The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

New LED Lights on the Scene

Posted on March 12, 2015 by Greg Labbe in Guest Blogs

In 1999, I went through the back service doors of Wolf Electric, a local supplier, and fumbled my way along the poorly lit, uneven floors to drop $37 and tax for one light bulb: a compact fluorescent light (CFLCompact fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent lightbulb in which the tube is folded or twisted into a spiral to concentrate the light output. CFLs are typically three to four times as efficient as incandescent lightbulbs, and last eight to ten times as long. CFLs combine the efficiency of fluorescent light with the convenience of an Edison or screw-in base, and new types have been developed that better mimic the light quality of incandescents. Not all CFLs can be dimmed, and frequent on-off cycling can shorten their life. Concerns have been raised over the mercury content of CFLs, and though they have been deemed safe, proper recycling and disposal is encouraged. ) made by Philips.

Cold-Climate Collaboration

Posted on March 12, 2015 by matthew omalia in Green Building Blog

I practice architecture in mid-coast Maine, a cold area that can experience some of the country’s most beautiful and most brutal weather. This undoubtedly has had an impact on my approach to design. As an architect, I believe I’m composing a long-term picture of resource consumption, durability, and comfort in the homes I help to create. As a result, I feel it’s my responsibility to be as mindful about the implications of my designs as possible.

Can Atmospheric Combustion Work in a Spray-Foam-Insulated Attic?

Posted on March 11, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

A while back I wrote about the incompatibility of putting an atmospheric combustion furnace in a sealed attic. Most often the attic is sealed by installing spray foam insulation at the roofline, thus bringing the attic inside the building enclosure and turning it into conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. (directly or indirectly). The good news is that some installers understand this problem and seek to address it. The bad news is what a few of them do.

The Counterintuitive Cladding

Posted on March 10, 2015 by Fernando Pages Ruiz in Guest Blogs

Justly or unjustly, we in the green building movement are often viewed as self-righteous. Most often we are on the forefront of the truth, introducing new building methods and specifying materials that not only protect the environment, but improve building quality. Other times we get it wrong. For example, in pursuit of energy efficiency we wrapped interior walls in plastic sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. to prevent air infiltration. This unwittingly trapped moisture in the walls, promoting mold and causing "sick building syndrome." But we learned, and we fixed it.

LED Filament Bulbs

Posted on March 9, 2015 by Aaron Birkland in Guest Blogs

When it comes to providing a drop-in replacement for old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, there are a number of technical and aesthetic challenges that are difficult to address with 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.-based technologies.

Ranch Transformed, Efficiency Achieved

Posted on March 9, 2015 by Jesse Thompson in Green Building Blog

My wife, Betsy, and I searched for two years before we found the dump of our dreams: a tiny, dirt-cheap, and homely 1960s ranch that was within walking distance of our children’s school and was close enough to downtown Portland so that we could ride our bikes to work. Our hope was that we could renovate it into an affordable, stylish, and comfortable home. Our creative vision was strong enough to sense the glimmer of a diamond deep inside that forgotten home on Madeline Street.

NESEA Conference Highlights

Posted on March 6, 2015 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

BuildingEnergy, the annual conference sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEANorth East Sustainable Energy Association. A regional membership organization promoting sustainable energy solutions. NESEA is committed to advancing three core elements: sustainable solutions, proven results and cutting-edge development in the field. States included in this region stretch from Maine to Maryland. www.nesea.org), recently concluded in Boston. As usual, the NESEA conference was a great way to catch up with friends and to soak up information offered by some of the smartest scientists, engineers, designers, and builders in the country.

Here are notes from some of the presentations.

Stupid Multifamily Construction Tricks

Posted on March 5, 2015 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

Although I spent most of my construction career working on single-family homes, the primary subject of this great website, I find that my current work involves primarily multifamily projects — mostly low-rise and mid-rise apartments that are seeking green building certification.

In these projects, my partner and I continue to see both new and recurring problems that are not resolved in the design phase, only to be pushed down to the field to be figured out — on a tight budget, in a hurry, and often in the cold or rain.

Is Modeling a Four-Letter Word?

Posted on March 4, 2015 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Energy modeling has gotten a bad reputation in the home performance world. One conference I've attended has gone so far as to say that it's "outside the sandbox" of topics presenters can cover. They want to see data, not modeled results. And they have good reason for that.

Buttoned Up for a New Century

Posted on March 4, 2015 by Jeremy R. M. Shannon in Green Building Blog

When my wife and I struck out on our own in 2005 to create our two companies, Prospect Architecture and Prospect Development & Construction, we wanted to lead the way in sustainable design and construction in New York City. Like many new firms, we rode the leading trends: 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. accreditation, recycled products, water conservation, energy efficiency, and local sourcing of products and services whenever possible. Carla and I approached our clients with the idea that building sustainably was not a choice—it was simply the way we worked.

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!