The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Rinnai 2532FFU

Using Your Heating System to Heat Water

Posted on June 9, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Continuing our series on water heating, this week we’ll look at two options for heating water with the home’s central boiler. First some terminology: boilers heat water or produce steam for distribution in baseboard units or steam radiators, while furnaces heat air for distribution through ducts and registers. Integrating water heating with a standard hot-air furnace is not possible; if you have a furnace, you have to stick with a stand-alone water heater.

Air Sealing

When Will They Ever Learn?

Posted on June 8, 2009 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

Once again, the obstructionists are hard at work. According to a recent article in The Hill, a nonpartisan, nonideological daily paper for and about Congress, climate and energy bills currently clawing their way through Congress are meeting stiff resistance from several industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Farewell to the Chimney?

Posted on June 6, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

For thousands of years, the chimney has been closely associated with our concept of home. Upon spying smoke curling from a distant chimney, the weary traveler ends his journey with lightened steps.

When I built my house in Vermont, as a much younger man than I am today, I designed a house with two chimneys. The house has a cellar, first floor, second floor, and attic; because I wanted the chimneys to rise five feet above the ridge, they had to be 40 feet tall.

Some products promise the world

How Do I Know That Green Materials Are REALLY Green?

Posted on June 4, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

So, you’re thumbing through a magazine and see an article for an innovative green building material. The author touts the environmental friendliness of the product, and the entire article is dotted with the word “green.” A visit to the product website shows you similar claims of a truly green product.

Curmudgeon Design Meeting

Green From the Start – Home Edition

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

A few weeks ago I spent about eight hours with Barley and Pfeiffer Architects in Austin, TX, working up a preliminary design for my new house near Atlanta. While I certainly increased my carbon footprintAmount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a person, community, industry, or other entity contributes to the atmosphere through energy use, transportation, and other means. by flying to Texas for this meeting, having been around the design and construction industry for a while, I decided that I wanted to go with the most experienced architects I could find for my new, green home. Peter Pfeiffer has been a friend of mine pretty much since the day he attended a jobsite tour of a “green” renovation project of mine.

ccp - tankless water heater

Storage vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Posted on June 2, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Last week I suggested some ways to reduce your hot water use. This is almost always the easiest way to save energy with water heating—it’s the “low-hanging fruit” to be sure. Over the next few weeks, I’ll get into water heating options. To start, let’s look at the differences between “storage” and “tankless” water heaters.

Michael Horowitz 2

Size Matters

Posted on June 1, 2009 by Michael Horowitz in Green Building Blog

By Michael Horowitz

Home buyers expect green scoring systems to provide guidance when choosing between green-labeled homes. These expectations are largely unfounded, however, since almost every rating system ignores or inadequately considers a major determinant of a home’s environmental impact — its size.

Unchecked gluttony

Kim Calomino 2

Size Doesn't Matter

Posted on June 1, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Green Building Blog

By Kim Calomino
Not to state the obvious, but the housing market is just that – a market. Homes come in countless varieties designed to meet the needs and wants of the countless types of buyers. If builders hope to sell houses, they must meet buyers’ demands.

Which buyer a builder is targeting, however, doesn’t (or shouldn’t) define how a home is constructed. And at its most basic, it is how a home is constructed that determines if it is green — that’s how, not how big.

A Continuum, Not an Absolute

Rock star

A Theory of Work: What Number Are You?

Posted on May 29, 2009 by Ann Edminster in Green Building Blog

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably encountered those wacky apps that ask, “What model car are you?” or “What flavor of jelly bean are you?” (Just as all green building questions have the same answer—"It depends"—so the answer to all of these quizzes is the same—"Who cares?!" And no, I’ve never actually taken one of those quizzes. Who has time??)

But—even though I can’t stand those Facebook gimmicks—here’s a quiz for you: Which type of worker are you?

Edminster’s Theory of Work

How do I know my alternative material meets code?

How Do I Know My Alternative Material Will Meet Code?

Posted on May 28, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

The International Residential Code (IRC) prescribes only a few conventional buildings materials for use in building a home—concrete, dimensional lumber, masonry, and light-gauge steel framing. Any other materials must be approved according to "Alternative Materials and Methods of Construction" (see Can I Build My Home Out Of...?) in IRC Section R104.11. Following the testing provisions may be especially daunting for the first-time builder, but it can be done.

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