The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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Measuring Electricity Use

Posted on May 5, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

I get a lot of questions about energy. Electricity consumption factors into many of them. Why are electric bills so high? How can I tell when it’s time to replace a refrigerator? Most of us have electric meters on our houses, but these measure your total household electricity use. To figure out what accounts for that overall figure, you need to measure the consumption of individual appliances and pieces of equipment. A really useful gadget for figuring out these sorts of questions is an electricity monitor.


Market Shifting

Posted on May 4, 2009 by Rob Moody in think-spot

Last month I had the great fortune to meet with Ethan Landis of Landis Construction Corp., a leading design/build firm in Washington, D.C. The company was founded in 1990 by Ethan, an MBA, and his brother Chris, an architect. They specialize in home renovations in the greater Washington area, and over the last few years, the Landis’ company has defined its commitment to green building. As Ethan explains, that definition is dynamic. I traveled up the Red Line to the Tacoma Park metro stop to spend a couple of hours talking to him about it.

AE living roof

Lessons Learned on a Living Roof

Posted on May 4, 2009 by Ann Edminster in Green Building Blog

We have a wee living roof on our home. After a couple of false starts, it’s looking quite winsome. Since it has posed a number of challenges, I thought I’d share our experience. Mistakes, after all, are more instructive (and entertaining) than successes.

How it started
Not well, actually. I was excited about the project—not only were we going to do something new; the result, a wildflower meadow, was going to be on view from our master bedroom.


How Green Is My Architect?

Posted on May 1, 2009 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

Made it to San Francisco for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) annual conference yesterday, and while there was not a single bow tie in sight, I did see at least two pairs of Corbu glasses. What was most interesting, although not unexpected, was how green the conference itself has become. Just as the rest of the building industry—and the country, for that matter—has suddenly taken on the green mantle, architects and their affiliated partners have all "gone green."


Dispatch from ACI

Posted on April 30, 2009 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

A convergence of weatherization and home performance professionals (aka "Roomful of Geeks") met in Kansas City at the end of April for the annual ACI Advancing Home Comfort Conference. This event, formerly known as Affordable Comfort, brings together industry leaders and practitioners to teach, learn, and share ideas about the industry. The educational sessions I attended were generally solid, if somewhat dry and technical, but that is to be expected.

Magnifying glass over leaf

Qualifying Green Products

Posted on April 29, 2009 by Annette Stelmack in design-matters

The choices we make today are shaping what our world will look like tomorrow.

We are all consumers, with an inherent responsibility in the choices we make on a daily, hourly basis. Our choices can lead to improving the quality of life for all, and eventually restoring and regenerating our planet. So where do we start in qualifying products that lead to the final selection of an environmentally preferable product?

Sam Rashkin Announces New Energy Star Homes Specifications

Raising the Bar for Energy Star Homes

Posted on April 29, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Over a thousand home performance contractors, weatherization experts, HERS raters, and energy nerds are gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, this week to attend the ACI Home Performance conference (formerly known as the Affordable Comfort conference).

At one well-attended workshop, energy consultant Michael Blasnik and Shaun Hassel of Advanced Energy Corporation shared a roundup of data on the performance of Energy Star homes — data which are unlikely to be happily received at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Among the findings presented by Blasnik and Hassel:

    Electric range

    Efficient Cooking

    Posted on April 28, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

    Which is better: a gas or electric range? Most serious cooks prefer gas, because it delivers heat instantly and is highly controllable. With typical electric cooktops, it takes longer for the burner to respond when turned on and when the setting is adjusted.

    Mastic Sealing

    It’s The Training, Really Competent, Capable People!

    Posted on April 24, 2009 by Rob Moody in think-spot

    Musings on Mazria, Lstiburek and Gifford: Part Five

    Am I beating a dead horse with this subtitle? I’ll make this the last entry in the series and move on. This post will be the cathartic culmination of my scattered thought process throughout. At the Southface Greenprints Conference in Atlanta last month, I was privileged to see Ed Mazria speak about Architecture 2030 as it relates to current economic and environmental upheaval.

    What Is Sustainable

    What Does ‘Sustainable’ Mean?

    Posted on April 23, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

    In the U.S. and Canada, many residential builders use the word “sustainable” as a synonym for “green.” We hear about sustainable development, sustainable homes, and sustainable building products.

    Now that the word “sustainable” has become ubiquitous — even at the GreenBuildingAdvisor Web site, where a new $736,000 home on the coast of Maine is described as a “sustainable spec house” — it’s time to take a step back and consider the word’s history.

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