The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Gas vs. Electric for Heating, Cooking, and Hot Water

Posted on October 2, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Lydia Segal is planning a 2,000-square foot house in Colorado (Climate Zone 6B), and aiming for "Pretty Good House" performance. Among the many questions she's trying to answer is whether electricity or natural gas is the best choice for heating, domestic hot water, and cooking.

She's lucky enough to have both a reliable electricity grid and easy access to natural gas in the small community where she lives. So the practicalities of delivery are not really a concern.

Henry Gifford Publishes a Book

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Henry Gifford is a plumber with a New York accent, working-class roots, and deep erudition. He’s also a well-known designer of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

The World Is Facing a Sand Crisis

Posted on September 28, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By Aurora Torres, Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Jodi Brandt, and Kristen Lear

Utilities Grapple with Rooftop Solar and the New Energy Landscape

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Jacques Leslie in Guest Blogs

In the prevailing narrative of the rooftop solar industry, the dominant theme is combat. The good guys are the innovative, climate-positive, customer-pleasing solar companies, which must be nimble to avoid being crushed by the plodding, influence-buying, fossil fuel-spewing dinosaurs of the electricity industry, the utilities.

Are Hazardous Vapors Seeping Into Your Basement?

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Lynne Peeples in Guest Blogs

When Jane Horton bought her dream 800-square-foot farmhouse in 1975, she thought little of the semiconductor manufacturing plant across the street. Even after the company’s buildings were demolished and a chain-link fence went up around the campus, she still had no knowledge of the toxic dangers lurking beneath her feet — let alone of the fact that they were invading her home.

Urban Rustic: A Light Down Below

Posted on September 25, 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.

GBA Prime Sneak Peek: Bathroom Design

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Green Building Blog

GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Prime subscribers have access to many articles that aren't accessible to non-subscribers, including Martin Holladay's weekly blog series, “Musings of an Energy Nerd.” To whet the appetite of non-subscribers, we occasionally offer non-subscribers access to a “GBA Prime Sneak Peek” article like this one.

Bathroom Design

Posted on September 22, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Americans who grew up in the 1950s or early 60s (that includes me) remember living in a house with one bathroom. There was usually someone standing outside the door yelling, “Hurry up!”

These days, most Americans live in (or aspire to live in) a house with two or more bathrooms. My guess is that we’re never going to return to the bathroom standards of the 1950s; two-bathroom houses are probably here to stay.

Pete’s Product Puzzle: VersaDry

Posted on September 21, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

I first “learned” about VersaDry when a colleague of mine here at BuildingGreen — our materials and product expert, Brent Ehrlich — sent me the photo reproduced at right. I was in the same boat you are right now: “OK, thanks for the photo, Brent, but what the hell is this VersaDry bent-metal thingamajig?”

He replied, “Oh, yeah, here is another photo that will help.” This time he sent me the photo reproduced as Image #2, below.

Thinking Clearly About the 3 Levels of the Building Enclosure

Posted on September 20, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

When you approach the subject of building science, especially regarding heat, air, and moisture flows through a building enclosure, it's easy to get confused. There's a lot to learn: blower door testing, insulation grading, R-value, vapor permeance, radiant barriers, combustion safety, solar heat gain coefficients, and on and on. That's why we break things down into simpler pieces.

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