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Green Building Blog

GBA 2.0

Improvements to our web site

Six years ago we launched with one goal: to be the most trustworthy source of information for anyone designing, building, or remodeling energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthy homes. At the heart of GBA 1.0 were downloadable construction details, case studies of high-performance homes, a strategy generator, and the Green Spec product guide. Over the years we’ve added thousands of articles — some written by me, and others by Allison Bailes, Carl Seville, and some of the country’s top experts in the fields of construction, architecture, and building science. We’ve also built a thriving community of GBA users and members — you — who bring immeasurable value and experience to GBA. Thank you.

As we prepare to move into a new time at GBA — GBA 2.0, if you will — I’d like to introduce you to some of the features that we have developed from your feedback. Members will appreciate the new GBA Prime Home Page: dedicated to showcasing the latest and most-popular content on the site. We’ve added dozens of deep and informative articles from Fine Homebuilding magazine covering green building, energy efficiency, building science, and healthy construction practices. We’ve reduced the number of advertisements that members will see on the site to make reading GBA a more enjoyable experience. And, very soon, we will be launching a new members-only e-letter, so our GBA Prime users will never miss a new article, video, or case study.

We have also made some changes to the member model, making the most valuable content available only to GBA Prime members. This change will allow us to continue to improve GBA with more content, tools, and features in the future.

As these changes take final shape, please check out our latest membership options.

Join us today and don’t miss out on your all access pass to these new benefits to help you design, build and remodel better.


  1. Debra Coleman | | #1

    New Prime = Old Pro?
    Wondering if Prime is the new name for Pro? My Pro membership is up next month and wondering if I should let it lapse and go for the new Prime?
    Thanks as always for the extremely educational material. Being a visually oriented person that likes to express ideas graphically, I really appreciate it when words flow so easily to others of the Green Building Advisor team. Your in depth research is impressive as is your patience with all the questions!

  2. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Yes, GBA Prime is just a new name for GBA Pro
    Don't worry -- your GBA Pro subscription is still good. Only the name has been changed.

    Taunton Press thought that "GBA Prime" is catchier and better than "GBA Pro," which is why we are using the new name.

    All of these are equivalent:
    GBA subscriber = GBA member = GBA Pro member = GBA Prime member

    Lots of names for the same thing.

  3. Aj Builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a | | #3

    Package purchase?
    Is there a Fine Homebuilding, magazine, plus archives plus GBA buy option?

    Also is the plan to have all blogs only prime available?

    Thank you

  4. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Response to AJ
    To get answers to specific questions about the cost of subscribing to GBA or Fine Homebuilding, please contact Taunton Customer Service:
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Phone: 866-325-2558 or 800-943-0253

    The current plan calls for all future blogs by Allison Bailes and me (Martin Holladay) to be available only to GBA Prime subscribers. Taunton reserves the right to adjust its paywall policies at any time.

  5. Nick Welch | | #5

    Wow, this is big news. I
    Wow, this is big news. I guess it's been a little too easy to get by with being a free member until now. Martin, I am constantly linking people to your articles. I'm glad at least the existing ones will remain publicly available.

  6. W. Timothy Ward | | #6

    Is My GBA still available?
    I can no longer find My GBA cateloged articles on the website. Is this feature still available

  7. Aaron Gatzke | | #7

    High price
    $99 is the discounted price?
    I don't pay that for my FHB membership.
    What will the price be next year?


  8. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #8

    Response to W. Timothy Ward
    W. Timothy,
    Thanks very much for your question about the missing "My GBA" button on the new home page for GBA subscribers. This is a glitch related to the launch of the new web site, and it is a glitch that we sincerely regret. Our tech team in now working to restore the missing link.

    I'd like to offer our apologies as we work through a few problems with the new site. Thanks for your patience.

  9. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #9

    Response to Aaron Gatzke
    Thanks for your feedback on the cost of a GBA Prime subscription. I will relay your comment to Taunton Press.

    It's hard to predict what prices will be a year from now. However, GBA readers are now being offered a discounted subscription price for a limited time.

  10. Mark Fredericks | | #10

    The latest changes are really lame for those of us who aspire to be working in the Green Building field, and are not able to justify $100+ a year for membership. I knew this change was coming, but today for the first time, my favorite Friday morning read (Martin's Energy Nerd Blog) was no longer accessible!

