The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Beware of This Expensive Ventilation Scam

Posted on June 18, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

How much does an exhaust fan cost? Search online and you can find lots of them that move 200 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for $100 to $150. But, if you put one in a semi-attractive (emphasis on the "semi") package, create some fancy marketing materials, and target people who don't know much building science, you can charge $1,200 to $1,700 for that same fan. At least that seems to be the business plan for these three companies.

Tracking Our Company’s Carbon Footprint

Posted on June 17, 2014 by john abrams in Guest Blogs

South Mountain Company is a 39-year-old employee-owned company offering integrated architecture, engineering, building, and renewable energy services. We like to measure how we’re doing in as many ways as possible. Like other businesses, we have a collection of metrics for financial tracking: profit and loss, budget projections and actuals, job costing of each project, value of our several funds (pension, equity, and reserves), and more.

On Trying To Do the Right Thing

Posted on June 16, 2014 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

This week's Q&A Spotlight is more about the business of building, and less about the science of building. The case involves a homeowner who is struggling to find a balance between his ethical responsibilities and a desire to save a few bucks.

Universal Design

Posted on June 13, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Why are most interior doorways only 30 inches wide? Why are so many doorknobs hard to grip? And why do so many homes have a long stairway between the front door and the bedrooms?

Two typical answers to these questions would be, “because that’s the way we’ve always built houses” and “because these houses meet code.” (Those two reasons happen to be pretty weak, by the way.)

Farewell!

Posted on June 12, 2014 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

Transitions.

Back in June, 2008 I started writing a weekly column on energy for the Brattleboro Reformer, our local newspaper. I thought it would be fun to write a regular column on a topic that I’ve focused so much time on over the past 35-plus years. I was pretty confident that I could come up with enough topics to crank out a year’s worth of columns, and I thought some of the Reformer’s readers would appreciate such a column — geeky as it might be.

The Two Main Reasons Your Ducts Don’t Move Enough Air

Posted on June 11, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Two things. Just two things in your ducts are responsible for giving the blower in your furnace or air handler a hard time. They make the blower push against more pressure, thus reducing air flow or increasing energy use, depending on blower type. They cut the amount of air that gets delivered to the rooms. And they can be reduced but not eliminated. Do you know what they are?

Solving Our Design Problems

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Marc Rosenbaum in Guest Blogs

Once we bought our new house in the fall of 2012, we began to work on the new design. We were starting with a one-bedroom house measuring 1,142 square feet on one level. The house has a full basement.

Stop Using Propane and Oil and Go Electric

Posted on June 9, 2014 by Nick Sisler in Guest Blogs

One of the biggest mistakes many builders make is to install a heating system fueled by propane or oil heat without considering an electric heat pumpHeating and cooling system in which specialized refrigerant fluid in a sealed system is alternately evaporated and condensed, changing its state from liquid to vapor by altering its pressure; this phase change allows heat to be transferred into or out of the house. See air-source heat pump and ground-source heat pump.. In most cases that choice is costing the owners hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars a year in higher energy bills.

Vermont House Uses Only Half a Cord of Firewood

Posted on June 6, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

When my friend Laura Murphy mentioned that her neighbors in Ripton, Vermont, Chris and Zoe Pike, stayed warm last winter by burning just half a cord of firewood, I was intrigued. So I tracked down the Pikes to learn a few more details about their house.

Testing Building Assemblies for Moisture Resistance

Posted on June 5, 2014 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

When I was in Portland, Oregon, the week before last for the Living Future Conference, I had an opportunity to visit a facility in nearby Clackamas where building assemblies and components can be tested for water intrusion and water vapor penetration.

One of the high points of being a researcher and writer is the opportunity to visit really cool manufacturing and research facilities, so I usually jump at the opportunity to visit something new. I wasn’t disappointed on my recent trip.

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