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Formaldehyde-Based Foam Insulation Back from the Dead

Posted by Alex Wilson on 10/30/2013

Urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) has been out of the spotlight, but going into a lot of buildings—often being referred to as Amino Foam.

In working on major updates and expansions to...

Electric Heat Comes of Age: Installing Our Mini-Split Heat Pump

Posted by Alex Wilson on 10/22/2013

Installing a Mitsubishi air-source...

Can A Pending Standard for LEDs Prevent Another Lighting Debacle?

Posted by Brent Ehrlich on 10/16/2013

LED light quality is still not very good, but a new California standard could change that, and prevent another...

Our Deck Is Made from Pallets—But It's Not What You Think

Posted by Alex Wilson on 10/15/2013

Viridian tropical hardwood decking is reclaimed from shipping materials—and it should last decades

We’re moving along with some of the wrap-up work on our house in Dummerston. One of those projects is installing the porch decking on both the front and rear porches and a handicapped ramp up from the garage to the back porch. (We plan to live there for a long time!)

For the decking, we used a product we recognized in our annual...

New Home Proves LEDs Are Ready to Supplant Older Lighting

Posted by Alex Wilson on 10/02/2013

LED lighting has come a long way in a very few years and can now fully supplant incandescent and fluorescent technology

Our electrician was in last week installing lighting in our new home here in southern Vermont. Virtually all of our lighting will be LEDs—the state-of-the-art today in energy-efficient lighting.

LED stands for “...

4 Insider Tips for Choosing Flashing Tapes, from a Real-Life Engineer

Posted by Peter Yost on 09/11/2013

A research engineer at Pella Windows finally offers some adult supervision for our benchtop tape tests.

This post is part of a series on adhesives, sealants, tapes, and gaskets. Click here to view all the posts.

When the Wingnut Test Facility (WTF) took its tape testing protocols on the road, as I reported...

A Heat Pump Using Carbon Dioxide as the Refrigerant

Posted by Alex Wilson on 08/28/2013

A new generation of CO2-based heat pumps could avoid the high global warming potential of standard refrigerants and generate much higher temperatures

In researching and writing about building products for Environmental Building News over the past twenty-plus years I’...

What to Avoid in Interior Paints

Posted by Tristan Roberts on 08/12/2013

Occupant health and performance are the key consideration when choosing an interior paint. Most people have heard of low-VOC paints, but there is a lot more to look for. And it’s easy to miss out on high-performing paints when low- or no-VOC is the main thing you’re looking for.

We have some editor's picks in this area, and we'll be offering more guidance like this in a members-only August 21st webcast.

First, check...

Beating the Achilles Heel of Grid-Tied Solar Electric Systems

Posted by Alex Wilson on 08/07/2013

A new inverter from SMA allows us to draw some daytime power from our PV system when the grid is down, even without batteries

One of the biggest complaints I hear about most solar-electric (photovoltaic, PV) systems is that when the grid goes down you can’t use any of the power that’s produced. Consumers have spent thousands of dollars on a PV system, and during an extended power outage during a bright, sunny day when the PV modules are certainly...

Smart Vapor Retarders: Not Just Your Grandmother’s Poly

Posted by Alex Wilson on 07/31/2013

New smart vapor retarders block most vapor diffusion when you want to eliminate risk of condensation, but allow vapor flow when you want drying potential

Nowhere in building design has there been more confusion or more dramatic change in recommended practice than with vapor retarders. Thirty years ago, we were told to always install a polyethylene (...

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Recent Discussions

posted by atwilson
on Feb 3, 2016

I believe the Viridian decking we installed is 15/16" thick by 2-1/2" wide; I'm not seeing those dimensions on the Viridian...

posted by Meredith_1
on Feb 3, 2016

Hi there! I've been sourcing reclaimed exterior deck material for a client, and am interested to know:

The thickness of the material you...

posted by tristan
on Jan 29, 2016

Erica, 3-way LED bulbs are sold in stores and online. Just do a search or ask at your local hardware store.