The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Marc Rosenbaum’s Monitoring Results

Posted on March 23, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

At a recent conference in Burlington, Vermont, energy consultant Marc Rosenbaum shared insights that he’s gleaned from several energy monitoring projects. His presentation on February 7, 2018, was part of Better Buildings By Design, a conference sponsored by Efficiency Vermont.

Rosenbaum believes that energy retrofit specialists should regularly measure energy use. “We’re practitioners,” Rosenbaum told the Burlington audience. “Most of the time we try to get it right, and when we don’t we want to know why. So we grind through it. We try it again and test it.”

Wingnut Real-World Testing of Basement Waterproofing

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Peter Yost in Building Science

Back in May 2017 I wrote a blog about negative side waterproofing (NSW). But I was still feeling troubled. The standardized test for NSW from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Standard Test Method for Water Permeability of Concrete”) is frankly really complicated; the schematic seems impossible to decipher (see the Image #1 at the right). Instead of using this test, could we do a real-world, Wingnut-style test for negative-side waterproofing?

Agricultural Urbanism in Ecuador

Posted on March 21, 2018 by Fernando Pages Ruiz in Guest Blogs

The first thing that strikes you about the prominent billboard, when you make the turn onto Via a la Costa — the highway to the coast — that takes you from Guayaquil, Ecuador, to the beach resort towns along the Pacific shoreline of Ecuador, is the price: $29,500, all in, for a brand-new home.

Next, you puzzle the name of the development, Agro Vivienda, or “Agro-Habitat”: what does that mean?

An Introduction to Frugal Happy

Posted on March 20, 2018 by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee in Green Building Blog

Editor's Note: This post is the first in a series by Chris Stratton and Wen Lee, a husband-and-wife team living in the Los Angeles area who are turning their suburban house into an all-electric, zero-net energy home. They chronicle their attempts at a low-carbon, low-cost, and joyful lifestyle on their blog Frugal Happy. This post was written by Chris.

Can a MiniSplit Live Happily in the Attic?

Posted on March 19, 2018 by Scott Gibson in Q&A Spotlight

A GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader named Inverter0815 lives in a two-story colonial in New Jersey that's hard to keep comfortable in summer. In order to get the three upstairs bedrooms down to a relatively comfortable 75° in July and August, Inverter must set the thermostat on his single-zone 2 1/2-ton air conditioner to 67°.

Preventing Frost Buildup in HRVs and ERVs

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

Manufacturers of heat-recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy-recovery ventilators (ERVs) know that HRV or ERVEnergy-recovery ventilator. The part of a balanced ventilation system that captures water vapor and heat from one airstream to condition another. In cold climates, water vapor captured from the outgoing airstream by ERVs can humidify incoming air. In hot-humid climates, ERVs can help maintain (but not reduce) the interior relative humidity as outside air is conditioned by the ERV. cores can get clogged with ice in cold temperatures. During the winter, this type of appliance brings cold outdoor air in close proximity to a stream of humid indoor air. If the outgoing air is humid enough, and the incoming air is cold enough, the moisture in the exhaust air stream can turn to ice.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Ana Baptista in Guest Blogs

U.S. cities have been burning municipal solid waste since the 1880s. For the first century, it was a way to get rid of trash. Today, advocates have rebranded it as an environmentally friendly energy source.

Most incinerators operating today use the heat from burning trash to produce steam that can generate electricity. These systems are sometimes referred to as “waste-to-energy” plants.

Is a Ventless Fireplace More Efficient Than a Condensing Furnace?

Posted on March 14, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

One of the primary benefits of a ventless gas fireplace is that you don't lose any heat up the flue. That's because there isn't a flue, of course. (The potential problems with indoor air quality, however, outweigh any benefits, so don't run out and buy one just yet. Or ever.) That ought to make it a winner for heating efficiency in comparison to any vented heating appliance, such as furnace or boiler. Even the highest efficiency condensing furnaces still lose some heat in the exhaust gases that go up the flue.

What Is a Green Home Worth?

Posted on March 13, 2018 by Parlin Meyer in Guest Blogs

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in Green & Healthy Homes Maine and is reprinted here with permission.

Flatrock Passive: Air Sealing the Penetrations

Posted on March 12, 2018 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.

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