The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

How to Foster Solar Innovation and Save Jobs

Posted on January 11, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By EDWARD BARBIER and TERRY IVERSON

The U.S. solar industry is nervously awaiting President Donald Trump’s decision whether to impose punitive duties on imported solar panels and related equipment or even restrict some of those imports altogether. It could come any day between now and late January.

Ventilating a Home in Cold Weather

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

When I woke up Saturday morning, the temperature outdoors was -40 degrees. The wind chill was -100 degrees! It was just unbelievably, impossibly, inhumanly cold outside. Fortunately, that was on a mountaintop in New Hampshire and not where I was. I happened to have woken up on a mountaintop in North Carolina, where the temperature was a much warmer -3°F.

Wolfe Island Passive: First Year Reflections

Posted on January 9, 2018 by David Murakami Wood in Guest Blogs

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.

A 1950s Cape With Many Needs

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Emerson W has acquired his first free-standing home, a Cape built in Maryland in 1952, and in no time he's compiled a long list of upgrades the house will need — everything from a new heating system to dealing with vented, unconditioned crawl spaces.

Vermont Addresses the 20+5 Wall Problem — Sort Of

Posted on January 5, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Three years ago I wrote an article about a problematic recommendation in the 2012 building codes — namely, the “R-20+5” recommendation for walls in Climate Zones 6 through 8. This recommendation — actually, a prescriptive minimum R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. requirement for walls — gives code approval to walls with R-20 fiberglass batts and R-5 exterior rigid foam. (Image #2, below, shows the relevant code table.)

California Fire Damage to Homes is Less ‘Random’ Than It Seems

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Faith Kearns in Guest Blogs

In the midst of the many wildfire emergencies that have faced California this year, it can often seem that the way houses burn, or don’t, is random.

The thing is, though, it’s not. Firefighters and researchers alike have a pretty solid understanding of why some houses are more vulnerable to wildfire than others. The real challenge ultimately lies in whether those with the power to act on that knowledge will do so.

Stepping Up to Address Wind-Wildlife Impacts

Posted on January 3, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

Note: This is part three of a series of blogs highlighting recent progress in onshore and offshore wind energy, as well as discussing some of the continued opportunities, challenges, and threats the industry faces in the near term. The series was originally published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

By KATIE UMEKUBO

Giving Nature a Chance for a Comeback

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By TRAVIS WOOD

No longer constrained by repeated mowing and herbicide applications, the manicured fairways of the shuttered Highlands Golf Course in western Michigan have given way to tall grasses swaying in the breeze, interrupted only by more than two miles of looping trails in what is now The Highlands natural area. Several of the old greens are now tall and short-grass prairie plots, offering a glimpse of what the future holds for a piece of land that had been a golf course for the past 100 years.

A Quantitative Look at Solar Heat Gain

Posted on January 1, 2018 by Robert Opaluch in Guest Blogs

This article explores the viability of passive solar and solar-tempered space heating in northern U.S. regions and metro areas. I will quantify solar heating potential by looking at climate data for 22 large cities across the northern U.S. The winter climates in these cities differ not just in temperature ranges, but also in the amount of winter sunlight. Winter temperatures and cloudiness are major determinants of the potential and the cost-effectiveness of exploiting solar heat gainIncrease in the amount of heat in a space, including heat transferred from outside (in the form of solar radiation) and heat generated within by people, lights, mechanical systems, and other sources. See heat loss. for space heating.

Climate Change Challenges the Human Imagination

Posted on December 29, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

We live in strange times. It's clear that our politicians have been remarkably inept at addressing the climate change crisis. Scientists tell us that we have already injected so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that, especially in light of the ineptitude of political leadership, it is almost certainly too late for the human race to avoid environmental catastrophe.

In short, the chain of events we have set in motion is in all likelihood irreversible.

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