The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Can This Panelized System Solve Your Enclosure Problems?

Posted on December 14, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

If you want to build a superinsulated, airtight house, you run into some difficulties. How do you deal with the extra thickness of your walls and ceilings when you add all that extra insulation? What's the best way to ensure you hit your airtightness goal? And how do you do all that while keeping the process manageable and the cost affordable?

The new Build SMART panelized system has some answers.

To Improve Wind and Solar Power, Bring Them Together

Posted on December 13, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


What’s keeping solar and wind power from fully taking over the electric grid? For starters, the sun only shines during the day. Wind blows intermittently, is seasonally variable, and is not always blowing when the energy is needed. But what if solar and wind work together?

A SIP Roof Repair in Wisconsin

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Allan Poole in Guest Blogs

A year ago, I looked on the web for information about repairing a poorly designed SIP(SIP) Building panel usually made of oriented strand board (OSB) skins surrounding a core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation. SIPs can be erected very quickly with a crane to create an energy-efficient, sturdy home. (structural insulated panel) roof system. I found Green Building Advisor and posted questions here. It was suggested that I share my roof repair experience for the benefit of others who may be grappling with the same misfortune as mine. Here is my story.

Green Building in the Trump Era

Posted on December 9, 2016 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most green building advocates are concerned about global climate change. So what are we to make of the election of Donald Trump?

Well, there is bad news and good news.

The bad news is that Trump is ignorant about basic economic facts relevant to the energy industry and is disdainful of scientific consensus. There’s more bad news:

  • Trump believes that climate change is a hoax;
  • Trump has promised to withdraw from (or, as he puts it, to “cancel”) the Paris Climate Agreement;
  • Trump has ridiculed supporters of renewable energy;
  • Daylight Savings Time Isn’t Worth the Trouble

    Posted on December 8, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


    On November 6, public service announcements reminded us to “fall back,” ending daylight saving time (DST) by setting our clocks an hour earlier. On November 7, many of us commuted home in the dark.

    This semiannual ritual shifts our rhythms and temporarily makes us groggy at times when we normally feel alert. Moreover, many Americans are confused about why we spring forward to DST in March and fall back in November, and whether it is worth the trouble.

    Using David White’s Global Warming Calculator

    Posted on December 7, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

    Everyone knows about the impact of burning fossil fuels on global warming. Maybe not everyone believes it, but scientists first started focusing attention on increasing carbon dioxide levels way back in 1827. The impact of insulation on global warming, however, is relatively new.

    Passive House in China, Part 1

    Posted on December 6, 2016 by Katrin Klingenberg in Guest Blogs

    This year I was invited to give the keynote address at 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. Alliance China’s 3rd China Passive Building Summit in Shanghai, with the explicit request to report on passive building progress in the U.S. and on PHIUS’ climate-specific standards.

    In light of the immense amount of development currently taking place in China, with whole cities springing up practically overnight and a huge stock of existing buildings in need of energy efficiency upgrades, China’s interest in the passive building work being done in the U.S. is significant.

    Best Path to Net-Zero Energy

    Posted on December 5, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

    Joshua Greisen thinks he's found an ideal building lot in Yakima, Washington, a city in the south-central part of the state in Climate Zone 5B. Now, can he find a design for a zero-net-energy house to go with it?

    Working with a limited budget, but on a south-facing lot ideal for passive solar gain, Greisen is looking for a cost-effective way of reaching his goal. "I'm by no means a rich man," he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, "and can only afford to do what has a return on investment that will be realized within a decade or so."

    Worries About Trapping Moisture

    Posted on December 2, 2016 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

    A significant number of questions posted by readers on the site are variations of, “Will this wall detail (or roof detail) trap moisture?”

    When I entered “trap moisture” into the GBA search box, I got 182 results. The search terms “trapping moisture” yielded another 104 results. Clearly, there is a high level of concern around the issue.

    ‘Peer Diffusion’ Can Make Better Homes a Must Have

    Posted on December 1, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


    Peer Diffusion: A form of communication within and between networks of people that (1) occurs through varying forms of social comparison and social interaction around an innovation (i.e., a new behavior, idea, or technology) and (2) ultimately promotes the broader adoption of that innovation.

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