The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Are heat pumps green?

PRO/CON: Are Heat Pumps Green?

Posted on April 6, 2009 by Daniel Morrison in Green Building Blog

All heat pumps work on the same principle, moving heat from one location to another with the help of a closed refrigerant loop, a compressor, and a heat exchangerDevice that transfers heat from one material or medium to another. An air-to-air heat exchanger, or heat-recovery ventilator, transfers heat from one airstream to another. A copper-pipe heat exchanger in a solar water-heater tank transfers heat from the heat-transfer fluid circulating through a solar collector to the potable water in the storage tank.. In winter, heat is extracted from air, water, or the earth; this heat is used to heat the house. In summer, the process can be reversed so the heat pump pulls heat from the inside and dumps it outside. A heat pump can be used with either a forced-air or hydronic distribution system.

Indoor AirPlus Specs Are Ahead of the Data

The EPA’s Indoor AirPlus Program

Posted on April 3, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting builders to adopt specifications for new homes that are “designed for improved indoor air quality compared to a home built to minimum code.” The EPA calls its new program Indoor AirPlus.


Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Posted on April 3, 2009 by Rob Moody in Building Science

I’ve been absent from the blog for about a week. My apologies. I was traveling and studying for the LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. AP exam, which I took on Monday this week and passed. I have since been recovering. I’m glad it’s over, and I am looking forward to enrolling in the LEED AP+ program when it comes out later this year. The test was pretty much what I had expected, and I’m definitely glad that I studied.

Green Home

Are Green Building Materials Approved by The Building Code?

Posted on April 2, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

The materials you select will help determine just how green the home is. Materials vary in terms of energy efficiency and environmental impact. New products come on the market every day. and their value and environmental friendliness are touted at trade shows. But can you get a permit and pass inspections if you commit to building with these new products?

As a building official, it is my job to help ensure the safety of people who will live or work in the buildings of my community. The standard I use to make that happen is the building code.

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.


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?

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