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Green Building Advisor Blogs



Green home building news and views from experts in the field.



 



Planning for Backup Power in an All-Electric House

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 13:13:23 +0000

Subtitle: 
A homeowner in Kentucky eyes a solar array to keep his house running in the event of a power outage
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Writing from central Kentucky, Clay Whitenack poses this question: in an all-electric house, what's the best way of providing power when the grid is down?

Whitenack and his family live in a new house, a house that does not have a fireplace or a wood stove. "This leaves us vulnerable in the event of a power outage during a bad winter," he writes in a post at the Q&A forum. "We live in central Kentucky, so the winters here are usually not too bad, but we do have times when the temps get below freezing for extended periods of time."

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Media Files:
http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/sites/default/files/LongVersion_Electric_Auditing_Handout_2018edits.pdf




Using a Bath Fan to Equalize Room Temperatures

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:17:37 +0000

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prime
Subtitle: 
A little math clarifies why this approach usually doesn’t work
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On Green Building Advisor, readers regularly ask questions about room-to-room temperature imbalances — the type of imbalances that may occur when a home has a point-source heater like a ductless minisplit or a wood stove. Here’s a typical question: “I’d like to install a bathroom fan to move air from a warm room to a cool room. Will this approach be enough to equalize the temperatures between the two rooms?”

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Utility Proposes New Approach for Off-Peak Rates

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:24:50 +0000

Subtitle: 
Xcel Energy is pitching a pilot study to find out whether customers will change behavior to save money when they are automatically enrolled
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Xcel's proposal is an attempt to find out whether a time-of-day rate structure will be any more successful when customers are automatically enrolled rather than simply invited to participate.

According to a report posted at the Energy News Network, the utility had limited success when it offered a time-of-day rate plan for customers in Colorado.

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Americans Are Saving Energy by Staying at Home

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 12:05:10 +0000

Subtitle: 
Less travel and less time in buildings away from home ultimately lead to lower energy consumption
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By ASHOK SEKAR and ERIC WILLIAMS

Information and communication technologies are radically transforming modern lifestyles. They are redefining our concept of “space” by turning homes and coffee shops into workspaces. (This article was written in a coffee shop.) Instead of going to the theater, many people sit in the comfort of their homes and stream movies. Online purchasing of food, groceries, and consumer products has transformed shopping. Personal interactions, from the casual to the intimate, are increasingly virtual instead of face to face.

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Is R-8 Duct Insulation Enough?

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:06:15 +0000

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Subtitle: 
Code requirements are always a compromise between what’s best and what’s practical
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If you know a little building science, you've no doubt seen a lot of problems that occur with air distribution systems. Ducts just don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in most homes.

I've written about ducts quite a bit here and have shown problems resulting from poor design and installation. We all know how stupid some of those problems are. So today I'm going to talk about a problem that doesn't get nearly enough attention: duct insulation — even when the design and installation are perfect.

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Mass Timber Tower Planned in Newark

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:59:11 +0000

Subtitle: 
Developers say the building would be the largest of its kind in the U.S.

Mass timber construction seems to be picking up steam. Developers have announced plans for an 11-story mass timber building in Newark, New Jersey, that would house 500,000 square feet of office space and be nearly twice as big as similar timber structures in Chicago and Minneapolis.

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Can Mirrors Boost Solar Panel Output?

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:09:19 +0000

Subtitle: 
With panel costs headed higher because of a new tariff, reflectors might make a comeback
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Falling costs for solar power have ledLight-emitting diode. Illumination technology that produces light by running electrical current through a semiconductor diode. LED lamps are much longer lasting and much more energy efficient than incandescent lamps; unlike fluorescent lamps, LED lamps do not contain mercury and can be readily dimmed. to an explosive growth in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar use over the past decade. The levelized cost of solar electricity using imported solar panels — that is, the solar electricity cost measured over the life of the panels — has dropped so much that it is lower than electricity from competing sources such as coal in most of America.

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Integrating HRVs With Air Handlers

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:13:37 +0000

Subtitle: 
In homes with forced-air heating, the heating ducts can also be used for heat-recovery ventilation
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This is the second of two articles about heat-recovery and energy-recovery ventilators based on training developed by Bruce Manclark and Dan Wildenhaus of CLEAResult. Part 1, which covers equipment selection, is available here. This post originally appeared at the Zero Energy Project.

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Things You Do Not Need

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 12:19:22 +0000

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Subtitle: 
And a few things you do
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Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.

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Can a Tech Company Build a City? Ask Google

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 12:08:11 +0000

Subtitle: 
Sidewalk Toronto will become a 1,200-acre testing ground for new tech products
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By SARAH BARNS

Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation startup owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced a partnership with the City of Toronto to develop a new waterfront precinct. Time to ask Google: Can you build a city?

The Quayside precinct, dubbed “Sidewalk Toronto,” is to become a 500-hectare (1,236-acre) sandpit for testing a suite of new tech products. The aim is to radically reimagine the way a city is made. (Further reading: Creative City, Smart City … Whose City Is It?.)

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