The most recent blogs at Green Building Advisor

Newspapers Trumpeted ‘Solar Homes’ in the 1940s

Posted on March 30, 2018 by Martin Holladay in Musings of an Energy Nerd

What’s a “solar house”? The phrase has been used since the 1940s to refer to a house with lots of south-facing glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill. — a type of house later called a “passive solar house.” The phrase is also used to refer to homes that include an active solar thermal system (one with collectors on the roof, along with pumps or fans). Finally, the phrase has recently been applied to homes with a photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) array on the roof.

The Global Boom to Come in New Housing

Posted on March 29, 2018 by Sean Smith in Green Building Blog

By the end of this century, the world’s population will have increased by half — that’s another 3.6 billion people. According to the UN, the global population is set to reach over 11.2 billion by the year 2100, up from the current population, which was estimated at the end of 2017 to be 7.6 billion. And that is considered to be “medium growth.”

Converting Heating and Cooling Loads to Air Flow Needs

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD in Building Science

When you embark on the project of educating yourself about building science, one of the first things you encounter is the concept of heating and cooling loads. Every building has them. (Yes, even Passive House projects.) That's why we do heating and cooling load calculations. We enter all the details of the building, set the design conditions, and get the heating and cooling loads for each room in the building.

Greenwashed Timber: How Sustainable Forest Certification Has Failed

Posted on March 27, 2018 by Richard Conniff in Guest Blogs

This post first appeared at Yale Environment 360.

An Off-Grid Affordable Housing Project

Posted on March 26, 2018 by Carl Seville in Green Building Curmudgeon

At SK Collaborative, my green building certification and consulting business, we certify projects through LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. , National Green Building StandardNational Green Building Standard Based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and passed through ANSI. This standard can be applied to both new homes, remodeling projects, and additions. , EarthCraft, Green Globes, and Enterprise Green Communities. Our work is primarily multifamily — both affordable housing and market-rate projects — as well as market-rate single-family homes. Most of our projects are standard low- and mid-rise apartment buildings of the type that are popping up everywhere.

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°.

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