The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

R-Value Crooks2

Beware of R-Value Crooks

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

Scammers continue to use exaggerated R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. claims to peddle inferior insulation products, in spite of the existence of strong consumer protection laws. Year after year, naïve builders fall prey to Web-based marketing pitches for “miracle” products like “insulating” paint and 1-inch-thick R-10 foam.

enc-heat wood stove

Cleaner and More Efficient Wood Burning

Posted on March 3, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Wood is a renewable fuel and, assuming that new trees grow up to replace those cut for firewood, it is carbon-neutral, meaning that it doesn’t have a net contribution to global warming. That said, wood burning also churns out a lot of air pollutants, some of which are highly visible as smoke. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to reduce the pollution generated by wood burning—and boost the efficiency.

moisture meter - crawl2

Tools of the Trade: Moisture Meters

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

A moisture meter is a simple, easy-to-use tool for evaluating moisture and mold problems

Moisture meters help you figure out whether your building materials are too wet. They typically use electrical conductivity between a couple of metal pins to assess moisture content; the more moisture in the material, the greater the electrical conductivity. The moisture content is measured as a percentage of total weight.

Devon Hartman

You said it, Devon

Posted on March 2, 2009 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

At a press conference at IBS, Devon Hartman of HartmanBaldwin Design Build described his introduction to green building. Pointing out that he had been doing high quality design build work for over 25 years, he told the group that when he learned about home performance and building science, he suddenly realized that much of what he had been doing so far in his career was wrong.

Fork in the road sign

When You Come to a Fork in the Code, Take It

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

Building codes are ambitious documents that do a lot while offering flexibility in how they’re satisfied.

“The purpose of this code is to provide minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.”
— Section 101.3 of the International Residential Code (IRCInternational Residential Code. The one- and two-family dwelling model building code copyrighted by the International Code Council. The IRC is meant to be a stand-alone code compatible with the three national building codes—the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) National code, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) code and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) code.)

E-Myth Revisited cover

Every Green Builder Needs to Have This Book on the Shelf

Posted on March 2, 2009 by Michael Chandler in Business Advisor

There are a small number of books that have been so important to me that I buy them in quantity to give to friends. To new parents I give Kids Are Worth It by Barbara Coloroso, and to new employess, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Among the books I give to my fellow green builders is The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

Bill Beasley and the NGBS

NAHB-ICC National Green Building Standard hits mailboxes!

Posted on March 1, 2009 by Michael Chandler in Business Advisor

It's big, it's green, but is it really a good thing?

The new NAHB-ICC National Green Building Standard (NGBS) guidebook hit mailboxes on Friday. I arrived home to this delightful picture in my in-box (see picture at right), along with an equally playful e-mail from my fellow shelter nerd, Bill Beasley.

Triple bottom line

Sustainable business begins with sustainable practices

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

The number at the bottom of your balance sheet doesn't tell the whole story about the success of your business.

As the green movement has evolved, it has been interesting and a little disheartening to see how many green businesses clearly "don't get" the concept of sustainable business. Green Building is about stepping lightly on our planet. Sustainable Business principles focus on the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profits, each holding equal importance in the way we manage our businesses.

Solar fan vent

Are Solar-Powered Attic Ventilators Green?

Posted on February 26, 2009 by Peter Yost in Building Science

At face value, attic exhaust fans make a lot of sense: if your attic is too hot, you force more air through it to cool it down. To be efficient, you use a solar-powered attic exhaust fan. When the sun is shining and heating up your attic, that’s when the photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. panel wired to the exhaust fan powers the fan. Pretty slick.

Passivhaus window 2

Equipment versus Envelope

Posted on February 24, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Designers of high-performance homes know that there is always more than one way to reduce energy use. It can be daunting to optimize investments in energy-saving measures: even with the help of computer modeling software, designers need to exercise judgment.

Designers face such questions as: Does it make more sense to upgrade the attic insulation from R-40 to R-60, or to upgrade the water heater to a more efficient unit? Does it make more sense to upgrade from double-glazed to triple-glazed windows or to upgrade from a gas furnace to a ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. Temperatures underground are relatively constant. Using a ground-source heat pump, heat from fluid circulated through an underground loop is transferred to and/or from the home through a heat exchanger. The energy performance of ground-source heat pumps is usually better than that of air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps also perform better over a wider range of above-ground temperatures.?

Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!