid house he built with his wife France-Pascale Ménard near Low, Québec. Craig writes about the "Seven Hills Project" in a blog called Sunshine Saved. For a list of Craig's previous posts, see the list of "Blogs by Craig Anderson" in the sidebar below.

Installing an Exhaust Fan During a Bathroom Remodel

Posted on September 28, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Remember my bathroom remodeling project? I took the liberty of gutting our outdated, decaying bathroom while my wife was out of town in April. I found some interesting air leakage pathways when I opened the walls. I fixed that. I found termite damage. I fixed that.

Our 1970 condo didn't have an exhaust fan in this bathroom because, hey, who needs a bath fan when you have a window? I fixed that. Here's how.

Toxic Dust: The Dangerous Brew in Every Home

Posted on September 27, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


As I was frantically cleaning my apartment last month in preparation for a visit from my parents, I paused for a moment to stare at the dark smudge on the damp cloth I was dusting with. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that little dust smudge contains a whole universe of toxic chemicals — chemicals that pollute the globe and build up in wildlife and humans, that can cause cancer, or are linked to birth defects in babies.

Heading Off Ice Dams

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

With the onset of another winter just a few months away, Jake Rabe is looking for suggestions on how to prevent the recurrence of ice dams on his older Ontario home.

"Each winter I have to deal with ice damming along two sides of the roof — nowhere else," he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor. "The areas in question are a low-slope roof (3/12 pitch, east and west side of the ridge) and a cathedral style roof (8/12 pitch)... My goal is to stop the ice damming."

Adopting a Green Lifestyle

Posted on September 23, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

I’ve always struggled with the word “green.” I’m not quite sure what “green building” means, but most definitions include the idea of environmental responsibility.

To get a better handle on environmental responsibility, it might be useful to create a list of green values or aims. Here’s my stab at creating such a list.

Green values include:

  • Avoiding actions that injure biodiversity.
  • Avoiding actions that destroy important habitat, especially habit for threatened species.
  • Avoiding actions that increase the likelihood of species extinction.

Is ‘Range Anxiety’ Really Justified?

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Electrifying transportation is one of the most promising ways to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, but so-called range anxiety — concern about being stranded with an uncharged car battery — remains a barrier to electric vehicle adoption. Is range anxiety justified given current cars and charging infrastructure?

It’s a question my research group and I addressed in a paper published in Nature Energy, by taking a close look at this problem with a new model.

How Dirty Is Your Electricity?

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Lately I've been working on my presentation for the 10th anniversary of the North American Passive House Conference. It's on the global warming impact of insulation, a followup to my latest article about Alex Wilson's work on that subject.

Flood, Rebuild, Repeat: The Need for Flood Insurance Reform

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Can you imagine living in a property that has flooded 10 times? How about 20 times? It’s hard to fathom enduring that kind of situation, yet owners of 2,109 properties across the United States experience just that. Not only has each of these properties flooded more than 10 times, but the National Flood Insurance Program has paid to rebuild them after each flood. One home in Batchelor, Louisiana, flooded 40 times and received a total of $428,379 in flood insurance payments.

Wolfe Island Passive House — An Introduction

Posted on September 19, 2016 by David Murakami Wood in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first certified 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. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, Wolfe Island Passive House. This post was originally published on July 2015; it is the first in a blog series that will publish about the project.

Indoor Microbes and Human Health

Posted on September 16, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The word “health” is usually reserved for living things. Our children can be healthy or unhealthy, and so can our pets and the apple trees in the back yard. But what’s a “healthy house”?

Most people use the phrase “healthy house” to describe a house that either promotes the health of the occupants or, at a minimum, doesn’t make the occupants sick. Of course, everybody wants a healthy house: Who wants to live in a house that makes you sick?

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