The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Is Your Ventilation System Working?

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

What’s a “faith-based ventilation system”? It’s a ventilation system installed by a contractor who never verifies the air flow rates after the equipment is installed.

So, will this type of ventilation system work? It’s hard to say — because no one measured anything.

Regulating Rain Barrels Is Not the Best Idea

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Adell Amos in Guest Blogs

Many of us never think about who gets to use the drops of rain that fall from the sky. But it’s an increasingly pertinent question as more people look to collect rainwater as a way to conserve water, live off the grid, or save money on water bills.

As a result, many states in the arid West are now asking whether rain barrels are allowed under existing law and policy and, in some cases, are setting limits on the practice of rainwater catchment.

The Downside of Low Gas Prices

Posted on April 13, 2016 by John DeCicco in Guest Blogs

Retail gasoline prices are now as low as they were in the “roaring ‘90s.” The 1990s, that is, when the energy crisis of the 1970s had faded from American consumers’ memories, the economy was strong and the market share of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) had more than tripled over the decade.

Number Crunching on a Deep Energy Retrofit

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Christopher Peck in Guest Blogs

Christopher Peck's original post, The Big Rewards of a Deep Energy Retrofit, was published here on March 15, 2016. That blog and this one both originally appeared at The Resilient Investor.

Finding Insulation That’s Safe

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

On top of all the other problems anyone building a new house is bound to encounter, Carolyn Farrow has a concern that outweighs all others: her daughter's health.

"Our toddler has a lot of chemical sensitivities and respiratory issues and insulation decisions are completely overwhelming me," she writes in a post at GBA's Q&A forum. "I can't find any contractors that I trust."

The allergist and pediatrician treating Farrow's daughter say she could react to virtually any type of insulation, and they are not comfortable making any specific recommendations.

Managing Lead Paint Hazards

Posted on April 8, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

About 37 million American homes and apartments have some interior lead paint on walls and woodwork. Any house built before 1978 — the year when most types of lead paint were withdrawn from the market in the U.S. — may contain lead paint. If lead paint is present on friction surfaces (for example, window sash), or if any lead paint is flaking or deteriorated, any children under the age of 6 or pregnant women who live in the house are at risk.

Blue Heron EcoHaus: Making an ICF Foundation

Posted on April 7, 2016 by Kent Earle in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. Their previous blog on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com was called Let Construction Begin. The blog below was originally published in June 2015. (A complete list of Kent Earle's GBA blogs is provided in the “Related articles” sidebar below.)

Can Your Water-Resistive Barrier Take UV Exposure?

Posted on April 6, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

A water-resistive barrierSometimes also called the weather-resistive barrier, this layer of any wall assembly is the material interior to the wall cladding that forms a secondary drainage plane for liquid water that makes it past the cladding. This layer can be building paper, housewrap, or even a fluid-applied material. (WRB) provides protection against water damage for water that gets behind the claddingMaterials used on the roof and walls to enclose a house, providing protection against weather. of a building. But what if it doesn't really resist water? I've written a lot about installation problems that can lead to compromised water resistance. (See the article I wrote last week, for example.) But other factors can make them leaky, too. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is one of them.

Oregon’s Groundbreaking Clean Energy Bill

Posted on April 5, 2016 by Noah Long in Guest Blogs

The historic clean energy law that passed Oregon's Legislature with bipartisan support this month will have regional, national, and international implications.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown's ceremonial signing of the state's pioneering Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act at an elementary school that recently installed solar panels was both symbolic and appropriate. The new clean energy law helps address the greatest environmental threat of our time and protect future generations from the worst effects of climate change.

LEED Gets Tougher Energy Requirements

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Stuart Kaplow in Green Building Blog

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBCUnited States Green Building Council (USGBC). Organization devoted to promoting and certifying green buildings. USGBC created the LEED rating systems.) has announced that beginning on April 8, 2016, all new projects registering for 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. 2009 will need to satisfy increased minimum energy performance thresholds.

According to USGBC, the results of a recent ballot show that 78.6% percent of the consensus body voted in favor of this change to the 7-year-old rating system. By LEED rules, a minimum of two-thirds approval was needed for any balloted measure.

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