    It's not unreasonable to charge a fee for all the quality content that this site produces, but maybe a tiered system would sit better with more casual readers.
    I could be wrong, but I think the readers here fall into 2 basic camps:
    1) Interested DIY home owner/small time renovators.
    2) Full time contractors directly involved with building low energy homes.

    Maybe GBA could offer 2 memberships for a less expensive option that still gives access to all the blogs, but saves all the construction details etc. for the GBA Prime members. This could be called GBA SubPrime!

    Thanks, you're still one of my favorite sites on the web.

  11. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #11

    Response to Mark Fredericks
    All of the free features that GBA offered last week -- six years of archived blogs on dozens of topics, as well as free answers to technical questions by experts in the field -- are still available for free. I'm glad that GBA is one of your favorite sites on the web.

    Future blogs by me and Allison will now be available only to subscribers. I'm sorry that you think that's lame. Since Allison and I write 104 blogs a year, the $99.95 cost of a one-year subscription means that you only have to pay 96 cents per blog. Not everyone thinks that one of my blogs is worth 96 cents -- but perhaps a few readers will.

  12. Mark Fredericks | | #12

    Thanks Martin
    Martin, you're right it's a fair price. It's just a cost that I won't easily fit in.
    I'll miss your blog immensely! It is always the most interesting content here on GBA and it regularly generates the most comments/discussion every week - something I really enjoyed and learned a lot from. Still, I appreciate that the 6 years of free content remains accessible, and I'll continue to use that massive resource. Thanks!

  13. Nate Thames | | #13

    Making the blogs Pro is a mistake
    They are an amazing lead generation source if used appropriately! These blogs hook people to the GBA voice and content... which is what you want. Then it's up to you to collect those leads and upsell them.

    I've had a (free) GBA account for a while and it seems like you might be under-utilizing your email list. When you really monetize a list then lead portals (like the blogs) become much more valuable as open funnels toward your more lucrative content.

    I do this sort of thing for a living in other niches, and I've seen this sort of closed wall retard growth. I sincerely hope that won't be the case for ya'll... since I'll probably become a pro member in a few years when I'm looking to build.

    And that's the kicker. For me, $100/year is a poor value. I'm not a builder, I'm a hobbyist.

    Best of luck, I've enjoyed reading over the years!

  14. Jack Barnes | | #14

    Keep me signed in
    How about adding a "Keep me signed in" option? This feature has been lacking for awhile but was not much of an issue when the blogs were free content. But now it looks like I have to sign in to my account everyday to read Martin's new blogs. A minor annoyance, but readers will come back less frequently if the content is not easily accessible. Thanks!

  15. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #15

    Response to Jack Barnes
    I couldn't agree more. This annoyance is near the top of my list for things that need to be fixed at GBA. Our tech team has had a list of desired improvements for quite a while, and there is a good chance that some of these improvements will finally be implemented within the next few months.

  16. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #16

    Response to W. Timothy Ward
    W. Timothy,
    The problem with the "My GBA" button has been partially (but not entirely) fixed. The button has been restored to its old location for older blogs, but not some of our newer blogs. We're still working on this issue.

    Again, our apologies. Thanks for your patience.

  17. Meyer Brendan | | #17

    Will miss the info
    As a government agency on a tight budget, I am going to miss the source of information. Procurement has already said no. Archives are nice, but blog articles tell you what's new in easy portions. Was a daily read.

  18. Colin Groundwater | | #18

    GBA, you have been great fun
    GBA, you have been great fun for the past years. Too bad I can't read the articles any longer.

    $100 annually for reading articles which aren't directly related to my line of work is just not in the cards for me. I also have no use for all of the other associated benefits.

    Fare thee well!

  19. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #19

    Response to Colin Groundwater
    Don't say goodby just yet. GBA still has free articles -- new free articles will be posted every week -- as well as free news stories and a free Q&A column.

  20. John O'Brien | | #20

    Information and the open-source movement
    I had attempted to post earlier, but got caught in the spam filter..

    First off, please, don't attempt to paywall articles that can be found on other author's blogs for free. It's just rude.

    Secondly, let's assume we're all fairly intelligent people. A website such as this unfortunately relies on google seo.. There's simply not enough traffic to support completely hiding all content, so in this case, one must use obtrusive popups, while retaining the textual article clearly visible in the page source.. If one were so inclined, one could bypass the obtrusive popups with 3 lines in a well known ad blocking utility. I'm not advocating for that, but one must do what one must.

