The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Toronto Passive: Walls, Roof, and an Elevator

Posted on February 6, 2017 by Lyndon Than in Guest Blogs

Editor's Note: Lyndon Than is a professional engineer and 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. Consultant who took a year off from work to design and build a home with his wife Phi in North York, a district of Toronto, Ontario. A list of Lyndon's previous blogs at appears below. For more, you can follow his blog, Passive House Toronto.

Bill Rose’s Building Science To-Do List

Posted on February 3, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

William Rose is fun to listen to. The author of a landmark book, Water in Buildings, Rose is a research architect at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a widely respected building scientist.

Rose’s speaking style is discursive, meandering, hesitant, and occasionally poetic. He shares historical anecdotes that sometimes seem only remotely relevant to his topic. Eventually, however, he sews together a patchwork quilt with a unified theme.

Canadian First Nation Gets Active About Passive Housing

Posted on February 2, 2017 by Katie Hyslop in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: Yale First Nation is a community in British Columbia, Canada, of some 160 members. This post originally appeared at The Tyee.

The 2018 Building Energy Code Holds the Line for Efficiency

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


The newest building energy code, which will govern how much energy and money is saved by new home and commercial building owners, was recently approved by code officials — and by and large, they voted to uphold the great efficiency gains made in past code cycles.

Closing In

Posted on January 31, 2017 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

Our home construction project is over the hump: drywall and flooring have been installed, exterior trim is wrapping up, and interior trim, cabinets, and tile will be starting soon.

Although things are generally going quite well, and while I am happy with the house, I am not enjoying the process very much. Even after 25 years as a contractor, I don’t deal well with the stress of coordinating dozens of subcontractors and suppliers. Materials don’t arrive when promised, workers don’t finish on schedule, and managing different trades in the house at the same time creates tensions.

Can We Live Happily Underground?

Posted on January 30, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

Earth-bermed houses built with the Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) approach are a little off the beaten track for most builders and prospective homeowners. These houses go back a bit: John N. Hait described the construction of an early "umbrella house" in the 1980s.

As unusual as they may be, PAHS houses have their advocates. One of them is Laurel Davison, who is planning to build one in Missouri on a gently sloped lot with an unimpeded southern exposure.

In Search of a DIY Guide to Rooftop PV

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Most new grid-tied photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) systems are installed by solar contractors. Here’s what usually happens: the homeowners call up a few local solar companies; representatives come to the house to make a site assessment; the homeowners choose the contractor whose quote sounds reasonable and sign a contract for the work. The homeowners don’t even have to put up a ladder; all they have to do is sign a check.

Measuring (and Understanding) Humidity

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Author’s Note: I can’t even start this blog before thanking Lew Harriman of Mason-Grant Consulting. Lew very patiently and gently hammered me into a much better understanding of humidity in air and its measurement. While any errors or lack of clarity regarding humidity and its measurement are mine, much of the insight and many of the resources mentioned here are Lew’s.

City of Aspen Dumps Energy Rating Index

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

The city of Aspen, Colorado has bucked the trend. Well, actually two trends, but first things first.

New York Proposes New Rates for Distributed Energy

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs


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