927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

The Flip Side of Going All-Electric

Among green building advocates, the trend today is to “go all-electric,” meaning eliminate natural gas and instead use electricity for all of our domestic energy needs. It strikes me that Green Building Advisor supports this mission. In the article “Electrifying Buildings for Decarbonization,” the authors state “. . . electrification is a lower-cost and lower-carbon solution than extending natural gas service, either to new or existing homes.” Another article, “The Best Reason to Have an All-Electric Home,” by Allison Bailes says, “When you have to make a choice between electricity or natural gas, it’s clear that electricity is better for…

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EPA Kicks Off HFC Phasedown

The EPA has just proposed regulations to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the super climate pollutants covered by the newly-enacted American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act). The rule, which must be finalized by September, is the first and most important of a series of regulations that will bring down production and import of HFCs by 85% over the next 15 years, in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This fast start on implementing the AIM Act comes hot on the heels of President Biden’s climate summit last month, where the president committed to a strong new climate…

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Phthalates and Children’s Health

You may not realize it, but you likely encounter phthalates every day. These chemicals are found in many plastics, including food packaging, and they can migrate into food products during processing. They’re in personal care products like shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents, and in the vinyl flooring in many homes. They’re also in the news again after an editorial by scientists in the American Journal of Public Health included an urgent call for better federal regulation of the chemicals. In particular, scientists are urging state and federal agencies to eliminate phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) from products used by pregnant women and…

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The BS* + Beer Show: Wood-Fiber Insulation

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features Shaun St-Amour, Scott Dionne, Jim Muhaw, and Will Grupenhoff explaining the benefits of wood-fiber insulation. Each shares deep information about the products they sell—the properties and applications as well as the manufacturing processes and status in the U.S. market. They discuss three types of products—blown-in, batts, and board—at one point describing wood fiber as “the Gortex of insulation.” We see a demonstration of the material’s fire-resistant and hydrophobic characteristics, learn about its vapor-open value, and are introduced to the world of fasteners. Questions addressed include: Do we need a WRB over…

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Cities Confront Climate Challenge

This post was originally published at Yale Environment 360. In 1836, Philadelphians mostly used whale oil and candles to light their homes and businesses. That year, the newly formed Philadelphia Gas Works caused a stir when it lit 46 downtown street lamps with gas made from coal in its plant on the Schuylkill River. By the end of the Civil War, public thoroughfares and private dwellings in the core of most large Eastern cities were illuminated by gas, supplied through cast iron pipes buried beneath the busy streets—and the whale oil lighting industry was nearly dead. Philadelphia’s own pipe network…

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Two Carbon-Smart Ideas in the Attic

This is the second of three posts on strategies for lowering embodied carbon in renovated attics. The first, “Tackling Embodied Carbon in Retrofits,” can be read here. A wide-open attic with no storage and no mechanical equipment—can you remember the last time you worked on an attic like this? I sure can’t. Most of the attics Byggmeister retrofits already house an air handler. Or they will soon, as the majority of our projects include at least partial electrification, and attic space is prime real estate for ducted heat pumps. Most attics we work on also serve some storage function. For…

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