The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Americans Are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Posted on February 15, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By ASHOK SEKAR and ERIC WILLIAMS

Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries, and consumer products has transformed shopping. Personal interactions, from the casual to the intimate, are increasingly virtual instead of face to face.

Is R-8 Duct Insulation Enough?

Posted on February 14, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

If you know a little building science, you've no doubt seen a lot of problems that occur with air distribution systems. Ducts just don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in most homes.

I've written about ducts quite a bit here and have shown problems resulting from poor design and installation. We all know how stupid some of those problems are. So today I'm going to talk about a problem that doesn't get nearly enough attention: duct insulation — even when the design and installation are perfect.

Can Mirrors Boost Solar Panel Output?

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Joshua M. Pearce in Guest Blogs

Falling costs for solar power have 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. to an explosive growth in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar use over the past decade. The levelized cost of solar electricity using imported solar panels — that is, the solar electricity cost measured over the life of the panels — has dropped so much that it is lower than electricity from competing sources such as coal in most of America.

Integrating HRVs With Air Handlers

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

This is the second of two articles about heat-recovery and energy-recovery ventilators based on training developed by Bruce Manclark and Dan Wildenhaus of CLEAResult. Part 1, which covers equipment selection, is available here. This post originally appeared at the Zero Energy Project.

Things You Do Not Need

Posted on February 9, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.

Can a Tech Company Build a City? Ask Google

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

By SARAH BARNS

Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation startup owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced a partnership with the City of Toronto to develop a new waterfront precinct. Time to ask Google: Can you build a city?

The Quayside precinct, dubbed “Sidewalk Toronto,” is to become a 500-hectare (1,236-acre) sandpit for testing a suite of new tech products. The aim is to radically reimagine the way a city is made. (Further reading: Creative City, Smart City … Whose City Is It?.)

States Step Up for Progress on Efficiency Standards

Posted on February 7, 2018 by Lauren Urbanek in Guest Blogs

In the face of threatened rollbacks and inaction on national appliance energy efficiency standards by the Trump administration, the states are stepping up to protect their citizens and climate. Driven by their desire for climate leadership as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, states including California, New York, and Washington are hard at work to ensure that their citizens will save energy and money with more efficient appliances and equipment.

Urban Rustic: Installing a Solar Electric System

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Eric Whetzel in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Choosing a New HVAC System

Posted on February 5, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Jill D has done her homework, and now it's time to choose a new heating and cooling system for her Climate Zone 5B home.

There are three distinct zones to consider: the main house, a sunroom addition, and an office addition. Neither the office nor the sunroom is ducted, although heating and cooling loads there are relatively low. In the main house, the heating loadRate at which heat must be added to a space to maintain a desired temperature. See cooling load. has been calculated at between 28,000 and 36,000 BtuBritish thermal unit, the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water (about a pint) one degree Fahrenheit in temperature—about the heat content of one wooden kitchen match. One Btu is equivalent to 0.293 watt-hours or 1,055 joules. per hour, and the cooling load at between 24,000 and 36,000 Btu per hour.

Condensation on Car Windshields

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

A surprising number of people don’t understand the causes of condensation. If you ask a stranger on the sidewalk, “Does condensation happen when cold air encounters a warm surface, or when warm air encounters a cold surface?,” many people will shrug their shoulders.

Here’s an example of this type of confusion: When drivers see condensation on their windshield during the summer, they are often unsure of the best remedy. Should they turn on the heater or the air conditioner?

Let’s look at four different scenarios.

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