Green Homes News

Flatrock Passive: Firing Up the Heating System

Green Homes 2 - 15 hours 59 min ago
Subtitle:  A wood-fired gasification boiler is the centerpiece of this Passive House heating system Images: 

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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Categories: Green Homes

Where Can I Find Good Advice?

Green Homes 2 - Fri, 2018-06-15 05:16
Prime:  prime Subtitle:  A new book repeats discredited ideas on the best way to build an energy-efficient house Images: 

Donald Wulfinghoff is an energy consultant who works in Maryland. In 2015, he published Super House, a 700-page book that explains how an ordinary person without architectural training can design a superinsulated home that (he claims) will use only 10% to 20% as much energy for heating and cooling as a conventional home.

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Categories: Green Homes

Energy Demand for Space Cooling Surges

Green Homes 2 - Fri, 2018-06-15 03:47
Subtitle:  At current growth rates, the amount of electricity used by air conditioners and fans will more than triple by 2050 Images: 

Today, most of the world's air conditioners are concentrated in a handful of affluent countries, but a sharp increase in demand will triple the amount of energy used for space cooling by 2050 and require new generating capacity equal to what's produced in the U.S., Japan, and the European Union today.

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A Vision of the Future Takes Shape in Paris

Green Homes 2 - Thu, 2018-06-14 04:29
Subtitle:  Paris is building the eco-community of the future right now Images: 

Every so often an environmentally friendly building gives us a glimpse of the low-carbon future so many climate plans envision. With the development of Clichy-Batignolles, the city of Paris has created a groundbreaking eco-village filled with such buildings. Begun in 2002, the massive redevelopment project is about 30% complete and is slated to be finished in 2020.

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Categories: Green Homes

Simple Steps to Improve Air Conditioner Performance

Green Homes 2 - Wed, 2018-06-13 05:09
Prime:  prime Subtitle:  If your air conditioner struggles to keep up in the heat, these measures can help Images: 

It's getting hot out there. Here in the Southeast, we love our air conditioning.  In fact, without air conditioning, far fewer people would live in places like Houston, Hattiesburg, and Sopchoppy. And that's true for the hot, dry places, too, like Phoenix, El Paso, and Boron.

So if we're going to have air conditioning in our homes, we want it to work.  It should be effective and efficient.  It should keep us cool without creating new problems, such as excessive noise, bad indoor air quality, or comfort that varies from room to room.

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Categories: Green Homes

Researchers Develop New ‘Super Window’

Green Homes 2 - Wed, 2018-06-13 03:04
Subtitle:  The flatscreen TV industry advances thin glass technology, making a new type of window possible Images: 

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have developed a new type of triple 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. for windows that is about the same thickness and weight as a standard low-eLow-emissivity coating. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Low-e coatings boost a window’s R-value and reduce its U-factor. double-glazed window but comes with twice the insulating value.

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Categories: Green Homes

Saving Sustainably: Designing and Installing a Septic System

Green Homes 2 - Tue, 2018-06-12 05:11
Subtitle:  Septic systems are not overly complicated, but the details have to be right Images: 

Editor's note: This is one in a series of blogs detailing the construction of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. house in Point Roberts, Washington, by an owner/builder with relatively little building experience. You'll find Matt Bath's full blog, Saving Sustainably, here. If you want to follow project costs, you can keep an eye on a budget worksheet here.

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Categories: Green Homes

Designing a High-Performance Wall in Wildfire Country

Green Homes 2 - Mon, 2018-06-11 05:16
Subtitle:  This owner-builder wants walls with a high R-value that address the region’s high risk of fire Images: 

Will Welch has chosen to build his high-performance house in Nederland, Colorado. The site is at the border of Climate Zones 6 and 7, and it poses some challenges: it's at an elevation of 8,600 feet; the area gets a generous amount of snow and wind; and the number of heating degree days tops 8,800 a year.

But Welch has one more concern: the threat of wildfires.

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Categories: Green Homes

A Glimmer of Hope for Connecticut Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations

Green Homes 2 - Fri, 2018-06-08 06:24
Subtitle:  U.S. Housing Secretary tours a home with a failing foundation and expresses support for federal financial assistance Images: 

Thousands of Connecticut residents whose homes are threatened by failing concrete foundations got some encouragement this week with the visit of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who expressed hope that federal assistance might be possible.

As many as 34,000 homes in eastern and north central Connecticut could be at risk because aggregate used in the concrete contained a pyrrhotite, a mineral that in time causes the concrete to crack and degrade. Homeowners face bills of as much as $200,000 to repair the damage, and until now help has been slow in coming.

