The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

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.

International Property Maintenance Code governs existing  buildings

The International Property Maintenance Code Governs Existing Buildings

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

The IPMC calls for all buildings to be maintained in the condition they were when they were given a Certificate of Occupancy. This maintenance applies to several aspects of the home including structural integrity, architectural fire and life safety, means of egress as well as sanitary facilities and conditions. Property conditions around the building such as environmental conditions including noxious weeds, proper drainage, rodent harborage and sanitation are regulated as well.

Passivhaus Standard for Superinsulated Houses

Passivhaus For Beginners

Posted on May 27, 2009 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

UPDATED on April 16, 2015

More and more designers of high-performance homes are buzzing about a superinsulation standard developed in Germany, the PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard. The standard has been promoted for almost two decades by the Passivhaus Institut, a private research and consulting center in Darmstadt, Germany.


Saving Energy by Saving Water

Posted on May 26, 2009 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Whenever we reduce water use, we also save energy. In fact, several of the most cost-effective energy saving strategies — projects with the quickest “payback” — are water conservation improvements that reduce hot water use. I’ll cover some of these strategies here, but first I want to explain why even reducing our cold water use saves energy.


International Residential Code Guides New-Home Construction

Posted on May 23, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

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.) is a stand-alone codebook for new one- and two-family homes, regulating architecture, structure, energy efficiency, plumbing, mechanics, fuel gas, and electrical safety. For the production homebuilder, this is the Bible. While the IRC is dedicated to safety, it weighs in on health and sanitation in a variety of ways. For example, the IRC establishes light, ventilation, and heating standards and minimal sanitation rules, including toilet room and kitchen requirements.

Sofa chair

Marketing High-Performance Homes

Posted on May 21, 2009 by Dina Lima in Business Advisor

High performance homes save energy, conserve water, are more durable, cost less to maintain, are healthier for the occupants and are less stressful on the environment. Simply put, they are better homes! However, how do you explain “better” to your customers to help them make the decision to buy your green-built homes?

Here are some tips to help you market and sell more homes.

Building codes aren't just a good idea, they're the law

What Is the Building Code?

Posted on May 21, 2009 by Lynn Underwood in Code Green

Building Codes were established a long time ago as a way to ensure a minimum level of safety and sanitation. Plumbing codes keep our houses sanitary. Electrical codes reduce the risk of accidental electrocution and our homes from burning down. General building codes help stop the spread of fire if they do burn, but they also dictate structural stability based on natural calamities such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wind, flooding or temperature conditions as well as man-made events such as fires.

GBA Radio  - Podcast: Building Science Fundamentals

Rain Control in Energy Efficient Buildings - Building Science Podcast

Posted on May 20, 2009 by Joe Lstiburek in Building Science

This podcast series is excerpted from a two-day class called "Building Science Fundamentals" taught by Dr. Joe Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube, both of Building Science Corporation.

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