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Book Club: The New Carbon Architecture

Because the hosts of the BS* + Beer Show all love to read, we thought we would celebrate the authors in our industry by adding a book club to the show every few months. We will kick it off with Bruce King’s “The New Carbon Architecture.” Here, show hosts Michael Maines, Travis Brungardt, and Emily Mottram share some general thoughts on the book in hopes of getting more GBA readers to pick up a copy in advance of the September 24, when the author will join the show. Kiley Jacques: For people unfamiliar with it, how would you summarize this idea of…

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The BS* + Beer Show: The Intersection of Preservation and Performance

Following their long-lived debate around preservation and performance priorities, Fine Homebuilding’s Builder-at-Large Justin Fink and Editorial Director Brian Pontolilo sit down with architectural historian Brent Hull and Southface Institute’s Laura Case to hear their perspectives on the subject.  Brent is a firm believer in preservation, and has a dogged determination to keep craft alive. He goes after the “low-hanging fruit” in terms of energy efficiency, taking basic measures to ensure his houses perform reasonably well, but he places far more emphasis on centuries-old building techniques. He suggests that people take care of buildings that are beautiful, which means they are less…

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Trump’s Showerhead Plan Is Here

In the midst of a pandemic, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) followed up last week on President Trump’s January pledge to get “rid of the restrictors” on showerheads, part of his repeated false complaint that toilets, faucets, and other household fixtures have been ruined by federal efficiency standards. DOE proposed a rule to approve new showerheads that waste enormous amounts of water and energy, which would increase utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions. (The DOE also announced a proposal that would allow new clothes washers and dryers that waste unlimited amounts of energy and water—see ACEEE/ASAP statement in response.)…

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The High Cost of a Mineral Critical to a Renewable Energy Transition

Its name conjures an image of vivid deep blues. But when cobalt is dug out of the ground in ore form, there’s barely a hint of the rich hue it lends its name to. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which produces more than half of the world’s supply, it takes the form of heterogenite, a dull brownish mineral that could easily be mistaken for small clods of dirt. But people die for this mineral. Children suffer for it. Livelihoods, educations, neighborhoods, environments and personal safety are sacrificed for it. That’s because cobalt is hot property. It’s used in…

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The BS* + Beer Show: All About Kitchen Ventilation

After setting the tone for the need to get kitchen ventilation right—it’s an indoor air quality and human health issue—Our panelists, including architect Kyle Macht, builder Ben Bogie, and This Old House home tech expert Ross Trethewey, took a deep dive into kitchen ventilation in the most recent episode of BS* + Beer. The trio of experts discussed the effectiveness of different types of kitchen vent fans, proper CFM sizing as it relates to the building codes and the size of the cooking appliances, makeup air, tight-house solutions, energy penalties, ducting strategies, remote fans, and more. If you’ve ever doubted the need…

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Ten Years of Building Science Summer Camp

Ten years ago last Tuesday, I published one of the most significant (for me) articles I’ve written. It was titled I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Building Science Summer Camp!, and this article got me invited to that invitation-only event where so many good things happen. At the time, I knew a couple of people who were there (Carl Seville and Abe Kruger) and had started to interact with others here at Green Building Advisor, and on Twitter, and LinkedIn. But this article was a turning point for me. I published the article on the last day of the 2010 Summer…

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