The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Pondering an Attic Conversion in New York

Posted on December 25, 2017 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

An energy auditEnergy audit that also includes inspections and tests to assess moisture flow, combustion safety, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, and durability. on BuildingNewb's upstate New York home has prompted a recommendation that he insulate the rafter bays with dense-packed cellulose, transforming what is now a ventilated attic into conditioned spaceInsulated, air-sealed part of a building that is actively heated and/or cooled for occupant comfort. .

Martin’s 2017 Christmas Poem

Posted on December 22, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

The Love Song of J. the Builder
With apologies to T. S. Eliot

Night Surveys: The Lights Are On, But Nobody is Home

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Julie Paquette has been Director of Energy Management at Yale University for about 6 years. That means the buck stops at Julie’s desk for the energy consumption of over 400 buildings on campus. Yale has a pretty sophisticated approach to energy, including the Yale Facilities Energy Explorer, an energy dashboard system that shows energy consumption and details for every one of those 400 Yale buildings.

The Buy-in Problem

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

Last week I read a nice little article by Steve Baczek about getting buy-in from the various stakeholders involved with building a home. He's an architect who works closely with the people who build the homes he designs. He's also a former U.S. Marine who understands the importance of what he calls "a ladder of leadership and responsibility."

Flatrock Passive: Insulation and an Air Barrier

Posted on December 19, 2017 by David Goodyear in Guest Blogs

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.

Solving Energy Poverty

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Bruce Sullivan in Guest Blogs

Finding ways to make housing affordable has troubled society for decades. Lack of affordable housing is linked to a host of social issues, including underemployment, drug abuse, domestic violence, and poor health.

Three Code-Approved Tricks for Reducing Insulation Thickness

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

How much insulation should you install in a ceiling or a roof? When the question comes up on GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com, I usually advise builders to install at least as much insulation as is required in the prescriptive table found in the International Residential Code (IRCInternational Residential Code. The one- and two-family dwelling model building code copyrighted by the International Code Council. The IRC is meant to be a stand-alone code compatible with the three national building codes—the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) National code, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) code and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) code.) or the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC International Energy Conservation Code.).

This prescriptive table is known as Table N1102.1.1 in the IRC (see Image #2 at the bottom of the page). In the IECC, the identical table is known as Table R402.1.2 (Image #3).

U.S. Onshore Wind: Building on a Strong 2016

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Anonymous in Guest Blogs

Note: This is part one of a series of blogs highlighting recent progress in onshore and offshore wind energy, as well as discussing some of the continued opportunities, challenges and threats the industry faces in the near term. The series was originally published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Exterior Insulation on 2x4 Walls Versus 2x6 Walls With Cavity Insulation Only

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

UPDATED on December 18, 2017 with a corrected energy savings table.

If you live in the world of 2x4 walls, as I do, you may have wondered about the savings you'd get by going to a more robust wall assembly. The typical house in southern climes has 2x4 walls with R-13 insulation in the cavities. The two ways to beef that up would be to add continuous exterior insulation or to go to a thicker wall. But which saves more energy? And how do they compare to the plain old 2x4 wall?

Why Do People Invest in Home Energy Upgrades?

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Reuven Sussman in Guest Blogs

This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog.

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