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Are Solar Roofs Ready to Go Mainstream?

Those considering solar for their home have probably heard of solar shingles, solar tiles, and solar roofs. These solar-electric systems have photovoltaic cells integrated into the actual shingles or roofing tiles—a sleeker, more aesthetic alternative to large panels elevated on racks. They may also have heard that solar shingles have had technical problems and are very expensive. In fact, some solar-roof startups have failed, while others survive. So how cost effective are solar roofs, and should you consider one? Are solar roofs cost effective? One way to answer that question is to evaluate the leading product in this category—Tesla’s third-generation…

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The BS* + Beer Show: The Challenges of Building in Hot-Humid Climates

This episode of the BS* + BBQ show features guests Matt Risinger, Kristof Irwin, and Armando Cobo. After a few salient lessons on what makes for good BBQ, the conversation turns to common problems affecting buildings in hot-humid climates. In addition to data related to rainfall, air pressure, dew point, and wind speed, Kristof makes some important points around the Hispanic workforce and social justice. He explains the role cultural differences make for architects and builders working in southern climates. Armando waxes poetic on “the building science of meat” before getting into the state of the industry in Texas, and…

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Dual-Flush Toilets Called Water Wasters in U.K.

Dual-flush toilets in the U.K., designed to save water with a two-stage flushing mechanism, typically come with flush valves that are so leaky that the toilets waste more water than they save, a water company there claims. The toilets give homeowners two flushing options, one for solid waste and one for liquid waste, offering potential water savings every time the liquid-only button is pressed. But the type of valve installed in these toilets is prone to leaks, which collectively add up to 400 million liters (about 106 million U.S. gallons) a day, according to a water efficiency advocacy group there…

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Fine-Particle Air Pollution on the Decline

Air pollution contributes to as many as 9 million premature deaths worldwide each year—twice as many as war, other violence, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Fine particulate matter air pollution is especially dangerous: Microscopic particles readily enter the lungs, bloodstream and brain, with health effects that include infant death, reduced life expectancy for adults, cancer, lung disease and heart disease Fine particle matter pollution concentrations in the United States have declined by roughly 70% since 1981. However, in a newly published study, we show that the areas that were most polluted in 1981 are still the most polluted today, and…

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Smart High-Performance Homes Start With Good Design

People who aren’t well versed in building science usually have the wrong ideas about how to create a high-performance building. I frequently get inquiries on how to make a project “green.” The conversation usually starts with solar PV, geothermal HVAC, and spray-foam insulation. My typical response is, “First, let’s make the building as efficient as possible, then we can look at adding high-tech and expensive solutions, as needed.” The idea is to look at the building design, simplify its volumes, reduce the square footage, and select insulation, air sealing, glazing, and location of mechanical systems that are appropriate for the…

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Controlling Interior Acoustics (Part 2)

Controlling Interior Acoustics (Part 2) | 2020-11-04 | Walls & Ceilings This website requires certain cookies to work and uses other cookies to help you have the best experience. By visiting this website, certain cookies have already been set, which you may delete and block. By closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to the use of cookies. Visit our updated privacy and cookie policy to learn more. This Website Uses CookiesBy closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Learn More This website requires certain cookies to work…

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