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GreenSpec Insights

Hurricane in a Bottle: Testing Building Assemblies for Moisture Resistance

Posted by Alex Wilson on 06/04/2014

State-of-the-art testing chambers show that liquid-applied barriers outperform more typical weather barriers comprised of flashing, tape, and membranes.

When I was in Portland, Oregon for the 2014 Living Future Conference I had an opportunity to visit a facility in nearby Clackamas where building assemblies and components can be tested for water intrusion and water vapor penetration.

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Low-Tech Cooling with This High-Tech Fan

Posted by Alex Wilson on 05/14/2014

The sleek, energy-efficient Haiku fan from Big Ass Fans will help keep us comfortable in our new house this summer

As summer heats up here, I’m looking forward to trying out the high-tech ceiling fans we installed in our two upstairs bedrooms. First, let me explain why I like ceiling fans so much.

By moving air, moisture is evaporated from our skin, cooling us through evaporative cooling. With modest air movement in a room,...

GreenSpec Introduces Faster, Deeper Search

Posted by Tristan Roberts on 04/18/2014

BuildingGreen is bringing its members changes to the industry-leading GreenSpec tool, making it easier on the eyes and faster to find products.

On April 19, BuildingGreen, Inc. rolled out a new GreenSpec tool to its members that has a new design and makes it easier and faster to quickly find greenest-of-the-green products for your project.

Things you love that we didn’t change

GreenSpec will continue to be offered to BuildingGreen members as an integral part of our...

6 Ways Our Household is Saving Water—And Energy

Posted by Alex Wilson on 04/08/2014

Saving energy isn’t only about using less electricity and fuel; it’s about saving water.

In this weekly blog, I’ve focused a lot of attention on the energy-saving measures at our new home—from the innovative insulation materials we used to the air-source...

Urine Collection Beats Composting Toilets for Nutrient Recycling

Posted by Alex Wilson on 04/02/2014

Human urine collection and use provides a better way to recycle nutrients than use of composting toilets.

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy this blog over a cup of coffee here’s an article on…urine?

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Can This Man Reinvent Concrete?

Posted by Alex Wilson on 03/26/2014

A California company, Blue Planet, is reinventing concrete and envisions a world in which the 8 billion tons of concrete used each year sequester billions of tons of carbon dioxide.

I’ve been in the San Francisco ...

Our Green Home Cost a Lot, But Yours Doesn't Have To

Posted by Alex Wilson on 03/19/2014

Our house cost a lot more than I would have liked, but many of the ideas used in it could be implemented more affordably.

My wife and I tried out a lot of innovative systems and materials in the renovation/rebuild of our Dummerston, Vermont home—some of which added considerably to the project cost. Alas!

The induction cooktop that I...

Safe, All-Electric "Induction" Cooking: Try This At Home

Posted by Alex Wilson on 03/12/2014

Induction cooktops respond quickly, avoid gas combustion, are tops in energy efficiency, and limit risk of burns.

One of our early decisions in the planning for our farmhouse renovation/re-build was to avoid any fossil fuels. If the State of Vermont can have a goal to shift 90% of our energy consumption to renewable sources by 2050, we want be able to demonstrate 100% renewables for our house today.

That decision meant using...

Heat Pump Water Heaters in Cold Climates: Pros and Cons

Posted by Alex Wilson on 03/05/2014

While a heat-pump water heater will save significant energy on a year-round basis, be aware that in a cold climate the net performance (water heating plus space heating) will drop in the winter.

We chose a heat pump water heater for our new house, and as I've recently discussed here, there are a lot of reasons why you might be doing the...

Picking a Water Heater: Solar vs. Electric or Gas Is Just the Beginning

Posted by Alex Wilson on 02/26/2014

Why we opted for electric water heating over a solar water heater

As we build more energy-efficient houses, particularly when we go to extremes with insulation and air tightness, as with Passive House projects, water heating becomes a larger and larger share of overall energy consumption (see Solar Thermal Hot Water, Heating, and Cooling...

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Recent Discussions

posted by UNSWcw
on Jul 15, 2014

I have just built a house in Australia with an AAC floor. At 120lbs for 6ft by 2ft slabs, it is not lightweight. It is 3 inches thich with thin...

posted by andy.boutin
on Jun 25, 2014

Like Dutch's post above, I would like to reiterate the fact that there is another solution: Wood Pellet Boilers. These are systems that connect...

posted by Bill Swanson
on Jun 20, 2014

Be sure to read the warranty on any solar thermal products.