The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Framed Walls and Air Barrier Membranes for a Pretty Good House

Posted on July 7, 2015 by stephen sheehy in Guest Blogs

This is Part 4 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.

A Canadian Couple Needs Help Choosing a Heating System

Posted on July 6, 2015 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

John Ball faces the usual questions as he decides on a heating system for his new home: What system will deliver the best results at the lowest price? What will keep Ball and his wife comfortable in their Canadian locale in Climate Zone 7?

But there's something else that Ball has to consider: Their new retirement home will be empty during the winter when they're in Florida escaping the snow and the cold. As they get older, and health care becomes more expensive, they expect to be returning to Canada on a year-round basis.

Is Weatherization Cost-Effective?

Posted on July 3, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A recent paper on the cost-effectiveness of weatherization work has received much more attention in the popular press than have similar studies in the past. The researchers concluded that weatherization measures performed at five nonprofit community action agencies in Michigan weren’t cost-effective. Newspaper headline writers have had a field day, trumpeting generalizations that aren’t supported by the limited data collected by researchers.

What LEED Credit Is Almost Never Achieved?

Posted on July 2, 2015 by Stuart Kaplow in Guest Blogs

One of the key features of the 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. rating systems is that, after satisfying minimum program requirements and prerequisites, project teams may select from the available compilation of LEED credits. Providing those options is key, not only because there is no one homogenous building type, but also because owners may have certain specific sustainable features they wish to pursue.

But surprising to some, there is one LEED credit that stands out, by far, as the least earned.

Is Spraying Mist on Your Air Conditioner the Answer to High Bills?

Posted on July 1, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

This time of year, air conditioners are running like mad to keep people cool in their homes. Here in Atlanta, we've had a couple of weeks of hot, muggy weather, with a little break on Sunday. Now we're heading back to the mid-90s with high dew points again.

As a result, some people are starting to dread those air conditioning bills arriving and wondering what they can do to save energy. Is the Kickstarter-funded Mistbox the answer?

Could Pool Pumps ‘Store’ Renewable Energy Better than Giant Batteries?

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Sean Meyn in Guest Blogs

As more wind and solar energy comes online, the people who run the power grid have a problem: how do they compensate for the variable nature of the sun and wind?

California plans to spend billions of dollars for batteries to even out the flow of power from solar and wind, much the way shock absorbers smooth out bumps on the road. But do they need to? Not at all!

In my research, I’ve found that we can accommodate a grid powered 50 percent by renewable energy without the use of batteries.

At a Pretty Good House in Maine, Siding and Septic

Posted on June 29, 2015 by stephen sheehy in Guest Blogs

This is Part 3 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.

Hygric Buffering and Hygric Redistribution

Posted on June 26, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Water causes all kinds of problems for buildings. When rain leaks into walls through a poorly flashed window sill, or when the humidity in summer air contacts a cold water pipe and condenses, mold or rot can easily develop.

One possible way to handle localized leaks or intermittent humidity spikes is to build with hygroscopic materials that provide hygric buffering and hygric redistribution. To say the same thing in simpler terms: installing building materials that can absorb and store water may help handle moisture events.

Surge in Renewables Remakes California’s Energy Landscape

Posted on June 25, 2015 by Cheryl Katz in Guest Blogs

This article was originally published at Yale Environment 360. It is reprinted here with permission.

Four Ventilation Quotes That Will Take Your Breath Away

Posted on June 24, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Looking back over my last several articles, I see that I’ve been going off the deep end. Psychrometrics, hygrothermalA term used to characterize the temperature (thermal) and moisture (hygro) conditions particularly with respect to climate, both indoors and out. analysis of double-stud walls, the physics of water in porous materials... That’s some heavy stuff. So this week I’m going light with some fun quotes about ventilation and indoor air quality.

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