Guest Blogs

Measuring Moisture in a Double-Stud Wall

Posted on October 9, 2017 by Bruce Sullivan

One of the key principles of high-performance, zero-energy homes is reducing energy use to a minimum. Since space heating and cooling have traditionally been the biggest residential end uses of energy, there is considerable emphasis on building insulation and air sealing. In most climates, it’s less expensive to increase wall insulation than it is to install a ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. Temperatures underground are relatively constant. Using a ground-source heat pump, heat from fluid circulated through an underground loop is transferred to and/or from the home through a heat exchanger. The energy performance of ground-source heat pumps is usually better than that of air-source heat pumps; ground-source heat pumps also perform better over a wider range of above-ground temperatures. or more solar panels. For this reason, the walls of zero energy homes in heating-dominated climates usually require something thicker than 2x6 framing.

Why Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Won’t Lead to Action on Climate Change

Posted on October 5, 2017 by Anonymous

By SCOTT GABRIEL KNOWLES

Flatrock Passive: Framing and Air Sealing

Posted on October 3, 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.

The World Is Facing a Sand Crisis

Posted on September 28, 2017 by Anonymous

By Aurora Torres, Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Jodi Brandt, and Kristen Lear

Utilities Grapple with Rooftop Solar and the New Energy Landscape

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Jacques Leslie

In the prevailing narrative of the rooftop solar industry, the dominant theme is combat. The good guys are the innovative, climate-positive, customer-pleasing solar companies, which must be nimble to avoid being crushed by the plodding, influence-buying, fossil fuel-spewing dinosaurs of the electricity industry, the utilities.

Are Hazardous Vapors Seeping Into Your Basement?

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Lynne Peeples

When Jane Horton bought her dream 800-square-foot farmhouse in 1975, she thought little of the semiconductor manufacturing plant across the street. Even after the company’s buildings were demolished and a chain-link fence went up around the campus, she still had no knowledge of the toxic dangers lurking beneath her feet — let alone of the fact that they were invading her home.

Urban Rustic: A Light Down Below

Posted on September 25, 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.

Batteries Included

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Bronwyn Barry

Almost everyone has a story about receiving an awesome gift, only to find they couldn’t use it until hours later because the box lacked one essential item — the battery. Remember the frustration, and how easily that manufacturer could have made you happy if they weren’t so cheap?

Thirty Years After the Montreal Pact, Solving the Ozone Problem Remains Elusive

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Fred Pearce

Did the Montreal Protocol fix the ozone hole? It seemed so. With chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-eating chemicals banned, many scientists said it was only a matter of time before the ozone layer recharged, and the annual hole over Antarctica healed for good.

But 30 years on, some atmospheric chemists are not so sure. The healing is proving painfully slow. And new discoveries about chemicals not covered by the protocol are raising fears that full recovery could be postponed into the 22nd century — or possibly even prevented altogether.

Thinking Beyond Trump

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Anonymous

By JENNIFER MORRIS

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