The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Mold in a vented attic

Don't Try This At Home: Armchair Building Science

Posted on April 2, 2009 by Peter Yost in Building Science

The homeowners called me after a certified home inspector stated that the attic was underventilated and moisture was building up as a result. The roof assembly had soffit vents at the eaves and two gable-end vents. These vents would not be as effective as ridge-to-soffit ventilation, but were probably close to building code requirements (see Green Basics – Attics).

Climate Smart

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint — Part One

Posted on March 31, 2009 by Annette Stelmack in Building Science

How many of you have searched the Web to calculate your carbon footprint? I have, and it is exciting, intimidating, and perhaps an all-consuming process. More than 10 years ago my husband and I signed on with Xcel Energy support wind power. We installed a programmable thermostat and set the temperature higher in the summer and lower in the winter.

Toxic and non toxic building materials

Toxic and Non-Toxic Houses

Posted on March 31, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Are green builders more fearful than most Americans? It would certainly appear so, since so many of them show signs of an almost paranoid obsession with toxins.

Radiant-Floor Heating

Radiant-Floor Heating

Posted on March 30, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Occasionally I wonder if I have some sort of masochistic streak — somehow enjoying the grief I get when bursting people’s favorite bubbles. I’ll brace myself for such a response to this column, when I point out why radiant-floor heating systems don’t make sense for new, energy-efficient houses.

A No-Frills Pantry. Just the shelves, please...

Greenest Room in the House

Posted on March 29, 2009 by Michael Maines in design-matters

Kitchens of the past were often dark, cramped places where a solitary cook would toil. Now that it has evolved into the social hub of the house, people usually want the kitchen to be open to living areas. They also want windows to bring in natural light and ventilation. Meanwhile multiple cooks, helpers, and visitors need their own places in the kitchen, and a multitude of small appliances are considered essential, straining the traditional work triangle.

cart

The First … Charrette?

Posted on March 27, 2009 by Ann Edminster in Green Building Blog

Okay, so you’ve put your stellar team together, and everyone’s agreed about how the integrated design process is going to unfold. It may be new to them, but they’re game. Now you’re going to hold a charrette to kick off the process. What happens there?

First of all, what’s a "charrette" anyway?

Small giants

Book Review: Small Giants

Posted on March 26, 2009 by Michael Chandler in Business Advisor

Small Giants was written by Bo Burlingham, who also co-authored The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Game with Jack Stack. His point is that, while it’s easy to feel beleaguered as a small-business owner — competing against bigger companies with deeper capital reserves and expert boards of directors and investors — the business is better able to follow the leader's intuition and to harvest information more quickly and act on it with less need for justification.

IRC

Cracking the Code

Posted on March 26, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

It’s complex and hard to read… That’s why they call it a Code!

If you’re going to build green or otherwise, you'll need to crack the code. The process begins with a permit and you'll pass a series of inspections. Here’s a primer of the code, but it's worth getting a copy to read as well.

Pavers

Helping the Environment, One Drop at a Time

Posted on March 26, 2009 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

There is a lot of discussion about pervious paving and its contribution to the environment. Standard paving materials collect pollutants like oil, chemicals, and rubber tire particles from vehicles, pesticides, and dirt, only to have rain wash it off into our waterways, degrading our fresh water supply. Natural landscapes allow rain to percolate down through the soil, taking various pollutants with it, filtering and cleaning them as they flow down, typically arriving clean and clear by the time they reach the water table.

Communication

How to Communicate With Your Inspector

Posted on March 25, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

The words may be the same, but our understanding is poles apart…

Imagine you’re in another country where no one speaks English, and you just want to find your way to the hotel. How do you communicate? Carefully, right? You’ll have a similar problem if you are a first-time homebuilder communicating with a building inspector...especially about green products or materials.

Communication is key

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