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New Green Building Products — January 2009

Posted on January 21, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

LAS VEGAS, NV — Wandering the trade show floor at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas today, I stumbled upon several intriguing new products. Here are four of them.

Serious Energy windows

Serious Energy, a window manufacturer that recently acquired Alpen Windows, has made several improvements to Alpen’s line of windows with pultruded fiberglass frames. Windows from Serious Energy (formerly known as Serious Materials) are available with Heat Mirror glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. from Southwall Technologies.

Strata-International

Green Paint Sets the Scene

Posted on January 20, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

As the plane descends into the Las Vegas airport, every arriving visitor notices the stark contrast between the desert environment of southern Nevada and the modern city of swimming pools and irrigated shrubbery. After arriving today, I took the shuttle bus to the Bally Hotel, across the street from the Bellagio. The Bellagio overlooks an 8-acre artificial lake — in essence, the largest swimming pool in town, in a town known for its large pools — where a few lonely ducks swim in the chlorinated water.

Brattleboro’s Historic Landfill Gas System

Posted on January 20, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

In last week’s column I examined a fairly unusual local power source: the Northfield Mountain pumped hydropower system, which is used for “storing” electricity—by pumping water uphill. This week we’ll take a look at a very different power-generation system that’s even closer to home: the landfill gas power plant at the Windham Solid Waste Management District (WSWMD) facility on Ferry Road.

energy-edge

Energy Edge Slab Insulation System

Posted on January 15, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

A solution in search of a problem? It depends.

Slab on grade construction is extremely common in the southeast and southwest US because it’s a fast, affordable way to get out of the ground and into the house. Slabs are also a great way to incorporate hydronic heating into a house.

Slab foundations can be energy sieves if not insulated on the outside with rigid foam. Both heat and cold can penetrate deep into a house through an un-insulated slab edge in summer and winter.

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Getting Started in Green

Posted on January 14, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

Builders downsize square footage and learn from their mistakes

Since the 1970s, Jim and Mark Picton have been building houses for wealthy clients in Washington Depot, CT. “Five thousand square feet was the basic size of the houses we built,” says Mark. “The biggest one was around 14,000 square feet.”

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A Green Production Home

Posted on January 13, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Business Advisor

Ideal Homes builds inexpensive, energy-efficient houses; it just doesn’t call them green

You can look high and low on the Web site of Oklahoma City developer Ideal Homes, and you won’t find the words “green building.” Since its founding in 1990, Ideal has built and sold more than 7,000 homes, and it expects to sell a further 500 this year.

Pumped Hydro Power Storage

Posted on January 13, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last weekend, looking for someplace new to explore, my wife and I drove down to Northfield, Massachusetts, to check out the cross-country ski center. The skiing was great, and it occurred to me that readers of this column might be interested in learning about the pumped-hydro power plant on the mountain—the ski center was created as a recreational amenity for this power project.

Pro/con: Vinyl

Pro/Con: Is Vinyl Green?

Posted on January 12, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

Yes, Vinyl Is Green

By Patrick Moore
Expensive green products will remain niche products with little chance to have a positive effect on the environment. Vinyl is affordable and versatile. Read more...

No, Vinyl Is Lethal

By Bill Walsh
The environmental, health, and social equity effects of vinyl over its life cycle make it the worst plastic for the environment and the antithesis of a green building material. Read more...

Energy Use Is the Most Important Aspect of Green Building

Posted on January 12, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Articles on green construction, including those published on the Green Building Advisor website, contain information on a wide range of topics, including material choices, indoor air quality, landscaping, and the VOCVolatile organic compound. An organic compound that evaporates readily into the atmosphere; as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are organic compounds that volatize and then become involved in photochemical smog production. content of paint. This wide array of information can convey a false impression — namely, that the covered topics are equally important.

Green and affordable house

Does Green Building Cost More?

Posted on January 11, 2009 by Ann Edminster in Green Building Blog

Green Building is Better Building, and Better Building is More Expensive.

Learning curve certification and better construction details may come at a premium, but the cost will flatten out. The costs of not building green however, will keep going up.
When I teach about green building, someone in the audience always asks the inevitable question: "How much does it cost?" After answering this question several gazillion times, I've realized that it boils down to three queries:
1. What does a green rating cost?
2. What's the learning curve?

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