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

[Click map to enlarge]

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

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

My three story townhouse is a Katrina renovation.  The first floor was appropriately gutted, sprayed and rebuilt. I am having two problems:  the first is a musty odor and leaking water spots at two window sills on the first floor---this same smell existed many years ago when the house was purchased. I have always believed that flashing was not installed around windows when origianlly built. I think the problem has been compounded because I have replaced three windows on the second floor with glass blocks (two bathrooms).

In General questions | Asked By vicky michel | Oct 5 11
17 Answers

I trying to decide whether to use an Energy Recovery Ventilator or Heat Recovery Ventilator to ventilate a tightly-insulated house in northern Maine, (Very Cold climate zone) to be used mainly during the winter.

Any insights as to which one is a better choice and why?

In Mechanicals | Asked By Thomas Dresser | Sep 15 11
15 Answers

As I work on building homes more and more green and sustainably designed, I have tried sprayed open-cell foam with an unvented roof and liked it very much. And as I go to conventions and ask questions of oh so many in the industry and read for months on these internet sites, I am leaning more toward products that use less oil and nonrenewables. Also very into buying as local as I can.

In Green building techniques | Asked By Bill Robinson | May 29 10
5 Answers

So, the last major efficiency project is the replacement of 4-7'8"x6'8" aluminum framed sliding glass doors. I am not fond of sliding glass doors, and have considered changing to a fixed glass panel and a swinging door.

The problem is, of course, both style and efficiency.

The swinging door would work well except it would require a much larger wood area than 'looks' good, and from an efficiency standpoint, wood is worse than glass. The plus side is it is fairly simple to get a airtight seal on a swinging door compared to a sliding one.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Keith Gustafson | Jun 17 11
9 Answers

Hello all,
I am in Minneapolis, MN region 6, 1930's home.

I currently have a 19'x19' attached garage that is CMU, uninsulated and a portion of that is tucked under an existing sunroom. Next month we are going to extend the garage, by redoing the second stall of the original 19'x19' and enlarging it to take our current cars and bring height up for drainage.

So, I will have a single 8' stall with a portion open and under a sunroom and a larger 20x22 area of CMU with a floating deck above.

Current specs on the new garage portion include a frost footing 48".

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By Garret Olson | Oct 3 11
1 Answer

Everybody has opinions on windows. If you've spent a lot of time debating wood-framed windows vs. fiberglass windows vs. vinyl windows, you'll probably be interested in Mike Eliason's recent intelligent ruminations on the topic.

His latest window article is posted on his Brute Force Collaborative blog.

In PassivHaus | Asked By Martin Holladay | Oct 4 11
13 Answers

We have a 2 x 4 house with standard framing in Calgary (very cold and semi-arid - zone 6).

It is a full gut job, so we can insulate from inside or out, aiming for R-50 walls. We're thinking an offset frame wall with 4.5" spray foam;1.5" of XPS; synthetic stucco with appropriate water control. Existing 2 x 4 stud cavities would get cellulose. The foam is the air/vapor control layer so no housewrap or poly. But building on the exterior with a sloped roof means little space to get R-50 above the top place and still provide adequate roof ventilation.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By C Chrusch | Sep 27 11
6 Answers

The house I bought last year has a fieldstone wall and I am undertaking another round of repairs this fall. I have read that it is possible to jack up the sill of the house all around in order to put a capillary break between the fieldstone wall and the wood framing members of the house. See:

http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/insights/bsi-041-rubble-foundat...

This seems like a good idea in our case; the building science document describes putting a form of plastic as a membrane to protect the framing of the house from the stone below.

In Energy efficiency and durability | Asked By rich cowen | Sep 17 11
11 Answers

So I’m hoping to build a house with exterior foam over the OSB sheathing, and plan to go with “innie” windows, with the WRB between the foam and OSB. A draining house wrap is often recommended for this (“Mind the Gap, Eh!”). Tyvek has StuccoWrap and DrainWrap, Green Guard has RainDrop, Berry Plastics has WeatherTrek and Barricade Drainage Wrap. Others?

I was wondering what experience people have with various products, and if there is a reason to prefer one over the others, or to avoid any? Cost? Convenience? Effectiveness? Durability?

In Green building techniques | Asked By Ian Brown | Aug 26 11
12 Answers

GBA has a tab on every page labeled "Strategies & Details." That's the gateway to our slowly expanding detail library, where members have access to construction details.

We are well aware of the limitations of our detail library, and are committed to improving it. Our budget will allow significant additions to the library in the months ahead.

We're inviting GBA members to comment on details they'd like to see added. What's missing? What would you like to see?

In Green building techniques | Asked By Martin Holladay | Apr 26 11
Register for a free account and join the conversation


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