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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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5 Common Questions with Buried Ducts

Posted by Jordan Doria, North American Insulation Manufacturers Association

Jan 31, 2017 11:36:23 AM

New guide on vented attics with buried ducts.

Back in December we wrote about a change in the 2018 IECC that laid out a new, prescriptive path for the use of buried ducts in standard vented attics. This practice offers the potential to save significant energy over typical vented attic designs, and can even rival the savings of an unvented attic done with ccSPF under the roof deck, at much lower cost. However, like much of the building code, actually understanding and applying the language is not always easy. To help, we contracted with Home Innovation Research Labs (HIRL) to create a “TechSpec” that lays out how you undertake the practice in a simple, straightforward manner. In addition, HIRL also provides both construction and energy costs of different attic design approaches, including variants of buried ducts. The document speaks for itself, but since our first communication on this new practice we have heard feedback on some areas of confusion that need to get cleared up. Here are the answers to 5 common questions about buried ducts.

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Record Number of Homes HERS Rated in 2016

Posted by RESNET

Jan 24, 2017 12:50:03 PM

In 2016 there were 206,583 homes in the United States that were HERS rated and issued a HERS Index. This broke the record for the number of homes HERS rated in a year. In 2016 there were 16,403 more homes HERS rated than in 2015.

Besides the increase in the number of homes HERS rated, the average HERS Index Score in 2016 was 61, as compared to the average HERS Index score of 62 in 2015.

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“Let’s Work the Problem” -Orlando Sustainability Symposium 2017

Posted by Jay Egg

Jan 16, 2017 9:57:09 AM

WHETHER IT WAS COMING FROM YOUR HIGH SCHOOL GEOMETRY TEACHER, your dad, or your college professor, we’ve all been faced with a “tough problem” from time to time.  I have memories of sitting through a long dissertation on how to solve for some angle (I love geometry), and then the “practice problems” come, and they look nothing like those for which I’d prepared. 

Apprehensively, I would then ask, “How in the world I am supposed to solve this when it looks nothing like what I’d been preparing for”.  My instructor’s response— “Let’s work the problem” always meant that a solution was imminent, as long as I stayed focused.

That’s what we learned about in at the Orlando Sustainability Symposium.  Green Builder Media put together an impressive list of speakers that rolled up their sleeves and helped provide some real solutions for the new “perceived” challenges that we face.

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