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Help Make Insulation Safer

By   4 years ago

      Dear Green Building Enthusiasts, My dedicated friends and associates at the Safer Insulation Solution have forwarded the plea for support below. Please do what you can to help move this important initiative forward! We all want energy efficient buildings that are also fire safe and healthy for people and the environment. The […]

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Your Gadgets Are Killing . . . Part 2

By   4 years ago

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that our gadgets and their chargers now use up more electricity, in USA homes, than heating and cooling! Alex Stadtner weighs in from another angle, presenting evidence — a lot of evidence — that they may also be harming us with the electromagnetic fields they generate. Those fields surround […]

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Your Gadgets Are Killing Home Efficiency Improvements

By   4 years ago

We are building tighter, more efficient homes — but using more juice keeping all the lights and devices charged and humming. Stephen Lacey spells this out in Greentech Media: Your Gadgets Are Killing Home Efficiency Improvements : Greentech Media.

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a new view of concrete

By   4 years ago

Concrete is by far the most common material used by humankind for anything, excepting only water. And it gets villified in green building for its carbon footprint. But there’s more to the story. Here’s a longer view of how we make the artificial rock called “concrete”. 21st Century Concrete — a New Look

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Towards A Hemp Architecture

By   4 years ago

One of the most promising natural building technologies — “natural” meaning minimally processed, low energy intensive materials — is hemcrete, a mixture of chopped hemp hurds and lime plaster. It can be pressed into blocks, or stuffed or sprayed into wall cavities, and provides excellent thermal insulation, thermal mass, and moisture durability. Check out this […]

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In the market for fridge+baby monitor?

By   4 years ago

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was reportedly chock-a-block, as always, with the latest and greatest (??) gadgets and gizmos. We spend a lot of time in our zero net energy classes talking about the rising significance of these devices (a.k.a. plug loads) in otherwise-efficient homes. The notion of combining functionality is admirable, and for years […]

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Why Plastic Foam Insulation Is Like a Twinkie

By   4 years ago

Foam insulation in its many forms has grown wildly popular, and for good reason. As sprayed foam or as rigid board, it makes it easy to insulate very effectively in all sorts of places that used to be hard or impossible to insulate, such as basements, flat roofs, and the outsides of walls. With plastic […]

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Solar Thermal is Dead (or fairly deadish)

By   4 years ago

Warming water directly in a solar array for space heating or domestic hot water is simple enough in concept. But rarely your best option when compared to photovoltaic arrays and electric support for air-source heat pumps. Martin Holladay spells out the pros and cons in GreenBuildingAdvisor

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Insulating Stud Cavities in Existing Homes

By   4 years ago

If we can improve the energy efficiency of our homes, then everyone will benefit — society, the utilities, the homeowner, and the children on the floor who can be snug and warm instead of chilly. Erik North weighs the different options in Green Building Advisor

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Building Product Transparency

By   4 years ago

Kudos to Penny Bonda and the Healthy Building Network for taking on Big Chem at Greenbuild … on camera! If those chemicals are safe, what’s to hide?! Read more here.

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    Resources View All →

    Air Sealing Doesn’t Just Happen

    By   4 years ago

    One of the biggest challenges in a high-performance building project is getting the air sealing right … and it doesn’t JUST HAPPEN. It has to be carefully designed and detailed in the construction documents. A number of architecture firms are doing a very good job at this, one outstanding example being Coldham & Hartman Architects […]

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    Virtual Net Metering for Multifamily Solar-Electric Systems

    By   4 years ago

    A couple of years back, frustrated by obstacles encountered to installing a large photovoltaic (PV) system at the Solara community, multifamily housing energy guru Nehemiah Stone (now with Benningfield Group) spearheaded a lobbying and education effort by a stakeholder coalition that resulted in the California state government enabling “virtual net metering.”  This is a mechanism […]

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    Net Zero & Net Zero Ready Certification from Earth Advantage

