The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

When Are Door Undercuts Sufficient for Return Air?

Posted on October 25, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Most people don't know that simply closing a door in their home can make them sick, increase their energy bills, or reduce their comfort. We live in this invisible stuff called air. We pull many pounds of it into our lungs each day. A typical air conditioner, heat pumpHeating and cooling system in which specialized refrigerant fluid in a sealed system is alternately evaporated and condensed, changing its state from liquid to vapor by altering its pressure; this phase change allows heat to be transferred into or out of the house. See air-source heat pump and ground-source heat pump., or furnace easily moves 20 tons of air a day. (Yes, I'm talking about 40,000 pounds! We'll save that calculation for another day, though.) And the simple act of closing a door changes the dynamics of a house in ways that can have profound impacts on the people inside the home.

Self-Driving Cars Will Mean More Sprawl

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By Timothy Hodgetts

Self-driving cars will change how we live, in all sorts of ways. But they won’t just affect us humans — the coming revolution in autonomous transport has significant implications for wildlife as well. Nature conservationists and planners need to think hard about the impact of driverless vehicles, most notably in terms of renewed urban sprawl.

Urban Rustic: Up on the Roof

Posted on October 23, 2017 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 Better Bath Fan Termination for Soffits

Posted on October 20, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most bathroom exhaust fans are installed poorly. Because of twisted ductwork, improper terminations, and (in some cases) inappropriate backdraft dampers, the actual air flow through the exhaust fan is much less than the fan rating.

Rebuilding After the Hurricanes

Posted on October 19, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By Siddarth Narayan and Michael Beck

An Easy Retrofit for Return Air

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Your bedroom really doesn't aspire to be a balloon. Yet, because of the way your heating and air conditioning system was installed, it may be acting like one. At least to an extent. It doesn't expand the way a balloon does, but it does get blown up.

Think about it. If your bedroom has a supply register from your HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. system but no return grille or other pathway for the air to make its way back to the unit, what happens to that air blowing into the room when you close the door?

The Latest Trend in Home Performance: Why You Should Be Concerned

Posted on October 17, 2017 by Charles Cormany in Guest Blogs

For the past couple of years there has been a lot of conversation in the industry about indoor air quality and the health benefits of home performance upgrades. Even the certification folks have jumped on the bandwagon, offering special certifications for home inspections that focus on health and indoor air quality. There is no question that energy upgrades can improve the indoor environment of a home or building; this has always been one of the non-energy benefits of home performance upgrades. The real question is, does this warrant a change in messaging for the home performance industry?

Can Bathroom Fans Be Used to Distribute Heat?

Posted on October 16, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Debra's new house in southwestern Virginia will be a one-story design of 1,344 square feet with half the space devoted to a single, open room and the remaining area divided into two bedrooms, two baths, and a utility room. The main source of heat will be in the open room, and in the absence of a conventional forced air heating system, Debra's quandary is how to distribute the heat evenly.

‘Extended Plate and Beam’ Walls

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Production builders in the U.S. love 2x4 walls. They also love keeping the cost to build their homes as low as possible.

When energy codes ratcheted up in the 1980s and 1990s, cold-climate home builders eventually switched to 2x6 studs. But most production builders are still reluctant to install exterior rigid foam or furring strips.

In Climate Zones 6, 7, and 8, new codes are forcing builders to consider the implications of the “R-20 + R-5” requirements for walls. But many builders are unhappy with current options for building high-R walls.

Is It Time to Move Our Cities?

Posted on October 12, 2017 by Crawford Kilian in Guest Blogs

The end of this wretched summer will go unlamented by all North Americans: raging wildfires from British Columbia to California, no fewer than three catastrophic hurricanes (so far), and two disastrous earthquakes in southern and central Mexico.

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