Guest Blogs

The State of Our Union

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Elizabeth DiSalvo

I started to write this as a commentary regarding Martin Holladay’s review of Jacob Rascusin’s new book, Essential Building Science. But in doing so I realized that the direction of Martin’s critique opens the door to issues that I think our community really needs to discuss. So, I worked a little harder at putting my thoughts into some sort of logical and comprehensive order. Of course these are only my opinion.

The bottom line of this realization is that, as a group, we may want to consider two goals:

Airport House: Energy Efficiency and Garage Space for an Airplane

Posted on February 9, 2017 by Reid Baldwin

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of guest blogs by Reid Baldwin about the construction of his house in Linden, Michigan.

How Renewable Energy Advocates Are Hurting the Climate Cause

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Paul McDivitt

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the proliferation of misinformation on social media is finally getting the attention it deserves. Or so I thought.

Toronto Passive: Walls, Roof, and an Elevator

Posted on February 6, 2017 by Lyndon Than

Editor's Note: Lyndon Than is a professional engineer and Certified 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. Consultant who took a year off from work to design and build a home with his wife Phi in North York, a district of Toronto, Ontario. A list of Lyndon's previous blogs at GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com appears below. For more, you can follow his blog, .

Canadian First Nation Gets Active About Passive Housing

Posted on February 2, 2017 by Katie Hyslop

Editor's note: is a community in British Columbia, Canada, of some 160 members. This post originally appeared at .

The 2018 Building Energy Code Holds the Line for Efficiency

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Anonymous

By LAUREN URBANEK

The newest building energy code, which will govern how much energy and money is saved by new home and commercial building owners, was recently approved by code officials — and by and large, they voted to uphold the great efficiency gains made in past code cycles.

New York Proposes New Rates for Distributed Energy

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Anonymous

By MILES FARMER and MARK LEBEL

How to Make Hydropower More Environmentally Friendly

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Anonymous

By MATT WEISER

Humanity got its first large-scale electricity thanks to hydropower. On August 26, 1895, water flowing over Niagara Falls was diverted to spin two generators, producing electricity to manufacture aluminum and carborundum. Since then, millions of dams have been built worldwide, transforming the energy of moving water into the energy of moving electrons. When we need it, the water spins magnets past a coil of copper wire to give us heat, light, and entertainment.

Wolfe Island Passive: Ready for Roofing

Posted on January 19, 2017 by David Murakami Wood

Editor's note: David and Kayo Murakami Wood are building what they hope will be Ontario's first certified 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. on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. They are documenting their work at their blog, . For a list of earlier posts in this series, see the sidebar below.

Getting to Zero Carbon in Menlo Park

Posted on January 17, 2017 by Anonymous

By DIANE BAILEY

What happens when a small Silicon Valley city flanked by Stanford University and Facebook headquarters sets its sights on a climate-neutral future? A zero carbon pathway and a fresh approach to the built environment emerge. But how?

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