The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Fixing a Poorly Insulated Roof

Posted on September 4, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Chris Butson's Utah home sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet and experiences everything from sub-zero temperatures in the winter to 100-degree summer days. Built in 1994, the house has what Butson believes is an underinsulated roof that contributes to big electric bills and massive ice dams.

Green Cohousing Communities — and Other Options

Posted on September 1, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The typical green home featured on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com is a single-family home in a suburb or rural area. This type of development — often called “sprawl” — is decried by environmentalists and urban planners, who instead sing the praises of multifamily buildings in dense urban neighborhoods.

If you are a greenie who now lives in a suburb or rural area, where is the best place to move to? In this essay, I’ll examine several options.

Seeking Higher Ground

Posted on August 31, 2017 by Rob Moore in Guest Blogs

The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a groundbreaking report, Seeking Higher Ground, that takes a hard look at the plight of people whose homes are repeatedly flooded and the difficulties they face in acquiring assistance to move somewhere safer.

Carbon Capture Is Not Dead

Posted on August 30, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By DAVID HAWKINS and GEORGE PERIDAS

After almost seven years of design and construction work, and over $7 billion spent, the much-publicized Kemper County coal gasification power plant will now run on natural gas without capturing any carbon. Does this mean carbon capture and storage (CCS) for power plants is not ready for prime time?

Simple Techniques for Lowering the Cost of Zero-Energy Homes

Posted on August 29, 2017 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

In an effort to find ways to make zero-energy homes more affordable, San Joaquin County Habitat for Humanity (SJC Habitat) went farther than most. Headquartered in Stockton, California, the non-profit organization found ways to make their zero-energy homes cost less to build than their standard, moderately energy-efficient homes.

Flatrock Passive: A Well Insulated Slab

Posted on August 28, 2017 by David Goodyear in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: This is one of a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the 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. standard. The first installment of the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. For a list of Goodyear's earlier blogs on this site, see the "Related Articles" sidebar below; you'll find his complete blog here.

Impressions of Ecuador

Posted on August 25, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

For the last year and a half, my son Moses has been serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. He teaches English at a high school in Cañar, a town in the Andes with a mostly indigenous population. Recently, my family traveled to Ecuador to visit him.

My wife Karyn, our son Noah, and I flew to Quito. Moses met us at the airport. After two nights in Quito, we took a bus to Cotopaxi National Park, where we stayed at a rural hostel. The following day — three days after leaving Boston — we hiked to the top of a 15,489-foot volcano named Rumiñahui.

SonicLQ: Reconnecting Acoustics and Airtightness

Posted on August 24, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Back in the early days of airport noise mitigation programs, there was a pretty strong link between air leakage and sound. A document titled “Tips for Insulating Your Home Against Aircraft Noise” noted, “Sound travels from the exterior to the interior of the home in two ways: through solid structural elements and through the air…. Wherever air can infiltrate a home, sound can as well.”

The Truth About Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint

Posted on August 23, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Al Gore is in the news again. His new climate change movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, is in theaters now. And that means the folks who don't believe in climate change — or at least folks who don't believe that humans have any impact on it — are out in force trying to discredit the message.

As was the case 10 years ago when Gore’s original movie came out, they're going after his carbon footprintAmount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that a person, community, industry, or other entity contributes to the atmosphere through energy use, transportation, and other means. and making the case that he's a hypocrite. Let's take a look at the issues.

Measuring Passive House Energy Performance

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Katrin Klingenberg in Guest Blogs

After a period of growth in the '70s and '80s, and a brief hiatus in the '90s, passive building principles and metrics are making an impressive comeback in North America. Passive principles were developed 40-plus years ago by pioneers including William Shurcliff, Rob Dumont, and Joe Lstiburek — to mention just a few. Today, these principles are broadly seen as critical for a renewable energy future.

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