Green Building Blog

Job-Site Recycling: PVC

Posted on August 25, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Few building materials have caused more of a ruckus than polyvinyl chloride.

PVC is a light, durable and versatile plastic. Formed into a variety of building materials, it requires virtually no maintenance, and it never needs painting. These attributes make it seemingly ideal for door and window frames, pipe, floor tile, wall coverings, siding, and many other products.

Blog Review: NB Superinsulated House

Posted on August 16, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Richard Lachance, an architect, spent 22 years working in the Missouri state park system before relocating to Cocagne, New Brunswick. He now researches “the transition to a new economy,” including the role of energy-efficient housing design.

Cocagne is a small community at the mouth of the Cocagne River in this Canadian Martime province. Across the Northumberland Straight is Prince Edward Island. Given its location and sometimes harsh weather, LaChance’s interest in superinsulated house design makes sense.

Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 1

Posted on August 10, 2011 by Michael Chandler, GBA Advisor

The invitation was too cool to be real: My name was somehow on a list of “experts” who were invited to take part in a Building America Water Heater Expert Session on combo systems. The invite noted that the session was to be the day before Joe Lstiburek’s Building Science Summer Camp, and “it is expected that the information obtained will lend itself toward the eventual production of a guide for the best practice application of combination space and domestic water heating systems for new and retrofit residential construction.”

Job-Site Recycling: Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Posted on August 9, 2011 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED 8/16/2011

Asphalt shingles are the roofing of choice for a majority of U.S. homes. And each year, in the process of manufacturing, installing and eventually replacing them, the construction industry produces an estimated 11 million tons of shingle waste.

That’s roughly the capacity of a quarter-million fully laden tractor-trailers, which when lined up end to end would stretch from New York to Los Angeles.

Blog Review: Vermont Architect Robert Swinburne

Posted on August 2, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Robert Swinburne’s interest in building started early. By the time he was 10 or so, as he explains at his blog, Vermont Architect Robert Swinburne he had built not only a rabbit hutch with its own poop removal system but a small cabin as well.

A few years later, he put up a 12-ft. by 16-ft. structure where he lived during the summer all the way through college.

All of this was taking place at his parents’ place in rural Maine, where his father had built a house and barn in the 1970s.

Official Summer Camp Program

Posted on July 28, 2011 by Daniel Morrison

I look forward to this each summer -- my official summer camp confirmation!

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for registering for the Fifteenth Annual Westford Symposium on Building Science. For your reference, please see the details below including the agenda. We look forward to seeing you next week.

--Joseph Lstiburek
Camp Councilor

Course Dates and Location
Monday, August 1 through Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at the Westford Regency inn and Conference Center.

Course Details

Job-Site Recycling: Gypsum Wallboard

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED 6/21/2012

Everyone knows the environmental benefits of recycling. Turning landfill-clogging debris into useful products is fundamental to green building. Yet recycling construction-site waste is a lot more complicated than recycling household trash.

The construction industry produces a lot of waste: 325 million tons every year, according to the Construction Materials Recycling Association, an industry trade group.

Blog Review: The Art of Construction

Posted on July 7, 2011 by Scott Gibson

You’ll have to do a bit of sleuthing if you want any background information on the author of "The Art of Construction.” There’s no handy “contact” link on the home page, no “history” page, no photo. Not even a name, just “posted by RR” at the bottom of the entries.

So I started at the beginning, with the first two posts written by Richard Reilly in August 2008.

Blog Review: The Green Spotlight

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Miriam Landman describes herself as a writer, accredited LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. professional, former reporter/producer for public radio’s Living on Earth, and the founder of M. Landman Communications & Consulting.

She also has written Green Homes case studies for, including one about a home made of composite ICFs, and another about a California renovation.

Blog Review: Tim Eian

Posted on June 15, 2011 by Scott Gibson

Tim Delhey Eian is a German-trained architect and Master Carpenter whose Minneapolis firm, TE Studio, specializes in 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. design. His blog, Tim Eian is, unsurprisingly, about all things Passivhaus.

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