The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Why Are Houses Built This Way?

Posted on July 20, 2015 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Readers of GreenBuildingAdvisor's Q&A forum, and the bi-monthly Q&A Spotlights, are probably used to thorough parsings of seemingly small details in high-performance construction. But GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader Peter L. brings our attention to an elemental question: Are we still in the dark ages of residential building?

Saving Energy With an Evaporative Cooler

Posted on July 17, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Evaporative coolers are appliances used to cool indoor air. Evaporative coolers use much less energy than air conditioners, but they can’t cool indoor air effectively in all weather conditions.

Ventilation Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

Posted on July 16, 2015 by Reid Baldwin in Guest Blogs

Forced ventilation is about exchanging indoor air for outdoor air, which can be accomplished by pulling air in (supply ventilation), pushing air out (exhaust ventilation) or both (balanced ventilationMechanical ventilation system in which separate, balanced fans exhaust stale indoor air and bring in fresh outdoor air in equal amounts; often includes heat recovery or heat and moisture recovery (see heat-recovery ventilator and energy-recovery ventilator). ). It is well known that these forced ventilation options impact which air gets exchanged, but each type should result in the same amount of additional air exchange, right?

Could a Bare-Bones Energy Code Work?

Posted on July 15, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Energy codes have all kinds of requirements. You have to have certain R-values in walls, floors, and ceilings. Your windows have to have the right U-values and solar heat gainIncrease in the amount of heat in a space, including heat transferred from outside (in the form of solar radiation) and heat generated within by people, lights, mechanical systems, and other sources. See heat loss. coefficients. The infiltration rate and duct leakage have to be measured and come in below a threshold for your climate zone. And then there are the different pathways for compliance: prescriptive, UA tradeoffs, performance, or HERS Index.

EPA Looks at Fracking Risks to Water

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Mark Brownstein in Guest Blogs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its long-awaited draft report on impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing on drinking water, completing the most extensive scientific review of published data to date.

Windows and Floors at a Pretty Good House in Maine

Posted on July 13, 2015 by stephen sheehy in Guest Blogs

This is Part 5 of a blog series describing the construction of Stephen Sheehy’s house in Maine. The first installment was titled Pretty Good, Not So Big Maine House.

Installing Windows In a Foam-Sheathed Wall

Posted on July 10, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Every now and then, a GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader posts the question, “How do you install windows in a wall with exterior rigid foam?”

The answer to the question is surprisingly complicated. The best method will depend on several factors, including the answers to these questions:

  • Are the windows innies or outies?
  • What type of 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) does the wall have: Zip sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. , housewrap, or rigid foam?
  • How thick is the rigid foam? (For more information on this question, see Calculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam Sheathing.)

Solar Owners Are Givers, Not Takers

Posted on July 9, 2015 by Rob Sargent in Guest Blogs

With the solstice behind us, summer has officially begun. Across the country, that means the sun is shining and the mercury is climbing, and our air conditioners and the electricity grids they rely upon are stretched to their limits.

In response, we've seen utilities urge customers to turn up their thermostats a notch or two to ease their burden. They've recommended the use of fans, energy-efficient bulbs, and double-paned windows — all good measures to reduce energy use.

How to Clean an Air Conditioner Condensate Drain

Posted on July 8, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

An air conditioner does two jobs: It cools down the air and it dehumidifies the air. If you live in a dry climate, you don’t want the AC to dehumidify much because it uses extra energy and makes you spend more on lip balm and hand lotion. If you live in a humid climate, you really want it to do that second job as well as it can to keep your indoor air dry and comfortable. But where does all that condensate go?

GBA Prime Sneak Peek: Is Weatherization Cost-Effective?

Posted on July 7, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Prime subscribers have access to many articles that aren't accessible to non-subscribers, including Martin Holladay's weekly blog series, “Musings of an Energy Nerd.” To whet the appetite of non-subscribers, we offer a “GBA Prime Sneak Peek.” This GBA Prime blog was originally published on July 3, 2015.

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