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Help for Thirsty Cities

This post is reprinted with permission from Ensia. In March, residents of Cape Town, South Africa stood in line for hours to buy drinking water at supermarkets or pump it from springs amid severe water shortages. Cape Town isn’t alone: One in four big cities worldwide already has overstretched its water resources, and climate change may increase the likelihood of prolonged dry spells in some regions. Facing a future of increasingly erratic rains, water-stressed cities are looking for solutions. One alluring possibility? The capture and reuse of stormwater. But the water infrastructure of most cities was built with a single…


Untangling a Roof Insulation Goof

This Q&A Spotlight begins with a confession of sorts from Ryan Lewis, who thinks he may have botched an insulation job. “Let’s suppose you screw up insulating a flat roof from the exterior in Climate Zone 4A,” he begins in a post at the Q&A forum. The code minimum for attic insulation in this climate zone is R-49. Lewis’ roofing contractor has added 1 1/2 inches of polyisocyanurate foam insulation on top of the roof deck, which Lewis assumes will perform at its nominal R-value of 9.75. If he adds enough fluffy insulation between the rafters to get the total…


EPA Sued Over Inaction on Paint Stripper

Paint strippers made without methylene chloride are readily available. Many retailers no longer stock paint removers that contain the chemical. (Image credit: Scott Gibson) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been sued for its failure to ban methylene chloride, a chemical used in some paint strippers that has been linked to a number of deaths. E&E News reported that a group including the mothers of two men who died while using paint strippers containing the chemical filed suit in a federal district court in Vermont on January 14. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group, and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families also…


Mike Rogers Dies

Energy efficiency advocate Mike Rogers died on December 18, 2018. Rogers was best known for his work establishing the Home Performance With Energy Star program. I first met Rogers in 2003, when I interviewed him for an article in Energy Design Update. Like me, Rogers lived in Vermont. Every few years, we’d bump into each other at a conference, and once we encountered each other by chance on a hiking trail. (We were both climbing Camel’s Hump at the time.) Rogers was a leader in our industry, and an all-around good guy. He died too young, the victim of a…


Pete’s Puzzle: Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Moisture Problem

Taking a look at only the first three images in the photo gallery for this blog, can you guess what the contraption is (was) in the middle of the basement floor? OK, now look at Image #3. Yup, this home — built right next to Baker Brook in Williamsville, Vermont — is a former lumber mill. The contraption in the center of the basement is the remnants of the mill’s water wheel, and in the background you can see a sort of concrete vertical slot or shaft that was the sluiceway. Building a mill that intentionally connects water flow to…


Top Webinars from 2018

We had a lot of great webinars in 2018, and we’ve taken a few minutes to dig into which ones were the most popular. Below, we’ve outlined our top three webinars from the year. You can find all of them on The Source or link directly to them from the article below. Considerations for Insulating Ducts in Exterior & Unconditioned Spaces: Take a deep dive into the 2015 IECC code requirements for ducts in unconditioned and exterior spaces. Our hosts, Brennan Hall and Lance Bonin, of Johns Manville, and Tom Sheehan, from Damon Insulation, detail the latest code evolutions and…

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