    Finally, for those of you a bit more internet inclined, if you've ever browsed a site like reddit, and seen a particular journal post, generating 10s of thousands of comments with nested threads, up/down votes, and various other community based mod possibilities, you will understand why the paywalling of such marvelous material, and the drastically 1998 commenting capability is so frustrating to me.

    I wish GBA well, but to be honest, this is how to go quietly into the dark. This will not attract and build the community. Amusingly, you've essentially become what you so strongly detest, you've turned into the PassiveHaus, you'll spread your information to the 1%, and the rest will simply carry on as they always have.

    That imho, is very ironic. ;)

  21. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #21

    Response to John O'Brien
    Thanks for you comments. We value feedback on this issue. A few points:

    1. I am a Taunton employee. I don't made the decisions concerning subscription costs for GBA or Fine Homebuilding.

    2. I certainly understand that some people either can't afford to pay $99 a year, or don't want to. For much of my life, I was terrified that I would be unable to scrape up the money to pay for my next vehicle repair bill. Enough said.

    3. Concerning the open-source movement, and the well-worn phrase that "information wants to be free": I get that. I also get that there are a variety of work-arounds and hacks that will allow clever readers to gain access to behind-the-paywall content for free. Here's the thing, though: I trust that there are a few people who appreciate the value of GBA -- including a few who have read my blogs for 6 years for free -- who will decide to send us $99, simply as a gesture of support, and because they want GBA to thrive. This group of people is different from those who are now figuring out how to hack our paywall. We want to build a community; we want this community to value what we offer; and we trust that a few of the community members who can afford to support us will voluntarily choose to do so. Even if they don't have to.

    4. I am a journalist, an author, and an editor. That's how I make my living. Before I write an article, I perform research. I have developed collegial relationships with some of the top building scientists in the U.S., and I interview them and consult with them regularly. I keep up with scientific papers on building science issues; I read these papers, digest them, and summarize them for GBA readers. I have attended scientific conferences and workshops on building science issues for 20 years.

    Should my words be free? Perhaps. But don't they have value? Should journalists simply work as volunteers, because "information wants to be free"? Most of us understand that it makes sense to pay a fee when we consult a doctor or a lawyer; why don't my words have some value?

    Of course, I draw a salary from Taunton, and I am satisfied with that salary. But assuming that all of my reporting should be offered for free doesn't solve the problem with how our society is going to pay journalists for their work.

    In a way, I do a lot of volunteer work -- because I work far more hours than Taunton expects, including on weekends and early in the morning. I value this community, and I want to help GBA readers with problems. I genuinely try to treat homeowners with simple questions with the same respect as engineers with real stumpers.

    Most of the work I do here on GBA will continue to be freely offered, because the Q&A column is still open and free to all readers. If some members of the GBA community want to chip in to keep this community going, that would be great. To those who say, "So long -- I'm out of here" -- I understand. But if you are leaving because you can't afford the $99, don't leave yet. Stick around for the free stuff. GBA is still open.

  22. John O'Brien | | #22

    All very valid comments
    I have no issue with anything you said Martin. People deserve to be able to make a living from their efforts, I don't think anyone is debating that.

    My only point was that by taking this action, you're limiting your potential audience, which I find to be disappointing, as I've referred your articles to hundreds of people.

    Monetizing works of art, be it software, prose, or others is a vastly changing world. I respect all different avenues, whilst not necessarily with agreeing with each and every one.

    Look forward to hopefully in the future seeing more material being open, with new and diverse streams of income for everyone involved.

    I do stand by my point of the 90's comment board though. ;) Without notifications, any article that a reader doesn't check back in every day, it's very easy to miss the best part of the blog, the insightful comments.

    *edit* I should have given a few examples of alternate streams. Reddit is a good example of unique income streams. They offer a service called Reddit gold, that offers early access to articles, comment/discussions before it hits the general masses, advanced search capabilities and others. What's amusing is that the community is able to gild, purchase a months worth of gold access for 5$, and gift it to other members, for anything that they deserve worthy. Post a funny comment, get gold for a month, post a very technical detailed comment on an article, get gold, etc, etc. They've been able to pay for most of their server hosting costs / daily, simply by having the community give each other gifts. This is the type of thing that I wish this community could grow to.. Unfortunately, that requires a larger audience, and paywall is unfortunately the exact opposite way to grow a user base.

  23. Curt Kinder | | #23

    I've both enjoyed and contributed to GBA over the years...
    ...But there is absolutely no way I'd pay anywhere near $100 per year for the privilege of participating and enriching the discourse.

