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Production Builders, It’s Time to Sell Zero Energy Homes

Posted by Bruce Sullivan, Guest Columnist

Apr 2, 2020 10:41:49 AM

Production builders are uniquely positioned to identify and fulfill the needs of mass market home buyers. Most buyers assume that a new home is more comfortable, healthier, and more durable than an existing home, including the one they are leaving behind. Zero energy homes check all these boxes.

Unfortunately, there is one misconception that prevents many production builders from offering zero energy alternatives. It’s the perception that zero energy homes are not affordable. In fact, zero energy homes cost less to own, provide their own buying power and build wealth starting the very first month.

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Building a Better Community for Those Who Served

Posted by Jerry Drummond, Guest Columnist

Mar 5, 2020 4:46:19 PM

Partnering with National Grid, The Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs launched a movement to replace outdated facilities and build a state-of-the-art community for these individuals. This partnership ensured that the facility featured the best in energy efficiency measures and provided a comfortable and safe living environment for well-deserving veterans.

According to the Housing Assistance Council, there are 62,890 veterans currently living in Rhode Island. An alarming 13,036 veterans in the state live in homes with one or more major problems of quality, crowding or cost.  To give older veterans a welcoming place to call home, the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs embarked on a project to build a new, state-of-the-art nursing and residential care facility.

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Retractable Screens-A View-Friendly Way to Reduce Energy Waste in Homes with Expansive Glass

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Mar 2, 2020 10:01:42 AM

When used wisely, attractive door screens may reduce HVAC loads and improve indoor air quality.

When we spoke to window makers at last year’s Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas about the latest trends, the response at first seemed surprising: More grand, folding and sliding glass doors in the back yard; more large expanses of glass.

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Wall Upgrades for Deep Energy Retrofits

Posted by Bruce Sullivan, Guest Columnist

Feb 24, 2020 12:46:22 PM

The differences between a conventional home and a zero energy home come down to 12 specific elements. Many of these elements, such as equipment upgrades or solar panels, can often be accomplished in existing home renovations almost as easily as in new construction. However, upgrading the insulation value and air tightness of exterior walls is one element that is always more difficult and more costly in older homes. For climate action to be effective, it must include the renovation of the existing housing stock towards zero. For that reason, the challenges of upgrading wall insulation and air sealing must be addressed.

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Non-Toxic Fire Retardant Could Have Far Reaching Impacts for Housing

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 20, 2020 9:36:26 AM

Made with food-safe, plant-based compounds, GreenFire’s product has applications for both fire prevention and fire suppression.

Imagine you own a home on the edge of a wildfire-prone hillside in California. You’re away on a business trip when a flash fire threatens your neighborhood. But you have a secret weapon, or should we say--a hidden line of defense: You’ve installed outdoor sprinklers, tied to a reservoir of GreenFire in a tank in your garage. You activate the sprinklers, and the GreenFire compound mixes with water, laying down a film of fire suppressant around your yard and structure. Nothing ignites. Even burning embers snuff out when they come into contact.

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A Global Green Makeover for Construction

Posted by Terry Beaubois, Guest Columnist

Feb 19, 2020 12:05:07 PM

Demand for green building is vast, but the industry needs structural change.

As green building becomes even more important and popular in 2020, and as it continues to include additional aspects of “green” such as sustainability, Internet of Things, healthy, and safety, the designing and building of green buildings will become even more important locally, nationally and globally. 

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Proposed ASTM International Standard Will Help Evaluate Roof Assembly Changes

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 11, 2020 4:36:57 PM

ASTM International’s building performance committee (E06) is developing a proposed standard (WK70955) that will help evaluate potential impacts of changes to the thermal and moisture properties of roof assemblies and the conditioning of space below roof decks. 

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Heat Pump Water Heaters Achieve Significant Peak Reduction and Energy Savings

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 11, 2020 4:32:56 PM

Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs) can be a means to improving electricity affordability, enabling distributed energy integration, and improving the comfort of building occupants. The Building Technologies Office (BTO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is researching and innovating in this space by focusing on how and when to use heat pump water heaters.

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The Challenges and Opportunities of Exterior Air Sealing

Posted by Bruce Sullivan, Guest Columnist

Jan 29, 2020 11:36:21 AM

Ask building professionals for the best method of air sealing and you’re likely to get a wide variety of answers. Most builders, designers, and consultants have selected materials and developed methods that work for them and meet their budgets. That being said, there are three fundamental steps based on building science than can lead to superior, cost effective, air sealing.

First, identify the building’s thermal boundary. For many situations and climates, a good location for the boundary is the exterior structural sheathing. This layer of plywood or OSB on a wood-framed wall already covers the entire exterior surface of the building. Second, use easily applied sealing materials that will adhere well to the surfaces to which they are applied and will not shrink, crack, or otherwise deteriorate over time. Third, test the effectiveness of the air sealing by using a blower door test to measure leakage and to check for leaks either with a smoke stick or by feeling for drafts. Many experienced builders prefer to run the blower door test while they are air sealing, a process known as blower door directed air sealing.

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Bellingham, Washington Home is Zero Energy, Zero Water and Zero Sewer

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 13, 2020 4:56:39 PM

This living laboratory is a home performance triple-play.

According to Bundle Design Studio architect Dan Welch, the Birch Case Study House was “developed as our business card.” Welch now lives in the home with his wife in the Birchwood neighborhood of Bellingham, in northwest Washington state. Welch had designed or consulted on several high-performance homes since leaving a traditional commercial architecture firm to start Bundle Design in 2014, but this was the first home he actually built.

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