Design & Planning

Can We Get More and Pay Less To Keep About The Same?

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in design

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the 18th article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

Pondering the Sorry State of Green Building

Posted on April 18,2015 by CarlSeville in charette

After several months off from my blog, I am finally inspired to start writing again. I clearly don’t have the stamina of Allison Bailes of Energy Vanguard, who seems to put up a blog post about every 10 minutes, but I do need to get back on track so I don’t fade into obscurity (if I haven’t already).

Passive House New England’s Fall Symposium

Posted on April 18,2015 by GBA Team in Conference

Passive House New England is hosting a one-day conference in Boston with presentations on a variety of topics that are likely to interest GBA readers, including "Passive House and Cost Optimization in the South." Among the speakers scheduled for the upoming event are Adam Cohen, Chris Corson, Jesse Thompson, Marc Rosenbaum, and Martin Holladay. The symposium will be held at the University of Massachusetts - Boston on Saturday October 27. The cost to attend is $75 (or $35 for students).

Designing Superinsulated Walls

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in cellulose

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the 12th article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.] I’ve always enjoyed watching new homes being built. From the humble beginnings of a simple hole in the ground, a job site gradually changes as a succession of tradesmen arrive daily to craft concrete, lumber, roofing, windows, drywall, copper pipes into basic shelter, before giving way to a parade of cabinets, appliances and other finishing touches.

The Pretty Good House: A Better Building Standard?

Posted on April 18,2015 by Mike_Maines in NESEA

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) held its annual meeting in Portland, Maine, on September 15th, 2012. After a day of tours of local sustainably designed projects and some pre-meeting smorgasbord grazing, the meeting started with a round of speeches by board and association directors. (Exciting changes are coming; stay tuned!). Then the meeting continued with the entertainment portion of the evening: a panel-style discussion about the Pretty Good House.

Plans and Pricing for Our House in Maine

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in blueprint

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the fourth article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.] So far, we have been guesstimating how much this project will cost. Yes, we could use estimates based on cost per square foot, but there are are several design factors that influence that equation.

Selecting a General Contractor

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in builder

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the third article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.] What’s the best way to pick a residential general contractor (GC)? There are many books written on the subject. I want to focus this blog on one specific aspect: the point in time that the GC becomes a member of the team along with the architect and the homeowner.

Kicking the Tires on a Passivhaus Project

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in building science group

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a Passivhaus in Maine. Their goals are modest: “Passivhaus, LEED Platinum, net zero, universal access, and sustainable.” This is the first article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

A Documentary Film on the Passivhaus Movement

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in Feist

Documentary filmmaker Charlie Hoxie has made an excellent new 21-minute documentary film on the Passivhaus movement. Fortunately, the entire film has be posted for viewing on the Four Seven Five website. The English-language movie includes interviews with European and American designers and builders. Regular GBA readers will probably recognize a few of Hoxie's interview subjects, including Wolfgang Feist, Henry Gifford, Sam McAfee, and David White.

The Problem With Modern Architecture

Posted on April 18,2015 by CarlSeville in architecture

Over my now decades-long career in construction and renovation, I have rarely attended any home tours, but I recently went on a tour of modern homes in Atlanta sponsored by a group called, quote appropriately, Modern Atlanta. The tour included ten single-family homes (I saw eight of them) and one commercial building, the new Atlanta offices of Perkins + Will, a LEED Platinum renovation, which I did not visit.

Calculating Cooling Loads

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in air conditioning

A few decades ago, residential air conditioning was very rare in colder areas of the U.S., and cooling load calculations were usually unnecessary. These days, however, new U.S. homes routinely include air conditioning equipment, even in Minnesota, so most U.S. builders are faced with the need to calculate cooling loads.

How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 1

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in heat load

I’m going to devote the next several blogs to a discussion of heat-loss and heat-gain calculations. These calculations are the first step in the design of a home’s heating and cooling system. In order to address this big topic in little bites, I’ll start by discussing heat-loss calculations. I’ll get around to heat-gain calculations and cooling equipment in a future blog.

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Posted on April 18,2015 by Ecovrn in design

Is there a construction process which can deliver a value of sustainable prosperity? This is the term being used by Worldwatch in preparation for the upcoming Rio+20 conference. It moves beyond the “do no further harm” approach of the original definition of sustainability (Brundtland report), and recognizes the need to actively restore the Earth’s systems to full health.

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 5

Posted on April 18,2015 by AnnEdminster in Integrated design

In the prior installment in this blog series, I proposed a rationale for the adoption of integrated project delivery (IPD) and promised to follow with suggestions regarding its implementation, along with some resources.

Energy Modeling Isn’t Very Accurate

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in Blasnik

Energy consultants and auditors use energy modeling software for a variety of purposes, including rating the performance of an existing house, calculating the effect of energy retrofit measures, estimating the energy use of a new home, and determining the size of new heating and cooling equipment. According to most experts, the time and expense spent on energy modeling is an excellent investment, because it leads to better decisions than those made by contractors who use rules of thumb.

A Net-Zero-Energy Home in Rural Tennessee

Posted on April 18,2015 by ab3 in blower door

On my thousand-mile quality assurance road trip last week, I visited a house that was designed to produce more energy than it uses, making it a net zero energy home. You can take any house all the way to net zero just by giving it enough on-site power production (photovoltaics, wind, hydropower...), but that's not the most effective way to achieve the goal of net zero energy use. First, you want to make the house really efficient, and that's what these folks did.

10 Projects, Each Presented in 10 Minutes and 10 Slides

Posted on April 18,2015 by Fretboard in 10x10x10 Green Building Slam

There is something to be said for playing fast, if not loose, with the facts when it comes to presenting the essentials of a building project. Or at least that’s the driving concept behind the 10x10x10 Green Building Slam, scheduled for Wednesday at the Magic Lantern Theatre in Spokane, Washington.

A Petition Strives to Defend a Certain Definition of ‘Passive House’

Posted on April 18,2015 by Fretboard in international

UPDATED 4/5/2012 with new blog links Product names, program names, brands, and logos can be potent symbols of identity, so much so they’re often at the center of all kinds of marketing initiatives, corporate litigation, and cultural iconography. For people in the building industry, the term “passive house” – or Passivhaus, as we call it here – has come to mean a specific performance standard, and some say that if the criteria behind the standard are loosened to accommodate, say, climate conditions, a name other than Passive House (or Passivhaus) should be used.

A Superinsulated House in Rural Minnesota

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in design

Electric resistance heating systems have a bad reputation. While the required equipment is cheap (and sometimes cheap-looking), homes with electric heat are known for their high fuel bills.

‘All New Construction and Retrofits Must Be Carbon-Neutral’

Posted on April 18,2015 by n7wd3SMVzA in carbon reduction

Reprinted with permission from Construct Ireland magazine.

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