The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Canadian First Nation Gets Active About Passive Housing

Posted on February 2, 2017 by Katie Hyslop in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Yale First Nation is a community in British Columbia, Canada, of some 160 members. This post originally appeared at The Tyee.

The 2018 Building Energy Code Holds the Line for Efficiency

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


The newest building energy code, which will govern how much energy and money is saved by new home and commercial building owners, was recently approved by code officials — and by and large, they voted to uphold the great efficiency gains made in past code cycles.

Closing In

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

Our home construction project is over the hump: drywall and flooring have been installed, exterior trim is wrapping up, and interior trim, cabinets, and tile will be starting soon.

Although things are generally going quite well, and while I am happy with the house, I am not enjoying the process very much. Even after 25 years as a contractor, I don’t deal well with the stress of coordinating dozens of subcontractors and suppliers. Materials don’t arrive when promised, workers don’t finish on schedule, and managing different trades in the house at the same time creates tensions.

Can We Live Happily Underground?

Posted on January 30, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Earth-bermed houses built with the Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) approach are a little off the beaten track for most builders and prospective homeowners. These houses go back a bit: John N. Hait described the construction of an early "umbrella house" in the 1980s.

As unusual as they may be, PAHS houses have their advocates. One of them is Laurel Davison, who is planning to build one in Missouri on a gently sloped lot with an unimpeded southern exposure.

In Search of a DIY Guide to Rooftop PV

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most new grid-tied photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) systems are installed by solar contractors. Here’s what usually happens: the homeowners call up a few local solar companies; representatives come to the house to make a site assessment; the homeowners choose the contractor whose quote sounds reasonable and sign a contract for the work. The homeowners don’t even have to put up a ladder; all they have to do is sign a check.

Measuring (and Understanding) Humidity

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Author’s Note: I can’t even start this blog before thanking Lew Harriman of Mason-Grant Consulting. Lew very patiently and gently hammered me into a much better understanding of humidity in air and its measurement. While any errors or lack of clarity regarding humidity and its measurement are mine, much of the insight and many of the resources mentioned here are Lew’s.

City of Aspen Dumps Energy Rating Index

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

The city of Aspen, Colorado has bucked the trend. Well, actually two trends, but first things first.

New York Proposes New Rates for Distributed Energy

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


How to Make Hydropower More Environmentally Friendly

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Humanity got its first large-scale electricity thanks to hydropower. On August 26, 1895, water flowing over Niagara Falls was diverted to spin two generators, producing electricity to manufacture aluminum and carborundum. Since then, millions of dams have been built worldwide, transforming the energy of moving water into the energy of moving electrons. When we need it, the water spins magnets past a coil of copper wire to give us heat, light, and entertainment.

Slow Progress on New Blowing Agents for Polyiso

Posted on January 20, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. tests by the National Roofing Contractors Association and the Building Science Corporation have revealed that the thermal performance of polyisocyanurate is greatly reduced at cold temperatures. While the R-value of polyiso at a mean temperature of 75°F might be about R-5.7 per inch, the effective R-value of the polyiso drops to about R-4.8 per inch at a mean temperature of 25°F.

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