The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Can Rural Living Be As Green As Urban Living?

Posted on July 1, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Rural residents are surrounded by greenery and breathe fresh air. Urban residents are surrounded by concrete and breathe polluted air.

On the other hand, rural residents live in wasteful single-family homes and depend on private cars for transportation. Urban residents live in efficient apartments and use public transportation.

So which lifestyle is greener? According to most analysts, urban living is better for the planet than rural living. But a few aspects of the question remain unsettled.

Are Energy-Saving Settings Bad for the Environment?

Posted on June 30, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


Volkswagen’s deceptive engine controls, uncovered last year, gave its cars a dual personality: one for everyday operation and a secret greener one used to rank higher than warranted on vehicle emissions tests. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe are now examining whether some television manufacturers similarly misbehaved, programming their screens to detect a standard video test clip, dial down their brightness and thus cheat on energy consumption tests.

Complex Three-Dimensional Air Flow Networks

Posted on June 29, 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor in Building Science

A lot of discoveries and research work over the past four decades 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 our current understanding of air leakage in buildings. I’ll mention a few here, but I want to focus on one: the MAD AIR paper by John Tooley and Neil Moyer. The full title of the paper was, Mechanical Air Distribution And Interacting Relationships. The first letters of those words spell out MAD AIR.

The Case Against More Ethanol

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This is a rebuttal to “The Case for More Ethanol,” a guest blog published at on June 27, 2016.

The Case for More Ethanol

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Timothy Wirth and C. Boyden Gray in Guest Blogs

For almost as long as there have been cars, gasoline has been the dominant fuel in transportation. But for a host of reasons — environmental, climate change, public health, and economic — the time has come to consider mixing higher blends of biofuels with gasoline. And in the United States, the best source for that biofuel today, surprisingly, is corn.

Resilient Food Supply Systems

Posted on June 24, 2016 by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor in Musings of an Energy Nerd has published a lot of articles about resilience — for example, articles pointing out that well-insulated buildings with low levels of air leakage are more resilient than code-minimum buildings. In other words, in the event of a disruption to energy supplies, such a building can ride out a cold spell — even one lasting for weeks — without risking frozen pipes.

A few GBA bloggers, including Alex Wilson and Tristan Roberts, advise anyone concerned about resilience to consider where their food will come from during an emergency.

Why Is the U.S. Unwilling to Pay for Good Public Transportation?

Posted on June 23, 2016 by John Rennie Short in Guest Blogs

Officials in Washington, D.C., say they may have to shut down portions of the Metro subway system for months because its piecemeal approach to maintenance is no longer sufficient.

The disclosure follows a shutdown of the entire Metro system on March 16 for 24 hours. Three-quarters of a million people use the system each weekday, so the inconvenience and cost were considerable.

The reason: frayed electrical cables discovered in at least 26 locations that posed an immediate danger. Closing the Metro was probably the safest thing to do.

Is Nuclear Power Our Energy Future or a Dinosaur?

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Dave Levitan in Guest Blogs

Nuclear power is dead. Long live nuclear power. Nuclear power is the only way forward. Nuclear power is a red herring. Nuclear power is too dangerous. Nuclear power is the safest power source around. Nuclear is nothing. Nuclear is everything.

What’s Wrong With Shipping Container Housing? Everything.

Posted on June 21, 2016 by Mark Hogan in Guest Blogs

What’s wrong with shipping container buildings? Nothing, if they’re used for the right purpose.

For a temporary facility, where an owner desires the shipping container aesthetic, they can be a good fit. (Look, I’ve even done a container project!) For sites where on-site construction is not feasible or desirable, fitting a container out in the factory can be a sensible option, even though you’ll still have to do things like pour foundations on site. It probably won’t save you any money over conventional construction (and very well might cost more), but it can solve some other problems.

Making the Best PEX Connections

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Building his “forever house,” Dean Sandbo is mulling what type of tubing to use for his plumbing supply lines. He has narrowed the choice to one of two types of cross-linked polyethylene (PEXCross-linked polyethylene. Specialized type of polyethylene plastic that is strengthened by chemical bonds formed in addition to the usual bonds in the polymerization process. PEX is used primarily as tubing for hot- and cold-water distribution and radiant-floor heating.): PEX-A or PEX-B.

Key issues, Sandbo notes in his Q&A post at GBA, are how long the tubing will last, and whether there are safety concerns — that is, will the PEX tubing leach chemicals into his drinking water?

"I am on a well," he writes. "Any input as to the longevity and safety of these two different types of pipes?"

Register for a free account and join the conversation

Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!