    By   4 years ago

    Earth Advantage Institute Offers First Energy Model-Based Net Zero & Net Zero Ready Certification in the U.S. Earth Advantage Institute, a Portland, OR-based nonprofit focused on designing tools for better buildings, announces that it has launched the first energy model-based net zero and net zero ready green home certifications in the country. This distinguishes it […]

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    WalkScore Your Neighborhood

    By   4 years ago

    Gotta love WalkScore! This website has been around for a while, but keeps adding new features. Enter any address and get its pedestrian-friendliness rating. My neighborhood? “Car-dependent.” Now I can agree or disagree with this rating, Tweet it, post on Facebook, etc. Better still, I get a list of amenities in the area. Another feature […]

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    Your Gadgets Are Killing . . . Part 2

    By   4 years ago

    Yesterday I wrote about the fact that our gadgets and their chargers now use up more electricity, in USA homes, than heating and cooling! Alex Stadtner weighs in from another angle, presenting evidence — a lot of evidence — that they may also be harming us with the electromagnetic fields they generate. Those fields surround […]

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    Resilience: the best technology is not technology

    By   4 years ago

    Climate disruption. Floods, drought, fire and hurricane. Peak oil. Peak everything. There are massive, unprecedented changes under way around us, giving new meaning to the notion of “home” and “shelter”. Scientific consensus not only confirms that anthropogenic climate change is happening, but also that it’s too late to halt it. Even if we stopped emitting […]

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    New Net-Zero Buildings Magazine

    By   4 years ago

    Announced at Greenbuild, “NZB – Net Zero Buildings magazine exists to help architects, building owners and contractors come to terms with the zero-energy paradigm by offering practical applications, protocols, strategies and product offerings that assist in successful project results.” According to Tim Shea (Managing Partner, Construction Business Media, LLC — which also publishes Architectural Products) […]

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    Building America Solution Center Launched

    Building America Solution Center

    By   4 years ago

    The U.S. DOE recently launched the Building America Solution Center, a rich online resource repository that “provides residential building professionals with access to expert information on hundreds of high-performance design and construction topics, including air sealing and insulation, HVAC components, windows, indoor air quality, and much more. Offerings include: Contracting documents and specifications Installation guidance […]

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    Building Organizational Capacity to Deliver Higher-performing Homes

    By   4 years ago

    Some of you have heard me talk about the fact that in order to deliver higher-performing homes, we need to focus on what our organizations need to do, not what the buildings need to be or do. If we get the organizational work right, the building performance will follow. I recently had the opportunity to […]

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    BEopt Update: 2.0 Beta 2 Just Released

    By   4 years ago

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has just announced that the second Beta release of BEopt Version 2.0 is now available. More information available at http://beopt.nrel.gov. From NREL’s e-blast: This is a major rewrite of the BEopt software platform to enable improved functionality. This beta release is for purposes of testing and evaluation — we […]

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      AIBD California Society 2014 Annual Conference Focuses on Building Science

      By   3 years ago

      AIBD California Society 2014 Annual Conference, April 2nd – 4th Enough for today about past events — this one is still on the horizon. Next week, in fact! In San Bruno, about 2 miles from where I sit as the crow flies, Skyline College’s Solar and Building Science department will be hosting the California Society […]

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      PH2: PHenomenal Passive House CA’s “Building Carbon Zero California”

      By   3 years ago

        Campers, this has been an extremely busy week or so for Northern California greenies, and it’s got me on a “squared” jag (see last post on BW2) … Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in Passive House California’s “Building Carbon Zero California” at the delightful Cocoanut Grove Ballroom in rockin’ Santa Cruz. This […]

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      BW2: Brilliant Weekend @ BuildWell 2014

      BuildWell 2014 Innovative Materials for a Greener Planet

      By   3 years ago

      120 green building leaders and innovators in the built environment gathered last weekend at BuildWell 2014 in Sausalito, CA. Kudos to Ecological Building Network‘s Bruce King, co-producer Sarah King, and their dedicated band of volunteers for producing a brilliant event. The speaker line-up included keynotes from Architecture 2030‘s Ed Mazria, science wiz John Warner from […]

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      World SB14 Barcelona Conference, Oct. 28-30, 2014

      World SB14 Barcelona

      By   3 years ago

      The World SB[Sustainable Building]14 Barcelona Conference has announced the opening of the call for papers; SB Challenge 2014; and the Universities Competition, “Powering Transformation.” Please visit http://www.wsb14barcelona.org/ for full details. HouseTalk’s Ann Edminster will be serving on the conference’s Scientific Committee.

