The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

How Much Water Does it Take to Turn on a Light Bulb?

Posted on April 17, 2014 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

In last week's blog I took a look at some of the water conservation features in our new house, but I began the blog by addressing the relationship between water and energy. That got me curious, so I’ve been digging deeper into this water-energy nexus, examining the water-intensity of our different electricity sources.

How to Detect an Internet Solar Energy Scam

Posted on April 16, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

All I was trying to do was find some sports scores on Yahoo the other day when I saw it. I don't go looking for this stuff, and when I do see it, I try to ignore it. But this one clotheslined me with an unfair term.

That's the ad in question to the right. Have you seen it? I probably shouldn't tell you the name of the website (powerfreedom.com), but the kryptonite term that made my fingers go apoplectic was “free energy.” Seeing it capitalized intensified the effect. And the photo! Is that a diseased wireless router robot surrendering its secrets to me?

Germany’s Bioenergy Villages

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Andrew Dey in Guest Blogs

The notion that a village can produce as much energy as it consumes is not new in Germany, nor is it exclusive to this country that has set aggressive targets for renewable energy use. In the mid-1990s, for example, the Austrian village of Güssing began implementing strategies to use local biomassOrganic waste that can be converted to usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity, or crops grown specifically for that purpose. to produce electricity and heat, and the Danish island community of Samsø installed wind turbines to meet its electrical needs.

Can’t Anyone Get Things Right?

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor in Green Building Curmudgeon

In my business of certifying buildings, most of my work involves working with architects, contractors, and trade contractors who are trying to create green buildings. Unfortunately, they frequently miss the mark in some key areas.

Many of them are well intended but don’t have a broad enough view of their projects. Others only do the minimum required to meet a green building standard forced on them by someone else. And a few, thankfully, seem to get it and work hard to do the right things.

This post, the first in a series about problems I run across, will focus on HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building..

Thermal Barriers and Ignition Barriers for Spray Foam

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Do building codes require spray foam insulation to be protected with a layer of drywall or a comparable barrier for fire safety? The answer is yes, usually — but not always.

There is no simple answer to the question, for several reasons. The first reason is that the code is complicated.

The second reason is that the code is poorly written.

The third reason is that the code is subject to interpretation by local code officials.

Saving Water — Saving Energy

Posted on April 10, 2014 by Alex Wilson in Energy Solutions

In this weekly blog, I’ve focused a lot of attention on the energy-saving measures at our new home — from the innovative insulation materials we used to the air-source heat pumpHeat pump that relies on outside air as the heat source and heat sink; not as effective in cold climates as ground-source heat pumps. heating system and our top-efficiency heat-recovery ventilator(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. .

What I haven’t said much about are the measures we’ve taken to reduce water use and why these measures save energy as well.

Four Ways Bad Duct Systems Can Lead to Poor Indoor Air Quality

Posted on April 9, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

Indoor air quality (IAQIndoor air quality. Healthfulness of an interior environment; IAQ is affected by such factors as moisture and mold, emissions of volatile organic compounds from paints and finishes, formaldehyde emissions from cabinets, and ventilation effectiveness.) is a big deal. It doesn't get nearly as much attention as energy efficiency or green building programs, but it should be one of the highest priorities for anyone who breathes air and spends time indoors.

It's actually part of an even bigger deal called indoor environmental quality (IEQ), but I'm just going to focus on IAQ here as I show you four ways your ducts might be hurting your indoor air quality.

Mineral Wool Insulation Isn’t Like Fiberglass

Posted on April 8, 2014 by Gregory La Vardera in Guest Blogs

If you are interested in green building, or call yourself a green building expert, then you should know about mineral wool insulation. If you have not seen mineral wool handled and installed, then you need to read this.

If you think that mineral wool batts are similar enough to fiberglass batts that you already know what you need to know about it, then you are a fool. And you still need to read this.

What’s the Best Basement Flooring System?

Posted on April 7, 2014 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

With a basement remodel underway, Jeff Dieterle weighs his options for a trouble-free floor. "We want to do the kitchen and bathroom in tile or stone and the rest of the area in wall-to-wall carpet," he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor.

Residential Commissioning

Posted on April 4, 2014 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Building a new home usually requires work by several subcontractors, including electricians, plumbers, and HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. installers. At the end of the job, someone — usually the general contractor — has to verify that all of the specified work has been completed.

Has the water heater been installed? Check.

Air conditioner? Check.

Ducts? Check.

Ventilation system? Check.

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