    I understand that operating and enriching a website such as this costs time and money, and I wouldn't mind contributing a bit, maybe a buck or so per month to help with expenses, but I refuse to be milked to the tune of $100 per year. It's not that I can't afford it...I simply don't believe my role here deserves or justifies such a fee.

    As to the value of words, well, so too are mine!

    So long for now...I'll try to remember to check back every now and again to see if this latest insanity has been eased.

    Best of luck!

  24. Bill Dietze | | #24

    Glad to pay, worried it'll change.
    I’d been snooping around various website for information on green and energy efficient homebuilding for a while and then stumbled across this GBA website. I had gotten hooked by the Passivhaus thing and wanted to look into it. The reason I like GBA? The moderator. For me, the worst thing about all that information that wants to be free is that it’s very low quality. Sure, set information free, whatever that means, but pay for expert opinions and pay for the patience and guidance of good moderation – this is not a passive activity! Martin (and the bevy of GBA contributors) won’t stand for incorrect information tossed out by a random (or not so…) posters to sit unchallenged – discussion ensues and numbers fly, references are cited, new material is discovered and people apologize now and again.
    I hate having to unlearn something that was wrong in the first place and so I come here to read and learn. The value of what I’ve learned here has been much more than $100/year.
    But change is change – so I worry. Less traffic to the site? Will the quality of the site go down? Harder to forward a link to a friend? Conversations with fewer newbies? A sign that Taunton is changing priorities? Or just what? I don’t know, but I ponied up $99 for a one year ticket – the site might even get better, all for the low price of several pretty good bottles of wine.

  25. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #25

    Response to Dan Kolbert and Bill Dietze
    Dan and Bill,
    Thanks to both of you for your support and kind words.

    Bill, I understand your worry that the site may change in an unpredictable way. However, I hope and trust that Taunton Press is flexible enough to make changes in the future if necessary to ensure that GBA stays vibrant and healthy.

    Finally, concerning your worry that it is now "harder to forward a link to a friend": I'd like to inform those who don't know about GBA Prime that you can provide access to any behind-the-paywall article to your friends by using the "My GBA" feature of GBA Prime. Just click the "My GBA" button in the upper right corner of our web page to learn more -- or watch this video that explains what you need to do to share articles with non-subscribers: Get Your Team on the Same Page.

  26. Allan Edwards | | #26

    This is the best or certainly one of the best building science sites, $100 is a bargain. Martin, I follow you on Twitter, that is how I keep up with GBA blogs.

  27. David Hicks | | #27

    For me, $100 is too much. I'm not a building pro but rather merely an interested layperson, and so really can't justify spending that much on what is, for me, a hobby. I certainly intend to keep my FHB subscription, so I will look forward to seeing Martin's writing there from time to time, but I won't be back to GBA. I've read nearly everything from the archive, and the Green News feature which remains free, is not much value to me. And even just the last few days has shown me what a frustrating experience GBA 2.0 will be as a non-Prime user. You're certainly doing great work here, and I wish you luck, but I am disappointed that I will no longer be a part of this conversation.

  28. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #28

    Response to David Hicks
    I understand your decision. I appreciate the implied compliment reflected in your disappointment that you won't have access to my blogs.

    I'd just like to urge that you reconsider your decision not to return to GBA. Many areas of our web site remain free. Our guest blogs will remain free; so will access to our Green Homes section and our Q&A page.

  29. Dan Kolbert | | #29

    Pretty good member
    I just signed up for Pro, for the first time. And I've had an account here since the site started, I believe. Would I rather continue without paying? Sure, but as a builder I think the site is certainly worth $100 to me and to the "community" however defined.

    I've been active on various on-line forums. One of the best for construction issues fell apart rather quickly precisely over the issue of moderation, which went from not enough to heavy-handed almost overnight. Just the critical role Martin plays in moderating and directing discussions is incredibly valuable, not to mention the content expertise he brings as well.

    "Content wants to be free" is of course bullshit. Content has no will - it's the reader/consumer's decision to pay or not that's the issue. Come up with a price you'd be willing to pay for a year of GBA and let Taunton know what it is - they'll have to make the decision on whether or not that level of support will keep the site going.

    I think GBA has played an invaluable role in furthering the discussion. Ironically, I had almost given up on Fine Homebuilding (after 30 years of subscribing) precisely because they weren't exploring the issues GBA does in enough detail. I think GBA has helped enliven FH, and perhaps vice versa.

