18 June 2012

Green News: Green Building Edition

It's that time again, and this time we're focusing on one of my favorite subjects (and my "gateway drug" to other green topics): green building.

Seattle remodel yields 75% reduction in energy costs.
This house, built in 1924, recently underwent a major remodel. With improvements like new insulation and windows, a ductless heat pump, heat pump water heater, and home electricity monitoring, the 3,100 square foot home's energy use was reduced from 43,000 kWh per year (over 3,500 kWh/month) to 11,000 (about 900/month).

California mandates solar-ready roofs. The California Energy Commission has adopted new building energy-efficiency standards that take effect in 2014 and will require, among other things, roofs suitable for solar panels (i.e., without penetrations and not shaded by other parts of the structure).

How (and why) to properly size HVAC systems. This article explores why oversizing of HVAC systems is so common, why it's bad (primarily energy-efficiency and moisture control), and how today's building standards are helping to combat oversizing.

R-38 windows. Double- and triple-paned windows, with their insulation values in the low single digits, may someday be a thing of the past, as Superwindows is developing a window with 12 panes and the uber-insulating silica-based aerogel to minimize thermal bridging (heat traveling through the window frame).

Saving lumber by framing at 24" instead of 16" on center. It's well-known that this works for 2x6 framing, but this BuilderOnline article shows how they can be used with 2x4 framing as well.

Purdue University's award-winning green home. As I wrote about in this post last summer, the U.S. Department of Energy hosts a biennial contest that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design and build green houses. Purdue University's entry, called INhome, was just named Project of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders in the Single Family-Concept/Research-Academic category.


  1. "holy kerr app!" on R-38 windows. Affordable??? ...

    1. Well no, probably not. But these things have to start somewhere, right?

  2. Awesome that you are on this and getting the news out in understandable terms. Thank you. If energy were to cost what it would need to cost to be sustainable, carbon would not be competitive.