The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Multifamily Green Building Certification Still Has Issues

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Much of my work these days involves certification of multifamily buildings, and, thanks to a boom in apartment construction, my partner and myself are staying occupied.

The one major contrast from single-family residential work, with which I am most familiar from my days as a contractor, is the long lead time. I still find it amusing that I sign a contract, have an initial start-up meeting with the developer and contractor, and often don’t see the project for another year or more, when the builder is ready for our insulation and air-sealing inspections.

Heat Losses Are Way More than Planned

Posted on July 28, 2014 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Bob Holodinsky was hoping for a better outcome from the heat loss calculations he received for his new Peterborough, Ontario, home — calculations that appear to have upset his plans for heating with a ductless minisplit. "I thought I was on the right track," he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, "but now I am not so sure."

What Should I Do With My Old Windows?

Posted on July 25, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

If you’re trying to lower your energy bills, you have probably plugged many of your home’s air leaks and have added insulation to your attic floor. Now you may be wondering, “What should we do about our old windows?”

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. Sometimes it makes sense to leave old windows exactly the way they are. Sometimes it makes sense to repair the windows’ weatherstripping and add storm windows. And sometimes it makes sense to replace old windows with new energy-efficient windows.

A Call for Guest Blogs

Posted on July 24, 2014 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

GBA loves guest blogs. Our readers are smart. Many of you post long, thoughtful comments on GBA every day. So it's time for some of you to send us a guest blog. We'd love to publish what you have to say.

What's a guest blog? Sometimes it's nothing more than three or four paragraphs and a good photo.

Did you see something funny at a job site today?

Did you drive past an ugly house yesterday?

Are you an inspector who can't believe what you see?

Did you just invent a great detail?

How Duct Leakage Steals Twice

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Duct leakage is a big deal. It's one of the top three energy wasters in most homes (air leakage and cable TV set-top boxes being the other two). Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that duct systems leak on average about 10% of the supply air they move and 12% of the return air. (Download pdf and also see Dana Dorsett's comment below, #1.) In far more homes than you might suspect, the main culprit is a disconnected duct, as shown in the photo at right, but a typical duct system has a lot of other leaks, too.

Are LEED-Certified Buildings Energy-Efficient?

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Jim Newman in Guest Blogs

There has been some heated discussion lately about how much energy 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. -certified buildings use. When 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.) first came out with its Version 1 LEED Guideline in 2000, a building could earn LEED certification without any points in the energy section.

In the early 2000s, making a building more energy-efficient than the building codes was more of a challenge for architects and engineers than it is today. When applying for LEED certification, they would attempt the “easier” and often less expensive points available under other credits.

An Old House Gets a New Thermomass Basement

Posted on July 21, 2014 by Brian Butler in Guest Blogs

To prepare our bid for a comprehensive renovation project in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we visited the old house several times. On one of the walk-throughs, we realized that the foundation was failing in many places. We therefore proposed to raise the house and replace the entire foundation.

Raising this house was a challenging process, given the tight space and the existing condition of the house.

The 2012 Code Encourages Risky Wall Strategies

Posted on July 18, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Builders who follow the prescriptive requirements of the 2012 International Residential Code (IRCInternational Residential Code. The one- and two-family dwelling model building code copyrighted by the International Code Council. The IRC is meant to be a stand-alone code compatible with the three national building codes—the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) National code, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) code and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) code.) in Climate Zone 6, 7, or 8 are required to install a minimum of “20+5 or 13+10” wall insulation. What does this mean? According to an explanatory footnote in the code, the “First value is cavity insulation, [and the] second is continuous insulation or insulated siding, so ‘13+5’ means R-13 cavity insulation plus R-5 continuous insulation or insulated siding.”

GBA Welcomes New Readers

Posted on July 17, 2014 by GBA Team in Green Building Blog

Now that the Green Building Advisor website is more than five years old, it has over 36,000 web pages. That's a lot of pages. It's no surprise that it can take a while to find what you are looking for in GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com's massive archives.

If you are a relative newcomer to GBA, welcome! Here are a few pointers to help you find your way around GBA.

Energy Efficiency Requires More Than an App on Your Smartphone

Posted on July 16, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

When it comes to air conditioning, there are a lot of bad products and bad ideas out there. Here are a few: You can buy a cover for your condenser that could kill your compressor.

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!