Guest Blogs

Promoting Green Infrastructure

Posted on September 5, 2017 by Anonymous

By THOMAS FISHER and MADELINE GOLDKAMP

Natural assets — “green infrastructure” — can provide communities with invaluable ecosystem services that clean our air, filter our water, mitigate natural disasters, and improve our quality of life.

Seeking Higher Ground

Posted on August 31, 2017 by Rob Moore

The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a groundbreaking report, Seeking Higher Ground, that takes a hard look at the plight of people whose homes are repeatedly flooded and the difficulties they face in acquiring assistance to move somewhere safer.

Carbon Capture Is Not Dead

Posted on August 30, 2017 by Anonymous

By DAVID HAWKINS and GEORGE PERIDAS

After almost seven years of design and construction work, and over $7 billion spent, the much-publicized Kemper County coal gasification power plant will now run on natural gas without capturing any carbon. Does this mean carbon capture and storage (CCS) for power plants is not ready for prime time?

Simple Techniques for Lowering the Cost of Zero-Energy Homes

Posted on August 29, 2017 by Bruce Sullivan

In an effort to find ways to make zero-energy homes more affordable, San Joaquin County Habitat for Humanity (SJC Habitat) went farther than most. Headquartered in Stockton, California, the non-profit organization found ways to make their zero-energy homes cost less to build than their standard, moderately energy-efficient homes.

Flatrock Passive: A Well Insulated Slab

Posted on August 28, 2017 by David Goodyear

Editor's Note: This is one of a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard. The first installment of the GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. For a list of Goodyear's earlier blogs on this site, see the "Related Articles" sidebar below; you'll find his complete blog here.

Measuring Passive House Energy Performance

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Katrin Klingenberg

After a period of growth in the '70s and '80s, and a brief hiatus in the '90s, passive building principles and metrics are making an impressive comeback in North America. Passive principles were developed 40-plus years ago by pioneers including William Shurcliff, Rob Dumont, and Joe Lstiburek — to mention just a few. Today, these principles are broadly seen as critical for a renewable energy future.

Stranded In Our Own Communities

Posted on August 17, 2017 by Anonymous

By JUNFENG JIAO and NICOLE McGRATH

As any commuter who has experienced unreliable service or lives miles away from a bus stop will tell you, sometimes public transit isn’t really a viable option, even in major cities.

In our car-loving society, where 85% of Americans use a car to get to work, people who cannot access transportation are excluded from their own communities and trapped inside “transit deserts.” This term, which one of us (Junfeng Jiao) coined, describes areas in a city where demand for transit is high but supply is low.

To Net Zero and Beyond

Posted on August 15, 2017 by Anonymous

By SHILPA SANKARAN

Last month, we at the Net-Zero Energy Coalition (NZEC) published our second annual inventory of zero energy (ZE) residential buildings in the U.S. and Canada, titled “To Zero and Beyond: 2016 Residential Zero Energy Buildings Study.”

Prior to our first inventory report, existing data on residential zero energy was spotty. We believed it was crucial for us to quantify the current state and track progress in order to truly understand the reality of the zero energy movement.

Urban Rustic: Kneewalls, Subfloor, and Exterior Walls

Posted on August 14, 2017 by Eric Whetzel

Editor's note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The first blog in his series was called An Introduction to a New Passive House Project; a list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

Fusing Green and Universal Design

Posted on August 10, 2017 by Rosemarie Rossetti

On June 13, 1998, my husband, Mark Leder, and I went for a bicycle ride on a rural wooded trail in Granville, Ohio. After riding for a few minutes, Mark thought he heard a gunshot and slowed down to investigate. As he scanned the scene he saw a large tree falling. He shouted, “Stop!” But the warning was too late. I was crushed by a 7,000-pound tree and paralyzed from the waist down.

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