    None of this may matter much to those of you who don't make their living from the content areas here. But one of the things I've enjoyed about the site has been the moderated interchange between professionals and homeowners. I've witnessed the un-moderated variety, and trust me, it ain't pretty.

    GBA really is a unique site. It's not to say it couldn't be replicated, but clearly money is and would be required to keep things at this high level. It has to come from somewhere, and I'm willing for some of it to come from me.

  30. Daniel Ernst | | #30

    Cost Information
    Judging by the comments, it seems that there were very few GBA Pro members. The $99 / year Prime price is substantially cheaper than the previous $14.99 / month Pro membership price.

    Was anyone a Pro member?

    I've been a paying and non-paying member for several years now. My lapses in paid subscription were usually prompted by changes in billing information (ex. Target gets hacked and the bank issues a new card).

    Here's the thing: the Pro account didn't really offer anything that I couldn't get for free. I didn't use the website information that was behind the Pro member paywall. As I saw it I was simply supporting the website as a unique and invaluable resource.

    To me, this has been a long time coming. Taunton finally realized they couldn't keep giving it away. Although I'm sure the pop-up ads generated revenue, this is a more "sustainable" solution.

    Looks like I'll be signing back into my account information to update my credit card issue!

    Keep up the great work Martin!

  31. Jeffrey Melvin | | #31

    Hi Martin,

    I think your blog is worth $0.96. And we get to hear from Allison - included in Who’s Who of American Women, The Millenium Edition!

    I am not sure how you are reimbursed for all of your follow-up to our questions. 11 from you on this post so far.

    Thanks so very much for the work you do.

    -Jeff Melvin

  32. Donald Endsley | | #32

    Martin I hope that Taunton
    Martin I hope that Taunton allows you to post some free blogs. Some like your blog about how solar thermal is dead, or All about attics, and a few others are great homeowner education. While I know those specific articles will continue to be available for free, I also know that probably close to once a month or so you'll probably cover something that is a of great value to a general homeowner who may be thinking about energy efficiency upgrades.

    Basically I hope they allow you some editorial discretion to say "Hey this is something that will help drive new membership as it is a great generally applicable educational (or amusing) piece."

    Regardless, while I am disappoint to be losing access to your blogs in general (I'm a RN living on a small farm, realistically I might build one more house in my lifetime, a GBAprime subscription just isn't worth it to me right now) I completely understand that the site has to make money. I hope the change allows the site to continue to be successful.

    Though I must admit I spend close to this every year on FHB, as tends to be an impulse purchase at the big box store, I do admit that I am hesitant to pay for access to here, even though I likely spend more time on this site. (I hardly go to the FHB site as I find it frustrating to use) But I'm not likely to change my mind on that, even though I acknowledge the disconnect.

  33. Burke Stoller | | #33

    Construction Detail Overhaul?
    I've been a subscriber for a while now, and have been a subscriber to Fine Homebuilding (paper and digital) for many years. While I absolutely love the content on the GBA site, I have to admit I was, and continue to be, a bit disappointed with the "Pro" content. As a professional carpenter in the residential industry who is fairly well-trained and experienced in energy efficient building, I have found a lack of depth in the usefulness and thoroughness of the construction details available to pro members. Unless the new changes substantially revise and expand upon the quality of the construction detail content, it has been quite disappointing. The articles, so far available for free, are far more worthwhile than the catalogue of details. I consider my membership more of a donation to a site that I believe in, and less of a payment for access to exclusive and useful content.

    Perhaps it would be possible to allow users to submit drawings (sections, details, envelope assemblies, wire barrier drawings, etc) from actual plans, and have the editors review and format them to make them available to other users? This may provide construction detail content with more depth and applicability to real-world situations.

    Don't get me wrong: I love the site and will continue my membership no matter what, but I really do hope that the construction detail component of the Pro Membership will get a major upgrade with the "2.0" revision. The Passive House video series (admittedly put together by Fine Homebuilding, but which is part of the Taunton family) was a standout series in terms of providing some more in-depth content, and hopefully GBA will be able to offer some material along those lines that is less "fluffy" than the glut of other green building stuff on the net.

    Please continue your dedicated work to an overall fantastic forum, and continue to push for more challenging content that delves into calculations, physics, pure building science, and fully fleshed-out construction details available to your members. Thanks for all your hard work, and looking forward to the future!

