The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Water Heaters Get an Efficiency Makeover

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Marianne DiMascio in Guest Blogs

From the rustic 1850s pump shower to the 1920s Humphrey automatic to today’s modern units, water heaters have made great strides in performance and efficiency. On April 16, water heaters will take the next great stride when manufacturers must comply with new Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) efficiency standards.

The most common water heaters manufactured on and after this date will get a modest boost in efficiency, while units over 55 gallons will shift to next-generation technology, cutting utility bills by one-fourth to one-half depending on the technology.

A Home Energy Rating Is an Asset Label

Posted on March 25, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

When I'm explaining home energy ratings and the HERS Index to people, I often get asked, "How accurate is a HERS rating? Will my energy bills really be close to what it says?" In the mind of the questioner, that's one question. To someone who understands what HERS ratings really measure, it's two separate questions. Let me explain.

Coming in From the Cold

Posted on March 24, 2015 by Phil Kaplan in Guest Blogs

In the Northeast, there is a proud history of the craftsman, the homebuilder, the DIY hero and heroine. They work with sturdy tools, with local materials, with real wood. They brave the mean winters, cut each stick with caution, are frugal with lumber. They measure twice, and cut once. They have done this the same way over many years and the product is consistent, steady, exactly the same as it would have been, had it been built in 1953.

There’s only one problem. We live in a very different world than we did in 1953.

Why Tiny Houses Make Sense

Posted on March 23, 2015 by Gabriella Morrison in Guest Blogs

With past housing booms and crashes and the potential, if not probability, for history to repeat itself, many of us in the tiny house world understand these risks and the need to protect ourselves from future housing crises by living tiny.

We were recently directed by Ryan Mitchell from The Tiny Life website to an informative article which covers housing trends, the economy, and where things are headed. The author, Richard Florida, points out that another perfect storm for a real estate crash is brewing (much like the 2008 crash).

Solar Hot Air Collectors

Posted on March 20, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A solar hot air collector is basically a black box with glass on one side. Instead of heating fluid that circulates through tubing, a solar hot air collector is like a parked car. When the sun shines on the collector, the air inside gets hot. A solar hot air collector usually includes a hot air duct connection at the top and a return-air duct connection at the bottom. To improve efficiency, most solar hot air collectors have a black metal baffle or screen behind the glass that allows air flow on both sides.

Six Myths of Sustainable Design

Posted on March 19, 2015 by Lance Hosey in Guest Blogs

A couple of weeks ago, the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce published an opinion piece titled, "Why green building has hit the wall, and what to do about it." The author, long-time green building advocate Jerry Yudelson, laments the relatively low rate of green building certification and asks, "Why hasn't the current system had more marketplace success?"

A Beautiful Near-Net-Zero-Energy Home in Utah

Posted on March 18, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

It's the day after St. Patrick's Day, so let me tell you a wee bit about the O'Mearas. Kevin and Svetlana O'Meara live in a beautiful home in Utah that's oh-so-close to being a net-zero-energy home. After I wrote about how home building is like skiing two years ago, Kevin invited me out to see their home and this year I managed to to do so.

Should Your Old Wood Windows Be Saved?

Posted on March 18, 2015 by Rob Yagid in Green Building Blog

Old wood windows are as charming as they are maddening. While they offer appealing craftsmanship and an authentic sense of home, they typically leak like a sieve. With rising fuel costs, an unstable economy, and a catatonic housing market, it’s simply becoming more and more difficult to look at those old units with pride.

A Second Look at a Surprising Study on Energy

Posted on March 17, 2015 by Steven Nadel in Guest Blogs

Steven Nadel is the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog. GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com posted a news story about the original study in January.

Housing Is Back. Is It Better?

Posted on March 17, 2015 by Boyce Thompson in Green Building Blog

Tens of thousands of homebuilders in this country went out of business during the recession, as new-home starts contracted by 75%. One of the biggest sectors of the American economy was devastated.

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