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      ZNE Home Retrofitting Classes in San Diego

      Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet

      By   4 years ago

      San Diego Gas & Electric will be hosting our 4-part class series on retrofitting existing homes to achieve deep energy reductions while targeting zero net energy. Here’s the schedule: May 9: Overview – yours truly (Ann Edminster) May 23: Mechanical Systems – Rick Chitwood May 30: Enclosure – Rick Chitwood + Gavin Healy June 6: […]

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      Habitat X 2013 Summer National Conference

      By   4 years ago

      Come Join us at Habitat X Tuesday, July 30, through Friday, August 2, 2013 Just for HouseTalk readers, Super Early Bird registration has been extended until April 22nd. Trainer-par-excellence Chris Dorsi writes: The most common comment I hear from people who have attended the Habitat X Conferences is that the solid network of colleagues is the most […]

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      Net-Zero Energy Summit, October 8-10, 2013

      By   4 years ago

      It is with great excitement that I announce, on behalf of the Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition, that we are hosting the inaugural Net-Zero North American Leadership Summit this October in Irvine, California! Thanks to our early sponsors, US DOE and Southern California Edison, for their participation. The Summit is being held in conjunction with the […]

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      Can Home Energy Efficiency Gain Traction?

      By   4 years ago

      Unfortunately, it’s just not simple to make our homes more efficient, both personally and as a society. Katherine Tweed reports in GreenTech Media Can Home Energy Efficiency Gain Traction? : Greentech Media.

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      This Army Camp Can Cut Soldier Energy Use by 75% : Greentech Media

      By   4 years ago

      We often think of the military as a stodgy, tradition-bound organization — not a thought leader. But very often they prove out the old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention”, as when they find themselves the biggest consumer of energy on Earth. Here’s one example of how they make skillful use of available clean […]

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      Reuse & Salvage April Events

      By   4 years ago

      There are two upcoming events next month for salvage and reuse enthusiasts — luckily, on one each coast. First, the Reclaim & Remake Symposium: April 11-13 in Washington, DC, hosted by the Catholic University of America. Second, DECON ’13: April 29 – May 1 in Seattle, WA, hosted by the Building Materials Reuse Association. Both […]

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        Projects View All →

        1180 Fourth Street — Gateway to Mission Bay South, SF

        1180 Fourth Street, San Francisco

        By   3 years ago

        1180 Fourth Street marks the corner of 4th and Channel Streets as a gateway to San Francisco’s newest neighborhood, Mission Bay South. This setting carries civic obligations unusual for an affordable housing project; it demands a welcoming, well-made and richly articulated building to set the standard for development to follow on the surrounding blocks. As […]

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        Ann’s Kitchen Remodel

        By   4 years ago

        I’m all for longevity of finishes and not junking serviceable things before they’re shot, but I think 27 years is long enough to put up with ugly, cracked, avocado tile with hideous dark (and eroded) grout seams PLUS an equally horrid avocado sink. So now they’re gone. Hurray! Replaced by a white farmhouse sink (Villeroy […]

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        Managing expectations: the 22½ rule

        By   4 years ago

        So, you think you’re going to beat the odds. You think you’re going to build that house or add that bedroom or remodel that kitchen for less than everyone else, because you’re smart, you’ve planned carefully, you got good advice, you were disciplined in choosing all that stuff you have to choose, all those fixtures […]

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        A Better Way of Building

        By   4 years ago

        For high-performance home enthusiasts, Green Home Builder magazine’s holiday issue includes “A Better Way of Building” (page 42) an article in which I offer some observations about what high-performance project teams can do to pave the way to more effective collaboration and improved project outcomes. Also see page 46 for a story on the ABC […]