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Categories: Green Homes

Growing Marijuana Indoors is an Environmental Disaster

Green Homes 2 - Fri, 2018-06-08 05:04
Prime:  prime Subtitle:  State regulators are ill-prepared for the booming cannabis industry Images: 

Many Americans live in areas of the country where the local utility sponsors energy efficiency programs — for example, one that offers homeowners free energy audits. In addition to offering this type of residential efficiency program, many utilities have also developed energy efficiency programs to help commercial customers, including retailers and manufacturers.

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Categories: Green Homes

California’s Solar Panel Edict

Green Homes 2 - Thu, 2018-06-07 04:56
Subtitle:  Why California’s new rooftop mandate isn’t good enough for some solar power enthusiasts Images: 

More California rooftops will soon sport solar panels, partly due to a new state mandate requiring them for all new houses and low-rise residential buildings by 2020.

This rule immediately sparked lively debates. Even experts who generally advocate for solar energy expressed skepticism that it was actually a good idea.

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Categories: Green Homes

Urban Rustic: Installing an Airtight Attic Hatch

Green Homes 2 - Wed, 2018-06-06 04:43
Subtitle:  The right product and careful installation preserve the air barrier and save energy Images: 

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. A list of Eric's previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric's blog, Kimchi & Kraut.

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Categories: Green Homes

Where Water Is Scarce, Communities Turn to Wastewater

Green Homes 2 - Tue, 2018-06-05 05:19
Subtitle:  As the era of dam building winds down, some regions turn to local and less expensive methods to deliver drinking water Images: 

This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360.

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Categories: Green Homes

Twice-Flooded City Ponders Another Rebuild

Green Homes 2 - Tue, 2018-06-05 03:58
Subtitle:  In Ellicott City, Maryland, some business owners wonder if they will reopen at all Images: 

Last month's flooding of the historic downtown in Ellicott City, Maryland, sent a torrent of brown water down Main Street, erasing millions of dollars in reconstruction carried out after a similar incident just two years ago.

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Categories: Green Homes

Frugal Happy: Demolition

Green Homes 2 - Mon, 2018-06-04 05:34
Subtitle:  Before any new work can begin, the old must come out Images: 

Editor's Note: This post is one of 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.

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Categories: Green Homes

What Windows Should I Buy?

Green Homes 2 - Fri, 2018-06-01 05:19
Prime:  prime Subtitle:  Designers and builders talk about their favorite window brands Images: 

Readers often post a simple question on our Q&A page: “What brand of window should I buy?” For an editor, it’s an exasperating question, because it’s unanswerable. The answer depends on a host of factors, including the buyer’s geographical location, performance expectations, budget, and personal sense of aesthetics.

Rather than attempting to answer the question, I decided to interview fourteen designers and builders of high-performance homes. I asked them, “What brand of window did you specify on recent high-performance projects — and why?”

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Categories: Green Homes

Denver Is Revising Its Green Roof Rules

Green Homes 2 - Thu, 2018-05-31 05:49
Subtitle:  A task force recommends more flexibility and lower costs in the voter-approved initiative Images: 

A sweeping plan passed by Denver voters last fall to require green roofs on large buildings is headed for a rewrite.

The Denver Post reports that a task force representing a variety of city interests has proposed a number of changes in the citizen initiative that would allow more flexibility and lower costs.

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Categories: Green Homes

Is Bigger Really Better?

Green Homes 2 - Thu, 2018-05-31 05:16
Subtitle:  American homes are growing ever larger. Is that upward mobility or increased isolation? Images: 

The United States is facing a housing crisis: Affordable housing is inadequate, while luxury homes abound. Homelessness remains a persistent problem in many areas of the country.

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Categories: Green Homes

Realizing the Net-Zero Opportunity

Green Homes 2 - Wed, 2018-05-30 05:06
Subtitle:  Social equity and affordability are key elements for long-term success Images: 

Think of a net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. (NZE) home, and it’s likely that you imagine a single-family house in a well-to-do neighborhood, with a roof covered in solar panels and an electric car parked in the driveway. This is a pleasant picture, but it highlights two underlying assumptions many of us have: that NZE homes are available only to the wealthy, and that new-build, single-family homes in nonurban settings are best suited for NZE.

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Categories: Green Homes

Building Errors Were Behind Grenfell Tragedy

Green Homes 2 - Tue, 2018-05-29 05:52
Subtitle:  A variety of missteps during a London retrofit turned a safe building into a tinderbox Images: 

Botched details in a two-year refurbishment of a London high-rise turned what had been a safe concrete tower into a "tinderbox" that contributed to the deaths of 72 tenants, a British newspaper reports.

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