  34. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #34

    Dana Dorsett
    Well, I think Taunton should at least comp a membership for Dana, whose volume of content is in third place behind Martin and Alison.

  35. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #35

    Response to Burke Stoller
    Thanks very much for your feedback and suggestions. We value your input.

    I certainly agree that it would be great if we had the resources to improve our Details library. We'd like to add more details; we'd like to improve the existing (flawed) method for cataloging and finding details; and we'd like to have a good way for GBA readers to share details. These are all great ideas, and we've been discussing them at GBA for a long time.

    I sincerely hope that we will be able to gradually implement these suggested improvements in the coming months. These changes require resources: we need programmers to help with web site improvements, and we could use another editor to add and edit content. If GBA continues to grow, we may be able to hire the necessary staff.

    Again, thanks for your loyalty and your suggestions.

  36. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #36

    Response to Kevin Dickson
    Dana Dorsett is a very valuable member of the GBA community, and he received a complimentary membership a while ago. (Thanks, Dana, for all your contributions.)

    Of course, we value all of the contributions made by our many readers. It's tough to come to you, hat in hand, and ask for financial contributions. But GBA has bills to pay, just like any other business.

    We really appreciate the loyalty of all of our readers -- non-members as well as members.

  37. Andrea Loft | | #37

    in need of a 'how to' to get to articles
    Now that I have bought in to membership, I find it impossible to get to the GBAPrime articles that tend to be at the bottom of the standard e-mails. If I click on the article it makes me sign in and then what? Even if I remember what the article is called it is not found doing a Search.
    I seem to be wrong in my thinking that signing in gets me access to those articles by signing in; I get access to lots of good stuff, but not what caught my eye at the time. How is it supposed to work?
    Many thanks for your help. (If I can find your answer...)

  38. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #38

    Response to Andrea Loft
    If you are looking for articles found in the e-newsletter sent out by Taunton Press, you should look in these two places:

    The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

    Green Building News

    Since the e-newsletter highlights recent stories, these two pages -- one of which lists recent blogs, and the other of which lists recent news stories -- should bring you to the links that you are looking for.

    I hope this helps.

  39. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #39

    Response to Kevin Dickson
    Thanks for your thoughts. Even before the new paywall changes were made, I was worried about the inevitable drop-off in the number of comments, so I share your concern. This change is one of the drawbacks to Taunton's new paywall.

    Taunton will be evaluating the effects of the paywall decision to determine whether the benefits, on balance, are worth the drawbacks. It's always possible that future changes will be made to address the undesirable side effects of the recent changes.

    Thanks for your feedback, and stay tuned.

  40. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #40

    Early Results Are In
    Martin Holladay is by far the best author/moderator in this entire rapidly changing field. The proof is in the number of comments that his blog posts generate.

    Going back to October 2014, his weekly articles generate an average of 48.3 comments per blog.

    Since the paywall was installed, the average has dropped to 10.5 comments per blog.

    I'm reminded of when Taunton's redesign of the Fine Homebuilding Breaktime user interface caused a mass defection and basically destroyed what was then the best forum for construction issues. And that wasn't even a paywall, just a misguided reorganization of information.

    BTW, the second best author, whose articles are behind the paywall at this site, can be read for free at

  41. Lloyd Brown | | #41

    The enthusiastic hobbyist perspective
    Forgive my lateness to the discussion. I wanted to make sure my post was more thought out and logical, and less of a knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes that takes time, and life has a way of getting in the way.

    Like one or two others here, I am also not a building professional of any kind. I'm just a computer geek - yes, I can admit it - and a homeowner with a hobby-level interest in energy efficiency. I hope someday to design and build an efficient house, but it's probably 10-15 years away at this point.

    I realize that those of us who fit that description are probably the minority of the community, so I understand why Taunton made the decision that they did. They're a business, not a charity, so if they think that these changes will increase revenue and profits, then that's their decision, and I can respect it. If my assumption about the majority of readers being builders, architects, energy consultants, etc., is correct, then their decision makes a great deal of sense.

    Having said that, for those of us who do fit into the enthusiastic hobbyist mold, these changes are certainly frustrating. When our livelihood doesn't depend on it, the cost of the full membership is difficult to justify, even at the discounted $100/year level. I personally anticipated getting a full membership at some point in the future, but closer to when I'll be in a financial position to design/build. I expect that access to the full library would help significantly in the design process. In the meantime, it's just not in the budget. I wish it were, but it just isn't.

