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Community and Q&A


Kiley Jacques | Posted in General Questions on

Hi, good folks,

This question is for those of you who subscribe to both GBA and Fine Homebuilding. I am putting together a presentation titled “Characterizing Green Building Advisor Content: What makes GBA different from FHB?” It wouldn’t be complete without input from the people who choose to spend their money on both publications (thank you). My question for you is: What do you get from GBA that you don’t find at FHB (or, conversely, what does FHB have that GBA does not)? I want to hear and share your thoughts. Thanks a bunch.

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  1. kbentley57 | | #1


    I often view FHB more in terms of structural terms or getting a house built, and GBA in terms of long term durability, and homeowner comfort / energy reduction. In some ways I feel like FHB gets more visibility, which is perfectly fine - I like the smaller community here with a more focused topic. I don't think as many people would value GBA for what it is, as opposed to FHB which is what they can see being built around them as they drive down the road.

  2. jerhullP | | #2

    GBA provides the Science behind why a structure should be constructed in a certain fashion. FHB provides the Know-how to construct that structure with materials and methods that follow the science.

  3. tim_dilletante | | #3

    I subscribe to both. FHB is great for hands-on construction information, including high performance buildings. GBA is great for theory and implementation details (emphasis on details) with more of the "why" things are done. There is certainly overlap when FHB covers WRB installation or funky insulation techniques, but I don't perceive the 2 publications as redundant.
    I've been reading FHB since the 90s, though I am not in the trades.

  4. Expert Member


    Some years ago FHB made a hash of its forums (the equivalent of the Community + Q&A on GBA) and they have never recovered. The advice is at best hit or miss.

    1. jamesboris | | #5

      Malcolm beat me to it. This is the primary difference, aside from obvious content-based differences (I don't come to GBA to check deck handrail or crown moulding details~). Turn-of-the-millenium FHB threads are often super helpful. Nowadays, the average post is well below the quality of DIY sites. Many old-timers migrated to Breaktime 3. JLC forums were recently killed off too.

  5. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #6

    Many thanks, all. You have confirmed some of the things I included in my presentation, and I'm glad to have them in your own words. And, yes Malcolm and James, the Q&A forum is "the heart of GBA," as Michael Maines puts it. I don't have the field expertise to contribute here in the tradition Martin started (and continues) but it is my favorite part of the site, and I read it thoroughly every day. It reflects the spirit of information-sharing that makes the green building/building science community so special and GBA so valuable. I do believe it is the "secret sauce" Taunton is always trying to figure out the recipe for. I've told them as much. (Side note: You may have noticed I change the titles of questions. I do this so people searching for topics on Google will land in the forum, find answers, and engage. The data analytics suggest it's working.)

    I welcome more feedback.

  6. mackstann | | #7

    It's the "Green" part, of course!

    I'm an environmentalist. I make life decisions, sometimes sacrifices, based on the principles of conservation and minimizing damage to the world. It's rare to find other people who do the same and talk about it. It's certainly rare in construction, where big trucks, big glass, concrete and spray foam are loved so much. There's no other place I know of that brings the "green" and the "building" together like GBA does.

    1. GBA Editor
      Kiley Jacques | | #8

      I'm glad you feel that way, Nick. Thank you for sharing.

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