Monthly Archives: September 2017

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    Henry Gifford Publishes a Book

    Posted on September 29, 2017 by in book review, Building Science, Henry Gifford
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    In <em>Buildings Don’t Lie</em>, Gifford explains how to read the clues provided by building stains

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    Henry Gifford is a plumber with a New York accent, working-class roots, and deep erudition. He’s also a well-known designer of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

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    The World Is Facing a Sand Crisis

    Posted on September 28, 2017 by in aggregate, concrete, construction, road, sand
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    The impacts of extracting construction minerals such as sand and gravel to create roads and buildings have been overlooked

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

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    To Prove a Point, Melt Some Ice

    Posted on September 28, 2017 by in passive house, Passivhaus, superinsulation, thermal envelope
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    A second ‘Ice Box Challenge’ aims to show the advantages of building to the Passive House standard

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    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. advocates in the Pacific Northwest have organized an unusual public demonstration aimed at proving just how much energy can be saved with superinsulation and airtight design, a contest not unlike a county fair come-on where visitors are asked to guess how many pebbles will fit into a one-gallon jar.

    Only in this case it’s how much of an original ton of ice will be left after sitting inside an unrefrigerated building in the middle of summer for several weeks.

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    Utilities Grapple with Rooftop Solar and the New Energy Landscape

    Posted on September 27, 2017 by in distributed solar, photovoltaic, renewable energy, rooftop solar
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    The U.S. rooftop solar industry is often portrayed as the victim in a struggle with fossil-fuel-friendly utilities — but the reality is more complex

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    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.

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    Are Hazardous Vapors Seeping Into Your Basement?

    Posted on September 26, 2017 by in chemical pollution, IAQ, indoor air quality, radon, TCE, trichloroethylene
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    The movement of underground contaminants into buildings is attracting increased scrutiny from health experts

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    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.

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    Solar Ruling Prompts Industry Jitters

    Posted on September 26, 2017 by in PV module, rooftop PV, solar panel, tariff, trade conflict

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    Installers of photovoltaic systems worry about job losses and price spikes as tariff case makes its way to the Oval Office

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    Urban Rustic: A Light Down Below

    Posted on September 25, 2017 by in basement, passive house, window well

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    Window wells bring lots of light into the basement

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    Editor’s note: This post is one of a series…

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    Worrisome Chemicals Lurk Even In Green Buildings

    Posted on September 22, 2017 by in chemical pollution, indoor air quality

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    A study of renovated housing units in Boston finds a long list of chemicals that can be traced to both building materials and occupants

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    GBA Prime Sneak Peek: Bathroom Design

    Posted on September 22, 2017 by in bathroom design, bathtub, toilet, tub/shower unit, ventilation
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    Principles to keep in mind when designing your next bathroom

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    GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Prime subscribers have access to many articles that aren’t accessible to non-subscribers, including Martin Holladay’s weekly blog series, “Musings of an Energy Nerd.” To whet the appetite of non-subscribers, we occasionally offer non-subscribers access to a “GBA Prime Sneak Peek” article like this one.

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    Bathroom Design

    Posted on September 22, 2017 by in bathroom design, bathtub, toilet, tub/shower unit, ventilation
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    Subtitle: 
    Principles to keep in mind when designing your next bathroom

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    Americans who grew up in the 1950s or early 60s (that includes me) remember living in a house with one bathroom. There was usually someone standing outside the door yelling, “Hurry up!”

    These days, most Americans live in (or aspire to live in) a house with two or more bathrooms. My guess is that we’re never going to return to the bathroom standards of the 1950s; two-bathroom houses are probably here to stay.

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