The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Can a Tech Company Build a City? Ask Google

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation startup owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced a partnership with the City of Toronto to develop a new waterfront precinct. Time to ask Google: Can you build a city?

The Quayside precinct, dubbed “Sidewalk Toronto,” is to become a 500-hectare (1,236-acre) sandpit for testing a suite of new tech products. The aim is to radically reimagine the way a city is made. (Further reading: Creative City, Smart City … Whose City Is It?.)

States Step Up for Progress on Efficiency Standards

Posted on February 7, 2018 by Lauren Urbanek in Guest Blogs

In the face of threatened rollbacks and inaction on national appliance energy efficiency standards by the Trump administration, the states are stepping up to protect their citizens and climate. Driven by their desire for climate leadership as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, states including California, New York, and Washington are hard at work to ensure that their citizens will save energy and money with more efficient appliances and equipment.

Urban Rustic: Installing a Solar Electric System

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Choosing a New HVAC System

Posted on February 5, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jill D has done her homework, and now it's time to choose a new heating and cooling system for her Climate Zone 5B home.

There are three distinct zones to consider: the main house, a sunroom addition, and an office addition. Neither the office nor the sunroom is ducted, although heating and cooling loads there are relatively low. In the main house, the heating loadRate at which heat must be added to a space to maintain a desired temperature. See cooling load. has been calculated at between 28,000 and 36,000 BtuBritish thermal unit, the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water (about a pint) one degree Fahrenheit in temperature—about the heat content of one wooden kitchen match. One Btu is equivalent to 0.293 watt-hours or 1,055 joules. per hour, and the cooling load at between 24,000 and 36,000 Btu per hour.

Condensation on Car Windshields

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A surprising number of people don’t understand the causes of condensation. If you ask a stranger on the sidewalk, “Does condensation happen when cold air encounters a warm surface, or when warm air encounters a cold surface?,” many people will shrug their shoulders.

Here’s an example of this type of confusion: When drivers see condensation on their windshield during the summer, they are often unsure of the best remedy. Should they turn on the heater or the air conditioner?

Let’s look at four different scenarios.

We’re Pouring Millions of Tons of Salt on Our Roads

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


If you live — and drive — in a northern or mountainous climate, you’ve seen highway trucks spreading loads of rock salt on snowy highways to melt the ice. But where does the salt go?

The FHA Problem with PACE

Posted on January 31, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Last month, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced it will stop insuring new mortgages on homes with property assessed clean energy (PACE) loans. As to what motivated its decision —

Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Fred Pearce in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360.

Six Steps to Success With Heat-Recovery Ventilation

Posted on January 29, 2018 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

Heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs) remove stale air from the home and replace it (in winter) with preheated fresh air from outside. The result is better indoor air quality and lower energy use than in standard homes. The HRV itself is fairly simple: an airtight box with a heat exchange core that transfers heat from the indoor air to outside air (or vice-versa) as the air passes through the box. The box also contains two small fans to move the air. All the points below apply equally to HRVs and their close cousins, energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs).

Brick Chimneys With Multiple Flues

Posted on January 26, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

One of my first construction jobs in Vermont, back in the late 1970s, was at an architect-designed home with a massive brick chimney with four flues: one flue for the oil-fired boiler, and three flues for the home’s three wood stoves. The chimney worked fine — mostly because the house had so many air leaks that the wood stoves were never starved for combustion air.

Massive chimneys like the one I remember from that job are expensive to build, but they are often a source of pride for the owner. They provide interior thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. ; they are durable; and they are handsome to behold.

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