The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

U.S. Onshore Wind: Building on a Strong 2016

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

Note: This is part one of a series of blogs highlighting recent progress in onshore and offshore wind energy, as well as discussing some of the continued opportunities, challenges and threats the industry faces in the near term. The series was originally published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Exterior Insulation on 2x4 Walls Versus 2x6 Walls With Cavity Insulation Only

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

UPDATED on December 18, 2017 with a corrected energy savings table.

If you live in the world of 2x4 walls, as I do, you may have wondered about the savings you'd get by going to a more robust wall assembly. The typical house in southern climes has 2x4 walls with R-13 insulation in the cavities. The two ways to beef that up would be to add continuous exterior insulation or to go to a thicker wall. But which saves more energy? And how do they compare to the plain old 2x4 wall?

Why Do People Invest in Home Energy Upgrades?

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Reuven Sussman in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog.

How to Insulate a Wood Foundation

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jeepasaurus, a GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, recently bought a log house sitting atop a permanent wood foundation (PWF). Although initially reluctant to buy the house because of this detail, Jeep did enough research to convince him there's nothing inherently wrong with a wood foundation. The problem is how to insulate it.

Sill Pans for Exterior Doors

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most residential builders understand that window rough openings need sill pan flashing — either a site-built sill pan made with peel-and-stick tape, or a commercial sill pan made from metal or plastic. Window manufacturers’ installation instructions began requiring sill pans about 20 years ago, and by now these details are standard at most residential construction sites.

For some reason, though, many builders are neglecting to install sill pans under exterior doors. It's time for a gentle reminder: If you skip the sill pan under an exterior door, you are risking a very expensive callback.

Solar Power Alone Won’t Solve Energy or Climate Needs

Posted on December 7, 2017 by Jatin Nathwani in Guest Blogs

Recent reports that solar capacity will soon exceed nuclear capacity reveal an important fact. It also hides a crucial distinction needed to understand the context of energy production, and the use and consequences of choices among supply options for the future.

How Does a Heat Pump Get Heat From Cold Air?

Posted on December 6, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Cold weather is coming back to Atlanta this week, so let’s talk about heat. An increasingly popular way to heat buildings these days is with heat pumps, even in cold climates. But how do they work?

Urban Rustic: Air Sealing the Attic Floor

Posted on December 5, 2017 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.

Why Solar Microgrids Are Not a Cure-All for Puerto Rico’s Power Woes

Posted on December 4, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By PETER FOX-PENNER

In addition to its many other devastating human consequences, Hurricane Maria left the island of Puerto Rico with its power grid in ruins. Power was knocked out throughout the island, with an estimated 80% of its transmission and distribution wires incapacitated. When hospitals and other critical users could not get backup power and water supplies ran low, an extended outage became a humanitarian crisis that has yet to be resolved.

Lumber from a Bandsaw Mill

Posted on December 1, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Let’s say that you own a piece of land and you want to build a house. If you live in a forested region, the first step is to cut down enough trees to create the needed open space for your foundation, lawn, and driveway.

As you’re cutting down the trees, you may think to yourself, “I’m going to need to buy lumber to build my house. I wonder if these logs can be milled into 2x6s and 2x10s.” The answer is: they probably can.

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