    If Taunton were to create a mid-tier membership, that cost less money, and gave access to some, but not all, of the Prime/Pro content, I think they would capture some of the hobbyist market like me. I would probably be willing to pay, say, $20-$30 a year, for delayed access to the Prime blogs like Martin's, etc. Even 3-6 months delay or more wouldn't really be a problem in my situation. I really think they ought to consider the possibility.

    As I said before, Taunton is a business, so this really comes down to a business decision. If they choose not to do as I've described, I'll probably be disappointed. But it is their choice to make, so no matter how much I may dislike or disagree with that decision, I can accept it.

    Whatever happens, thanks for all the great content over the years.

  42. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #42

    Response to Lloyd Brown
    Thanks very much for taking the time to share your perspective. We appreciate your input. I'm sure that Taunton is taking your perspective into consideration.

  43. Rachel Wagner | | #43

    suggesting a way to share specific content
    Hello, I've been a paying member since the start, and have no complaint with having to pay for unlimited access to content. However, a (perhaps unintended) glitch in the new paid-only viewership is that I can no longer share posts with clients or colleagues who do not also subscribe. I did this regularly in the past. I want to be able to have a client read an article, or post, and my client shouldn't have to purchase a membership to do so (or sign up for the 10-day trial). I also subscribe to the NYTimes online. Very simply, I can "share" any article I like with a number of "friends" (up to 20!) via email. They do not have to be a member to read the article. I would like GBA to add this feature. Please!?

  44. Rachel Wagner | | #44

    p.s. on paid membership
    I'd like to add to Lloyd's thoughtful comments. Previously, one could access the blogs without paid membership, but only paying members could post comments, participate in Q and A, and look at drawings and video content. I thought this was an excellent system. In fact, it encouraged membership because after simply reading the main blog content for a while, a non-paying user might be more likely to pay for membership, wanting greater participation and access to details. This made a lot of sense to me. Or, to again compare the NYTimes website, I believe that one can access up to 30 articles per month on the NYTimes website. Once you hit "30" in a given month, you are blocked until the next month, and you get pop-ups encouraging you to subscribe. Hmmmm - how do I know this? Because I was a regular "free reader" of the Times online, and my occasional reads became a habit, so frequently that I decided it was worth paying for. Hello Taunton! There are opportunities missed by the current pay-only viewership!

  45. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #45

    Response to Rachel Wagner
    The bug that we are now experiencing with the "Add to My GBA" button is unintentional. I have told our technical team that fixing this bug is a very high priority, and I hope they can fix it soon.

    Although the "Add to My GBA" button is missing from recent "GBA Prime" articles, that's not because of a decision to do so. It's a glitch related to the new software changes.

    Thanks also for your suggestion concerning changes to the paywall policy. Taunton Press is monitoring comments on this page and taking these comments seriously.

  46. Jeffrey Melvin | | #46


    I am not sure if something happened, but you said:

    As these changes take final shape, I would like to extend a limited-time offer. For the next month, we'll be offering our membership at the discounted price of $99.95 for 1 year.

    When I click the link I only see $149.95.


  47. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #47

    Response to Jeffrey Melvin
    For all questions related to signing up for GBA Prime, please contact Taunton Customer Service:
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Phone: 866-325-2558 or 800-943-0253

  48. Rich Wickman | | #48

    "Add to MY GBA button"
    It's frustrating to be paying for content that I can't share with partners on projects.
    Here's hoping the solution arrives soon.

  49. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #49

    Response to Rich Wickman
    I understand your frustration. Our technical team is scheduled to work on this bug this week, so I'm hoping that the problem will be fixed soon.

  50. Terry Herschberger | | #50

    I would really like to have
    I would really like to have the option to stay signed in on this site. I have way too many passwords to remember them all and the "remember me" button doesn't seem to work.

  51. Kristopher Steege-Reimann | | #51

    Comment section improvements
    One of the best things about this site are the conversations that follow the articles. Unfortunately the format GBA provides makes it very difficult to have a conversation or respond to a particular post. Has GBA ever though about using a commenting format similar to Reddit that allows conversations to be grouped in a logical way?

  52. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #52

    Response to Kristopher Steege-Reimann
    Thanks for your comments. I have forwarded your comments to our development team.

  53. Andrew Bond | | #53

    What is a fair comparison?

