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Minnesota Company Promises a New Class of Better Building Products from Mixed, 100 Percent Recycled Plastic and Resins

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Apr 10, 2017 10:33:00 AM

The Envirolastech manufacturing facility, opening in April, claims it will produce structurally viable plastic composites.

A startup company has big dreams for post-consumer plastics, and we hope they come true. To date, no company has managed to make major market inroads with post-consumer plastic waste.

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New ASTM Guide Estimates Lifespan of Building Sealants

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Mar 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., March 27, 2017 A new guide aims to help predict how building sealant systems will perform over time using accelerated testing methods. The new standard (soon to be published as C1850, Guide for Improved Laboratory Accelerated Tests to Predict the Weathering and for Developing Methods to Predict the Design Life of Building Sealant Systems) was developed by ASTM International’s committee on building seals and sealants

This guide describes the steps for developing laboratory accelerated tests for assessing the weathering effects on building sealants systems and developing methods for design life prediction of the systems. 1.2 This guide outlines a systematic approach to development of laboratory accelerated tests of building sealant systems including the identification of needed information, the development of accelerated tests, the application of data, and the reporting of results.

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Dry Basements Depend on Durable Vapor Barriers That Isolate Slabs

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 27, 2017 10:25:53 AM

To prevent cracks, and head off mold and rot in finished basements, a sturdy vapor barrier is still the most important detail.

Creating the “perfect” slab has always been a challenge for homebuilders. Even when built to code, slabs sometimes crack and fail. What went wrong? Often, sloppy installation is the issue. Seams in the underlayment are not sealed and overlapped properly, or workers punch holes in the plastic--or it simply doesn’t extend fully underneath the slab and vertically up the edge of the buried part of the slab perimeter.

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Dutch Firm Claims New Recycled Paper Panels Will Rival MDF

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Mar 14, 2017 8:11:00 AM

They claim to have solved several challenges that have limited mainstream use of paper-based building products. 

Van Houtum and Noble Environmental Technologies report that they have "developed a technology for producing a 100% recycled and 100% bio-based panel material (ECOR) from various cellulose waste flows without having to add chemicals or any other kind of harmful substance.

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Passive House: Upfront Cost Should Not Be a Deterrent

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

Feb 28, 2017 9:13:00 AM

Building to Passive House standards typically add less than 10 percent, a figure that is easily recouped by owners.

When building a home, the material selection and design impact the energy bills, durability, and indoor air quality for decades. Going beyond code requirements in home insulation, air sealing, and heat recovery ventilation saves energy and boosts occupant comfort. These features also increase the project’s cost. Although there are many advantages to building to the Passive House standard, is it worth the additional upfront cost?

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3 Ways Raters Can Help Builders Cut Costs

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM

NAHB recently released the results of their monthly Housing Market Index survey which included a set of special questions. The data revealed top builder pain points in 2016, and how builders expect these pain points to change in 2017.

The top problem continues to be cost and availability of labor, which builders see increasing in 2017. Interestingly, the problem which showed the greatest increase 2017 vs. 2016 is building material prices, which jumped 12 points (the next biggest change was 7 points). HERS Raters, in their consultative function for builders, can play a role in addressing this key pain point relating to insulation costs. Here are three specific ways raters can address builder cost concerns:

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Net-Zero Trifecta: Solar, Heat Pumps and Smart Controls

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 14, 2017 12:21:29 PM

Getting to net zero is within easy reach with new technologies. The only real hurdles are politics and ignorance.

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I spoke to builder Gene Myers of Thrive Home Builders in Denver about whether mini-split heat pumps could be powered by solar PV panels, essentially converting electricity into affordable, clean heating and cooling for homes.

“We’re doing that on all of our new homes,” Myers told me. “We have been for a couple years now.”

That took me by surprise.

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Better Buildings Require Challenges to Conventional Wisdom

Posted by Chris Magwood, Guest Columnist

Feb 13, 2017 4:00:31 PM

Looking beyond the micro-flaws and minimizing impact at the macro level

There is a remarkable paradox when it comes to introducing new technologies, in construction or any other field. We expect new ideas or technologies to live up to unrealistically high standards, while at the same time we accept as normal many existing ideas or technologies that are inherently deeply flawed.

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An Architect's Tips on Selling Energy Savings

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 7, 2017 10:31:45 AM

In a blog post last month, the Insulation Institute posed the question: do consumers want energy efficiency upgrade options? Since then, they've received feedback from high performance building advocates, builders and architects – one in particular who offered guidance on selling energy efficient home options to today’s homebuyers.

Antonio de la Carrera of ADLCL Architecture is a Dallas-area architect with experience in sustainable, energy efficient and Net Zero custom homes in cities including Dallas, Boston, Chicago and Mexico City.  His experience has led him to identify three crucial tips that builders of all types and sizes should use to better sell energy efficiency.

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Keys to Identify and Work with Antique Lumber

Posted by Albany Woodworks, Guest Contributor

Feb 7, 2017 7:05:05 AM

An interview with Richard Woods, CEO of Albany Woodworks, expert on reclaiming old-growth Heart Pine and Cypress.

Richard, after consistently manufacturing high quality Antique Cypress and Longleaf Heart Pine for the last forty years, you must have a lot of insight into the antique lumber industry.  What is old-growth lumber and how difficult is it to find?

Richard: For the wood lover and for the craftsman whose products deserve the best materials, the process of finding quality old-growth heartwood is quite a journey. The old-growth forests where these materials were once found are rare.  The few remaining unharvested old-growth trees are protected in national forests. These forests once harvested, take between 500 and 1200 years to regenerate.

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