Community: Green building techniques

Q & A Instructions

[Click map to enlarge]

The web site has a wealth of articles on a wide variety of construction topics. Before posting your question, you may want to check out the articles on this page: How To Do Everything. You just might discover an article there that provides the information you seek.

Please register for a free account or sign in to ask and answer green building questions.

If you want to post a question, the usual rules of courtesy apply:
1. Be nice.
2. If you can't be nice, be polite.
3. If you can't be nice or polite — well, please be brief.

To attach a photo or illustration: Under the box labeled “More explanation,” look for the words “File attachments.” Click that, and you should be able to attach a photo.

Thanks for joining the conversation!

4 Answers

Pretty Good House in Iowa

I am planning on building a "pretty good house" in the MidWest (Des Moines). After throwing around ideas on different wall structures (double stud, 2x6 with wet blown cellulose and rigid foam exterior), I'm curious what the prevailing thoughts are on building a 2x4 wall (16" o.c.) with 1/2" exterior plywood sheathing. 2" rigid EPS would go exterior, with WRB being Tyvek, then furring strips and hardi-plank siding.

Asked By Thomas R | Jul 27 15
1 Answer

Questions about Earthcraft

We are looking at Earthcraft as a green building certification process.

If you have experience with Earthcraft your comments, and suggestions will be appreciated.

We offer a guaranteed $100 electric bill already up to 2000 heated square feet, so we're already pretty good at energy efficiency.

We're hoping to learn the pros, cons, and suggestions of others before we engage with Earthcraft.

Thanks for your time.


Asked By Rod Moelleer | Jul 26 15
4 Answers

Using I-joists for Larsen truss web and building wrap for blown cellulose

I am building a 2 story house on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska and I am planning on installing a Larsen Truss on the exterior of a 2 story 2x6 framed house sheathed with plywood. As an owner builder who is trying to balance time efficiency vs cost efficiency I am trying to think of ways to speed up and ease construction of the Larsen truss. I recently thought of using I joists for the Web. It seems like this could speed up construction significantly allowing for the building of the truss on the ground prior to installation.

Asked By Chris Walker | Jul 26 15
3 Answers

Housewrap on the gable (non-living attic walls) or not?

My framer will not put Tyvek, house wrap on an gable wall where there is no conditioned air. (non living space above the house. I have found proper attic sealing, venting, insolated articles to back this and to dispute it. Please advise.

Asked By william trent | Jul 26 15
1 Answer

Gray/ grey water system in Southern California

I am new to GBA so bear with me if this has come up before. I am in Southern California with severe drought conditions. I think I have a good arrangement for a greywater system- One story house on a medium slope hillside so my crawl space tapers from 2 ft. to 8 ft. Great for dealing with the utilities. It also might be great for natural drainage of a greywater system. I was wondering if I put a large pool size sand filter inline if I could let the water drain through into a say 100 gallon holding tank and use a submersible pump attached to the drip system and/ or perforated pipe drainage.

Asked By Richard Stutsman | Jul 23 15
14 Answers

What is the most practical air sealing technique for new construction?

I am building a home in climate zone C4. My wall assembly will consist of 2x6's on 24" centers, OSB sheathing, then a layer of 1" XPS insulation, with my wrb on the outside of the insulation. I will then have rough cut reverse board and batten siding.

Asked By Kail Zuschlag | Jul 14 15
1 Answer

Air sealing techniques for a fire-damaged house rebuild in Phoenix

A friend's home was recently damaged in a fire. The restoration will included taking the roof off and stripping the interior. With just the exterior walls left standing it seems a great opportunity to incorporate some deep energy techniques.

From reading here at GBA, the proper location for the air barrier (in Phoenix) appears to be at the exterior (warm side of the insulation). The exterior wall covering is stucco.

Asked By Daen Hendrickson | Jul 22 15
3 Answers

Flashing 120-year-old windows to new ZIP R-sheathing

I am slowly retrofitting an 120 y/o home in climate zone 1. As typical with homes of this vintage it was very leaky, both of air and occasionally wind blown water during hurricanes. We had to remove most of the siding on one of the walls and are building it back with ZIP R-sheathing and rainscreen siding.

Asked By MIke Truxillo | Jul 17 15
16 Answers

Slag & fly ash geopolymer?

The father of geo polymers, Joseph Davidovits, has proposed a standard geo-polymer cement that uses fly ash, blast furnace slag and a "user friendly" alkali activator to make a cement. It' sets at room temperature in several hours and develops outstanding strength quickly.(7000+PSI @ 28 days). Without additional aggregates it is about 2.8/ inch. Since it uses about 90% waste materials it is quite "green". With that kind of insulating structural concrete far less plastic foam would be needed, a typical basement floor would be r10 by itself.

Asked By Jerry Liebler | Mar 16 15
10 Answers

How the heck was Pittsburgh, PA named a green city?!

I need some help finding a home builder in Pittsburgh, PA (preferable southwest PA).

My husband and I have had passive solar home plans drawn up and I would really like to build with SIPs. After researching everything... it just seems like building with solar passive strategies and conventionally framing is it, is like wrapping a diamond ring in the comics.

Asked By Melanie Beth Scott | Jun 12 15
Register for a free account and join the conversation

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