Q&A: A Forum for Green Building Experts and Beginners

Q & A Instructions

[Click map to enlarge]

The GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com 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!

5 Answers

Basement insulation

We just bought our first home. The basement is mostly finished, except for a side room that contains the furnace, washer, and dryer, and some storage space. We'd like to finish that room and put a small office at the end.

In General questions | Asked By Cory Kaufman-Schofield | Dec 22 14
4 Answers

Basement slab retrofit questions

I have an older home built in the 1950’s. I’ve insulated the basement walls with rigid foam and a stud wall with batts. This has made the basement more comfortable, but I still have a lot of moisture in the air based on the dehumidifier that I run frequently. I’m fairly certain that the existing slab must be un-insulated and is missing any poly or other moisture barrier under it.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Mark Fredericks | Oct 27 14
3 Answers


Why can't we click on a name and be able to send email ?

I am ajbuilderny and it is a gmailaccount.

In General questions | Asked By aj builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a | Dec 22 14
7 Answers

What to do about the existing housing stock?

Many of the articles and the focus here concern new construction, but this is an aging country with a mostly sufficient existing housing stock that dwarfs the new construction market by orders of magnitude. And these houses have the kinds of problems that make informed builders like you guys cringe.

In General questions | Asked By Nathaniel G | Dec 22 14
8 Answers

How to handle SE/SW orientation? And any experiences with Richlin windows?

I'm planning a not-quite almost-passive retrofit to a 1,400 sq. ft. 1-1/2 story Cape Cod in Minneapolis (shooting for R-40 walls & R-50-80 roof). I'm looking for a US window manufacturer who can come close to European quality without the high cost, lead time and shipping impact. Oh yeah, and the windows must be standard crank-out casement as I have no interest in tilt / turn (I've used them plenty in Europe).

In PassivHaus | Asked By Ryan Griffin | Sep 29 14
17 Answers

Is this furnace venting/leaking problem as bad as it looks?

I'm visiting my parents' place for the holidays and using my newfound amateur knowledge of building science to find everything wrong with their old house. :) I'd like to get some confirmation on the most worrying thing I've found: a leaking furnace flue.

The furnace is a 30 year old 80% efficient model in the basement with a round metal flue that goes into a masonry chimney and exits about 40 feet higher at the top of the chimney. The connection to the furnace in the basement curves down at one point:


In Mechanicals | Asked By Nathaniel G | Dec 20 14
6 Answers

Sensors in the house envelope

We are designing our superinsulated Pretty Good House inspired dwelling. It will be constructed during the summer, 2015, in west central Wisconsin. I am willing to place some instrumentation in the envelope (like temp and humidity sensors) during the build so the house performance can be monitored afterwards.

I'm asking for suggestions for what sensors to place where to get good data. What would you like to see monitored? I am interested in heat flow through the slab and basement walls as well as temp/humidity profile in the above ground walls, but I'm open to any suggestions.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Karl Overn | Dec 21 14
2 Answers

Any information about the efficiency & cost of direct Solar Hot Water systems versus using Heat Pump Water Heater and PV panels to power it?

Location: Northern California - Sacramento

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Urs Schuler | Dec 22 14
50 Answers

Wet OSB - how much water can it take?

We are two weeks from having trusses and roof on our new house. The rains are killing us. We painted the subfloors before the rains and have been sucking water after each storm. We are dreading putting the hardwood floors down (someday). How much damage can happen due to this rain, glad it's helping the drought, but it's definitely stressing us out!

In General questions | Asked By colleen1 runyen | Dec 17 14
4 Answers

Is a gas fireplace blower fan an energy-efficient investment?

In reading some of the prior blogs concerning the issues surrounding a ventless fireplace I was struck by the strong feelings for both positive and negative positions on a ventless design. My question actually pertains to the energy efficiency and advisability of adding a blower fan set up to a fireplace . Does a blower fan make the fireplace much more efficient in terms of using the BTU's created by combustion of gas? It certainly seems that it should. It also seems that a blower fan would exacerbate the distribution of negative byproducts if that is in fact an issue.

In General questions | Asked By W. Timothy Ward | Dec 20 14
Register for a free account and join the conversation

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