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!


3 Answers

Correct all-year-round ventilation for basement (bedroom, kitchenette, bath, laundry) in cold climates (Zone 5)

- I live in Worcester County in Massachusetts (Zone 5)
- The basement comprises of a finshed section that is an open area which serves as a bedroom for my mother-in-law, and an unfinished section that is the laundry room and storage (Total basement size is 930 sqft). See attached document for floor plan and ventilation plan.
- We are adding a bathroom and kitchenette by taking a bit of each section

In Green building techniques | Asked By George O | Mar 3 14
5 Answers

Should we buy products from China?

ABC did a news piece on the pollution in China. I have thought of this before but it is fresh in the news.

China makes cheap solar panels, but how much of that has to do with the lack of environmental regulations? If we care about the environment, should we buy products that just ship the environmental impact to a foreign land?

In General questions | Asked By Robert Hronek | Feb 26 14
3 Answers

Insulating an older masonry building inside above grade and below

This building is located in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It is a church of about 40 people, with limited resourses. It has been heated with an oil furnace since it was built in 1955. The furnace has failed this winter, and they want to switch to propane. Our church is in the lower part of Michigan and our men's group is willing to go up and do the work of insulating and drywalling the interior walls of this building, with all labor donated.

In General questions | Asked By Darwin Thompson | Mar 2 14
1 Answer

HRV / ERV for a conditioned crawlspace

I'm in climate zone 5-6. 3' conditioned crawlspace, with 12mil. plastic sealed floor & closed cell spray foam insulation installed on crawlspace walls & rim joists. Forced air gas furnace- ducts into crawlspace with one small flapper vent allowing some air into crawlspace when furnace/ ac is running. I currently run a dehumidifier about 12-24 hours a week in summer months to maintain a humidity level consistent with main floor. I'm about to seal the main level with new windows and 3" of polyso around exterior, and thus also want to install an HRV/ERV.

In General questions | Asked By stu m | Mar 2 14
9 Answers

I need suggestions for a high-performance dryer vent

Building a LEED Platinum house and need info on drier vents and rangehoods with make-up air

In GBA Pro help | Asked By david dickson | Feb 11 14
2 Answers

Waterless vs. ultra efficient urinals

I am planning on installing one in my house & want to know if anyone has an opinion or experience w/ which would require less maintenance over time.

In Green products and materials | Asked By Eddy Hogan | Jan 24 14
1 Answer

Damper control motor

I have a 36" whole house exhaust fan mounted in an attic dormer with a gravity damper. I want to add a damper control motor. Problem- the fan is a two speed, wired from down stairs and the damper motor needs only one input. I think I need a relay to make it work. What kind of relay is required? Thanks.

In Mechanicals | Asked By Jim Phillips | Mar 1 14
2 Answers

Prepping the rim joist for spray foam in cold weather

I live in upstate NY (climate zone 5 or 6; I'm right on the line) in a brick house that was built in 1850. My foundation walls are at least 14-in. thick stone (with mortar joints). I believe the house is balloon framed, but I haven't lived in it long enough to figure that out yet. I've heard from the previous owners that there's blown cellulose between the walls and the brick. There's some evidence on the exterior that this might be true.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Chris Ermides | Feb 13 14
3 Answers

What is the best flash-and-batt approach for a low-pitch unvented cathedral assembly?

New 2600 sf house is a low-pitch 1 1/2 : 12 shed standing seam metal over plywood sheathing on 1 3/4x14 LVL's 24" o.c., drywall ceiling. Zone 3 SF bay area; site is a north facing downslope just into the hot-dry 3B Zone, but sharing much of the climate of San Francisco's 3C. I have in mind 2" closed cell foam, either rigid panels sealed in place to joists with spray foam, then filling remaining cavity with 12" net thickness R38 batts; or 2" nominal spray foam, with 12" of R-51.6 blown in spider fiberglass secured by netting.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By brian rawlinson | Feb 27 14
5 Answers

Insulating scissors trusses — best practice or economics?

I'm going to build a one story house with walk out basement in northern Idaho, east of Coeur d'Alene. The main roof will be scissor trusses with a 16" heel. With an 8/12 pitch roof and 4/12 pitch ceiling. Due to the spans, there will probably be a 7' to 8' space at the peak between the roof and ceiling. The roof will be standing seam metal and the finish ceiling will first get a taped drywall ceiling and thane 1x T&G boards over that.

In Green building techniques | Asked By James Mills | Feb 28 14
Register for a free account and join the conversation


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