Guest Blogs

Batteries Included

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Bronwyn Barry

Almost everyone has a story about receiving an awesome gift, only to find they couldn’t use it until hours later because the box lacked one essential item — the battery. Remember the frustration, and how easily that manufacturer could have made you happy if they weren’t so cheap?

Thirty Years After the Montreal Pact, Solving the Ozone Problem Remains Elusive

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Fred Pearce

Did the Montreal Protocol fix the ozone hole? It seemed so. With chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-eating chemicals banned, many scientists said it was only a matter of time before the ozone layer recharged, and the annual hole over Antarctica healed for good.

But 30 years on, some atmospheric chemists are not so sure. The healing is proving painfully slow. And new discoveries about chemicals not covered by the protocol are raising fears that full recovery could be postponed into the 22nd century — or possibly even prevented altogether.

Thinking Beyond Trump

Posted on September 12, 2017 by Anonymous

By JENNIFER MORRIS

Flooding Is More Than a Coastal Problem

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Nina Lam

Catastrophic flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey is the latest reminder that floods kill more people in the United States than any other type of natural disaster and are the most common natural disaster worldwide. Many communities along U.S. coastlines have begun to take heed and have slowed development in coastal flood zones. The bad news, as Harvey shows, is that inland communities are also at risk — and in some, development in flood zones is increasing.

FTC Settles Charges Over Deceptive ‘Zero VOC’ Claims

Posted on September 7, 2017 by Stuart Kaplow

Four paint companies have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they deceptively promoted products as containing zero volatile organic compounds (VOCsVolatile organic compound. An organic compound that evaporates readily into the atmosphere; as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are organic compounds that volatize and then become involved in photochemical smog production.) or as emission free, including during and immediately after application. Some promotions also made explicit safety claims.

Specifically, the alleges:

Promoting Green Infrastructure

Posted on September 5, 2017 by Anonymous

By THOMAS FISHER and MADELINE GOLDKAMP

Natural assets — — can provide communities with invaluable ecosystem services that clean our air, filter our water, mitigate natural disasters, and improve our quality of life.

Seeking Higher Ground

Posted on August 31, 2017 by Rob Moore

The Natural Resources Defense Council has released a groundbreaking report, , that takes a hard look at the plight of people whose homes are repeatedly flooded and the difficulties they face in acquiring assistance to move somewhere safer.

Carbon Capture Is Not Dead

Posted on August 30, 2017 by Anonymous

By DAVID HAWKINS and GEORGE PERIDAS

After almost seven years of design and construction work, and over $7 billion spent, the much-publicized Kemper County coal gasification power plant will now run on natural gas without capturing any carbon. Does this mean carbon capture and storage (CCS) for power plants is not ready for prime time?

Simple Techniques for Lowering the Cost of Zero-Energy Homes

Posted on August 29, 2017 by Bruce Sullivan

In an effort to find ways to make zero-energy homes more affordable, San Joaquin County Habitat for Humanity (SJC Habitat) went farther than most. Headquartered in Stockton, California, the non-profit organization found ways to make their zero-energy homes cost less to build than their standard, moderately energy-efficient homes.

Flatrock Passive: A Well Insulated Slab

Posted on August 28, 2017 by David Goodyear

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 .

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