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Passive House: Is it Worth the Upfront Cost?

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

Jun 15, 2018 1:43:43 PM

Passive House-certified projects have grown in popularity in recent years, but do the benefits outweigh the additional costs?

When building a new home, the material selection and design will impact the energy bills, house durability, and indoor air quality for many decades. Going beyond code requirements for home insulation, air sealing, and heat recovery ventilation saves energy and enhances occupant comfort.

Unfortunately, these features can also increase the project cost. Although there are many advantages to building to the Passive House standard, is it worth the additional upfront cost?

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Bio-Based Houses are Seducing Latin America

Posted by Alessandra Barbieri, Guest Columnist

Jun 5, 2018 10:29:15 AM

The use of natural materials is growing rapidly in Argentina and other South American countries.

The green building phenomenon in Latin America has taken off. Bio-based aggregates have started penetrating the construction sector’s market, and the development of eco-friendly renewable products has increased the use of bio-based polymers in the construction industry, as a recent study shows.

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What to Look For in a Heat Pump to Ensure Happy Occupants

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

May 31, 2018 10:53:00 AM

There are four major considerations for choosing the right heat pump for a client.

Heat pumps are soaring in popularity throughout North America in new construction and retrofit applications alike. There are quite a few heat pump manufacturers to choose from with a variety of different features and attributes.

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Green Roofing: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Sam Gallagher, Guest Columnist

Apr 20, 2018 2:53:33 PM

A green roof system is an addition made to the roof of an existing building for growing flora. Depending on the type of green roof you install, the plants may be modular or have drainage layers. However, all green roofs include a few important features, such as waterproofing and root repellent, to keep the structure safe and undamaged.


There are two primary forms of green roofing: intensive and extensive. These are differentiated by the amount of vegetation utilized. While extensive green roofs can support up to 25 pounds of vegetation per square foot, intensive green roofs can hold 150 pounds per square foot.

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The Silver Bullet to Zero Energy Affordability

Posted by Philip Beere, Guest Contributor

Mar 22, 2018 9:51:22 PM

Hint: It’s not solar or storage.

Before solving the above scenario, the key assumptions are as follows:

  • Both houses are identical in location, design, and orientation
  • Location is Arizona, or Climate Zone 5
  • Size of home is 1900 square feet
  • New construction and meets minimum 2009 IECC requirements, or an estimated annual energy demand of 12,000 kWh
  • No swimming pool
  • No increase to budget to realize solar panel reduction
  • No changes to structure/orientation to realize solar panel reduction
  • No schedule delays 

House A Requires 48 solar panels for zero Energy and House B requires 14 solar panels for zero energy.

This is a difference of 34 panels and an estimated cost savings of $35,000.

How is this possible?

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Balance of Low- and High-tech Tech Systems Offers Best Efficiency Gains

Posted by Alessandra Barbieri, Guest Columnist

Mar 13, 2018 11:39:35 AM

A recently completed project tested and proven combinations of passive and active energy efficiency technologies across different European climate zones.

Tools, techniques and resources have been developed to help navigate the latest in building know-how and businesses models, as well as understand continuous operation strategies and their costs.

Significant energy saving and CO2 emission gains have been achieved following applied research and real-world testing at two demonstration sites and one building simulation. A blend of active and passive solutions has been tested in different countries and with different end-uses. The result is a wealth of resources now available helps others implement targeted and cost effective retrofitting strategies using an appropriate mix of technologies.

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New Program Allows Manufacturers to Certify Energy Performance of Window Attachment Products and Materials

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Mar 13, 2018 11:15:48 AM

Window attachment product and material manufacturers can now independently and accurately certify the energy-efficient attributes of their products, thanks to an exciting new program launching early this year.

The Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) is looking for manufacturers who want to participate in this program, so keep reading to learn more. Or, if you are a homeowner, see what could be coming to stores near you later this year!

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Panasonic Develops Unique Vacuum Insulated Glass Based on Its Plasma Display Panel Technology

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Mar 5, 2018 4:55:33 PM

The vacuum insulated glass achieves the industry's top-class(*1) insulation performance for glass of approx. 6 mm total thickness.

Panasonic Corporation today announced it has developed and succeeded in mass production of thin, high-performance vacuum insulated glass by applying technologies the company accumulated in the development and manufacturing of plasma display panels (PDPs). The glass achieves a heat transfer coefficient (Ug value) of 0.7 (W/m²K)(*2), the industry's top-class(*1) insulation performance for glass with a total thickness of 6 mm, which is equal to or greater than triple glass containing argon gas(*3) with a total thickness of about 3 cm.

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The Incredible Predictability of Building Moisture Problems

Posted by George Dubose, Guest Columnist

Feb 6, 2018 9:44:09 AM

Suppose there was a tool that could predict the likelihood of whether your building would fail. What if this tool could also provide you with information to dramatically decrease risk factors?

At the risk of oversimplifying a complex process, we believe we have created such a tool. Our moisture prediction charts have been adapted from a mold and moisture manual Liberty Building Forensics Group (LBFG) developed for Disney Corporation in the early 1990s. Since then, they have been beta tested on literally thousands of hotels, and have proven repeatedly to be as true today as they were 20 years ago.

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Subterranean Secrets

Posted by Joseph Harmes, Guest Columnist

Jan 26, 2018 4:56:02 PM

After spending almost six years consolidating separate parcels into a contiguous 634-acre tract of mature forest touching seven different lakes—and another four years negotiating a development agreement with the regional Canadian government—the Penney Group embarked on a unique challenge: creating an open-space conservation community restricted to only 634 moderately sized and priced residences, while leaving 60 percent of the pristine landscape undisturbed. It also needed to implement a septic system for the homes without risk of contaminating the lakes..

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