The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

A Lesson From the Kranichstein Passive House

Posted on April 23, 2016 by Bronwyn Barry in Guest Blogs

The global Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. community is converging on Darmstadt, Germany, this week to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Kranichstein Passive House and the 20th anniversary of the International Passive House Conference.

Vegetated Roofs

Posted on April 22, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Vegetated roofs are low-slope roofs the have enough soil (or soil-like growth medium) on top of the roofing to support the growth of grass, wildflowers, or shrubs. Although some people call this type of roof a “green roof,” the term “vegetated roof” is more accurate and less confusing.

Blue Heron EcoHaus: Dealing With Really Bad Water

Posted on April 21, 2016 by Kent Earle in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, write a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus, documenting their journey “from urbanites to ruralites” and the construction of a superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies. Their previous blog on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com was called Making an ICF Foundation. The blog below was originally published in June 2015. (A complete list of Kent Earle's GBA blogs is provided in the “Related articles” sidebar below.)

More About Global Warming and Insulation

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Well, I really stirred things up with my last article on insulation and global warming. My intention was to explain why Alex Wilson's results could be doing a disservice to the green building community. In the end, I was rightly accused of have done a disservice myself.

So, here goes with Part Three of my take on the global warming impact of insulation. Let's see if I can get closer to the truth this time.

Getting to Zero Waste

Posted on April 19, 2016 by Steven Cohen in Guest Blogs

One of the goals of a sustainable city is to effectively manage material flows into and out of the city. Garbage, or what environmental engineers call solid waste, presents some of the most difficult challenges to urban sustainability.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Dana Dorsett in Guest Blogs

Your old furnace or boiler is gasping its last breath and it’s time to pull the trigger on something newer, more reliable, and more efficient. How do you quickly size the new equipment?

If you leave the sizing calculations to HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. contractors, most would replace the old furnace with equipment that has a comparable output rating. That would guarantee that you wouldn’t get cold, but at least 19 times out of 20, that would be a mistake.

Is Your Ventilation System Working?

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

What’s a “faith-based ventilation system”? It’s a ventilation system installed by a contractor who never verifies the air flow rates after the equipment is installed.

So, will this type of ventilation system work? It’s hard to say — because no one measured anything.

Regulating Rain Barrels Is Not the Best Idea

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Adell Amos in Guest Blogs

Many of us never think about who gets to use the drops of rain that fall from the sky. But it’s an increasingly pertinent question as more people look to collect rainwater as a way to conserve water, live off the grid, or save money on water bills.

As a result, many states in the arid West are now asking whether rain barrels are allowed under existing law and policy and, in some cases, are setting limits on the practice of rainwater catchment.

The Downside of Low Gas Prices

Posted on April 13, 2016 by John DeCicco in Guest Blogs

Retail gasoline prices are now as low as they were in the “roaring ‘90s.” The 1990s, that is, when the energy crisis of the 1970s had faded from American consumers’ memories, the economy was strong and the market share of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) had more than tripled over the decade.

Number Crunching on a Deep Energy Retrofit

Posted on April 12, 2016 by Christopher Peck in Guest Blogs

Christopher Peck's original post, The Big Rewards of a Deep Energy Retrofit, was published here on March 15, 2016. That blog and this one both originally appeared at The Resilient Investor.

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