    When I saw $100 I nearly laughed out loud: it's so far from realistic that it's comical apart from the sad fact it will destroy one of the best sites out there. You and the team deliver such high quality information that definitely has a value, but that's hard to pinpoint these days as we have become accustomed to free.

    To try and gauge in my mind what's fair I decided the closest comparison is a combined website & magazine or journal. Taunton doesn't even charge $100 for a print journal, never mind a purely online service. Your not an accredited training source, nor a voice for a body of any sort so i cant claim you as PD hours. So where on earth did this $100 come from? I can get Dwell for $15 a year, SABMag is free (ad supported) as is canadian Architect. Has Taunton simply failed to support you with a good sales team to share the cost with advertisers?

    If Taunton put some effort into giving the site a more professional look (less than 10 fonts would be nice) with a decent forum system you may have a chance at a quarter of the asking price, but I want a free door blower at $100.

    Personally, there's not a home my employer (the City) will pay, and $100 is just far too steep when I can get half a dozen quality journals for the same price, and a coffee every month to enjoy them with.

    I have asked Taunton a couple of times if they can combine offers, and I see they still claim that " and are part of the Taunton Home and Garden Network", so why the segregation? Makes no sense to me.

    I'll still stop by, but there's zero hope I'll pay $100.

  54. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #54

    Response to Andrew Bond
    I understand your decision. I hope you still visit GBA for the free articles, the news stories, and the Q&A column.

  55. Rich Wickman | | #55

    My GBA button
    Martin- it's nice that the "add to my GBA button has been added to the bottom of articles.
    However, it does not work............ nothing gets added to my GBA. This is remarkably

  56. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #56

    Response to Rich Wickman
    I understand your frustration. Like you, I wish that the repairs to our site would happen faster. I'm looking into the situation now.

    Thanks for your comments. We appreciate the feedback.

  57. Dirk Gently | | #57

    Pay for what u use
    I started getting into green remodeling about 12 yrs ago. Google was not yet a verb to me back then and I'm not sure I knew it existed. It was very difficult to find info I needed on dense pack cellulose.
    Fast forward to 2010 and I find this site. Amazing Help. I have learned much and made a friend also.
    I have no problem paying for the content on this site and write it off as a business expense....I am sure many here can.
    The people who run this site need to make a PAID living.
    I always get annoyed when a customer will call or meet with me to discuss a problem....and then when I do such a great job explaining how to best fix it......they turn around and do it themselves...with my problem solving.
    Same principle here.....if you want access to the knowledge and use it enough.....well then pay for it.
    ONE question......For some time now during the work week.....pages from the site have been horribly slow to this from the increased number of users on the site? Or is it related to the 2.0?
    Also how does one check the status of their membership?
    Keep up the great work

  58. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #58

    Response to Dirk Gently
    1. Thanks for your kind words and support.

    2. Our web site was moved to new servers last week; it was down for a while, and you may have (temporarily) experienced slow page loading after that was done. I hope everything is working well for you now. If not, send me an e-mail and I'll look into it: martin [at] greenbuildingadvisor [dot] com.

    3. As far as I know, the only way to check the status of your membership (for the time being) is to contact customer service:

    Phone: 800-943-0253 or 866-325-2558
    E-mail:  [email protected]

    We hope to have a better way for GBA subscribers to do this online in the future.

    Keep the feedback coming. We appreciate your comments.

  59. Phil Ray | | #59

    Consistently broken links from GBA home page
    This is regarding the Q&A section toward the bottom of the GBA front page, where the subject line of recent questions are included on the page. The links that read "n ANSWERS" are consistently broken, returning error messages of "The requested page could not be found." This has been broken since the January upgrade and is rather annoying.

  60. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #60

    Response to Phil Ray
    I am unable to reproduce the glitch you have described. However, our technical team is now looking into the problem

  61. Earl Ferguson | | #61

    Difficulty using your site
    Why are you making it so difficult to use your site? I want to read an article and it blocks me and asked me to sign in. Yet when signing in, you still do not give me access to the article. You will not accept my 'password' even though I keep renewing it. Much too time consuming!!!
    Frustrated, and about to cancel my subscription.

  62. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #62

    Response to Earl Ferguson
    Thanks for your comments.

    I'm not sure why you are having problems with your password, but I am sure there is a solution. Taunton's Customer Service Department is available to help solve your problem. You can contact them by phone or e-mail:
    Phone: 800-943-0253 or 866-325-2558
    E-mail:  [email protected]

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