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        “The Greenest Modern Home in the World”

        By   4 years ago

        When I was recently in Victoria, Canada, I had the pleasure of touring Ann and Gord Baird’s EcoSense home just outside of town. I was deeply impressed, as was Jason McLennan of the Living Building Challenge (and author of this blog’s title quote). Here are two lovely people who built their dream home — not […]

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        ZNE Home Retrofit in Los Angeles

        By   4 years ago

        The Green Idea House is one family’s project to affordably retrofit their house into a net zero energy, zero carbon case study. Says homeowner Robert Fortunato, “The building has surpassed all our net zero energy, zero carbon goals, is a joy to be in and won the 2012 Green Leadership Award for Los Angeles County, […]

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        a roll in the hay — a modern straw bale home

        By   4 years ago

        Straw bale buildings were first tried on the American plains 130 years ago, and have now spread all over the globe. Here’s a recent example from Dwell Magazine, featuring a Santa Cruz house by two of the best architects anywhere, David Arkin and Anni Tilt.

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        A Shipping Container House

        By   4 years ago

        Here’s a great example of “urban natural building” — I did the structural engineering for Leger Wanaselja Architects a few years ago to turn several retired shipping containers into a lovely home above the San Francisco Bay. This idea has legs!, and there are all sorts of similar buildings all over the world, upcycling a […]

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        3D Print Your Next House?

        By   4 years ago

        An old friend recently sent me this video about a 3D printer-generated house. How’s that for intriguing?! The idea was presented at a TEDx event in Ojai, by Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor from the University of Southern California. “Contour crafting,” he says, is basically a scaling up of 3D printing. He proposes this shelter solution […]

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        Model Green House in Los Angeles

        By   4 years ago

        a quick video tour from Ron Jones and GreenBuilder magazine: REEL Green Videos – GreenBuilder

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          Your Gadgets Are Killing Home Efficiency Improvements

          By   4 years ago

          We are building tighter, more efficient homes — but using more juice keeping all the lights and devices charged and humming. Stephen Lacey spells this out in Greentech Media: Your Gadgets Are Killing Home Efficiency Improvements : Greentech Media.

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          Build tight, ventilate right

          By   4 years ago

          You may have heard that before, but you can never hear it too often. Even here in warm,sunny California, just leaving the windows cracked is not a great strategy for the health of you or for your home. Here is a great post from my friend August Hasz in Colorado on the subject, lifted from […]

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          Mulling over mold . . .

          By   4 years ago

          If you live in a bowl of mold food– which most of us do — you’re smart to keep it dry. Joe Lstiburek published this article in Fine Homebuilding some years ago, but it’s still completely timely and useful.

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          We Need To Do It Different This Time

          By   4 years ago

          You can’t overinsulate, right? Well . . . Joseph Lstiburek (pronounced STEE-brek, in case you’re curious) of Building Science Corporation, and the Lady Gaga of Building Science worldwide, offers a few thoughts on the unintended consequences of super-insulation.

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          Bad concrete, good concrete, green concrete

          By   4 years ago

          Make low-carbon concrete by limiting the cement content — not just adding pozzolans. Concrete is artificial rock that you make by mixing sand, gravel and a binder. Modern building codes require that a large part of that binder be Portland cement, a really fantastic binder that comes at a very, very high carbon cost — […]

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          Why didn’t somebody TELL him?

          By   4 years ago

          As my colleague Ann Edminster likes to say, you don’t so much want “Integrative Design” as “Integrative Project Delivery”. This is one of several cabins I engineered for Siegel & Strain Architects for which we all wanted to use Optimum Value Framing. By carefully detailing each wall and opening, we could reduce lumber usage by […]

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          The problem with energy efficiency

          By   4 years ago

          We have more efficient refrigerators . . . but now keep two or three running. Like two steps forward and three steps back! Katherine Tweed in Greentech Media http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/is-cutting-energy-use-in-homes-possible/

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