The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Are Ductless Minisplits Overpriced?

Posted on April 3, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Ductless minisplit heat pumps have received a tremendous amount of attention in the last several years, and Peter L. would like to include one in his own house. There's only one problem: an estimate that seems far higher than it should.

"I was quoted $4,800 to purchase and install a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim 1-ton unit (MSZFE12NA)," Peter writes at GBA's Q&A forum. "That seems very high. Especially since it's a new build and the 3-inch hole is already in the wall."

What’s the R-value of Cedar Shingle Siding?

Posted on March 31, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

White cedar has an R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. of about R-1.4 per inch, so it isn't too hard to calculate the R-value of white cedar siding. The trickiest part of the calculation is determining the siding thickness.

If we're talking about cedar shingles, there are usually a maximum of three layers of shingles at any one point in the wall. The shingles are tapered, so the total thickness of the siding includes layers with different thicknesses. (The butt of the shingle may measure 3/8 inch; the top of the shingle may measure 1/16 inch; and the middle of the shingle may measure 3/16 inch).

Airport House: Heating and Cooling

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Reid Baldwin in Guest Blogs

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of guest blogs by Reid Baldwin about the construction of his house in Linden, Michigan. You can read his entire blog here.

The Home Performance Forum Has Launched!

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

The Internet age has made it easy to find information. Occasionally you can find some that's even true. That's where it becomes helpful to have someone more knowledgeable than yourself to be able to ask for advice and input on stuff you read online, get feedback on ideas you'd like to try on a project, or discover what cool things other home energy pros are doing.

What the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong About PACE

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared on the ACEEE Blog

Wolfe Island Passive: Heat Recovery Ventilation

Posted on March 27, 2017 by David Murakami Wood in Green Building Blog

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first certified 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. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, Wolfe Island Passive House. For a list of earlier posts in this series, see the sidebar below.

Who Can Perform My Load Calculations?

Posted on March 24, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

To design a residential heating or cooling system, the first step is to perform a load calculation. (A load calculation determines the size of a building’s heating loadRate at which heat must be added to a space to maintain a desired temperature. See cooling load. on one of the coldest nights of the year and the size of a building’s cooling load on one of the hottest afternoons of the year.) It’s important to know the size of these loads to determine the size of the required heating and cooling equipment.

Choosing and Installing Windows in the ProHOME

Posted on March 23, 2017 by Mike Guertin in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post originally was published as part of the ProHOME series at Fine Homebuilding magazine. Sean Groom, a former editor at FHB, leads it off with a discussion of how these windows were chosen, and FHB editorial advisor and builder Mike Guertin picks it up with instructions on how to install the windows correctly.

Is There Lead in the Water of Your Green Building?

Posted on March 22, 2017 by Stuart Kaplow in Guest Blogs

Worries about lead leaching from pipes and faucets into drinking water are not new. But the broad growth of "green" buildings, including schools, that use water conservation strategies has the potential to lower the quality of drinking water in their plumbing systems.

To reduce water consumption, the latest version of LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. (LEED v4 New Construction) requires that indoor water use be reduced by 20%, and offers additional credits for reducing water use even further. But the consequences of that reduced water flow have ledLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. to concerns about water quality in green schools across the country.

Energy Predictions vs. Energy Performance

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Kent Earle in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Kent Earle and his wife, Darcie, documented construction of their superinsulated house on the Canadian prairies in a blog called Blue Heron EcoHaus. GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com published a number of those posts in a series that wrapped up last year. Recently, Kent wrote to say he has been monitoring energy use at the house and offered this followup.

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