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Trump Budget Attacks Familiar Targets

The Solar Decathlon is among the programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which is facing a $3 billion cut in funding in a new budget proposal from the White House. It's not yet clear how the proposal would affect individual programs. This Solar Decathlon entry was from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2017. Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder/NREL It’s a new year, and the Trump Administration’s proposed federal budget has a familiar ring: more for defense, less for energy research and the environment. The proposed 2021 budget, which was released on Feb. 10, mostly protects the…

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17 Steps to Better Duct Systems

If a 12-step program is good for helping deal with problems like addictive behaviors, then a 17-step program ought to better, right? Or maybe it’s just a random number that fits the number of tips that popped into my head as I planned this article. In either case, I’ve written a lot about ducts in this space over the past ten years so here’s a little compendium of tips for duct design and installation. 1. Don’t blow air on people Pretty straightforward here. The heating and cooling system’s purpose is to condition the space so the occupants are comfortable. Air…

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The Green Police: Product Retrospective (volume 2)

The Green Police check out Rockwool, formerly known as Roxul Welcome to round two of my product retrospective, where green remodeler Michael Anschel of Minneapolis-based OA Design+Build+Architecture and I look back at our illustrious career as screen stars in the Green Police video series we made for The Journal of Light Construction and Hanley Wood a few years ago. The idea of these posts is to take a look back at the products we covered, which were mostly new and innovative at the time, to see if they lived up to their promise. We’re also putting ourselves on the spot,…

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Wanted: Windows for a Northern Retrofit

Brooklynite is considering the purchase of a home in New York City that comes with a second story full of single-pane windows. If the deal goes through, one of his first projects will be to replace the windows with something more energy efficient. “I’ve read about low-e glazing and how it reflects outdoor infrared while keeping heat inside,” Brooklynite writes in a recent Q&A post. “But what about in the winter, when I want the sunlight coming in to warm the house?” Even in summer, the amount of light falling on the windows won’t change significantly. Exterior window treatments would…

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Flatrock Passive: It’s a Wrap

Editor’s Note: This is the last installment in a series of posts by David Goodyear about the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive House standard. You’ll find his complete blog here and a list of his other GBA posts at the bottom of this page. So, a lot has happened! The greenhouse is now complete. My regular blogging frequency prevented me from making headway with various projects. It was a very busy spring, summer, and fall in 2019. Working, planning our crops, maintaining a vegetable garden with weeding and…

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Decarbonizing Buildings for All

Lowering carbon emissions from the buildings sector (which produces nearly 40% of U.S. carbon emissions) is a crucial part of getting to a decarbonized economy. However, when we implement efficiency or renewable energy projects in buildings, the projects are often targeted to those who can afford new technologies, which is why it was so refreshing to see a lot of emphasis on equitably decarbonizing the economy at the Getting to Zero Forum in Oakland, California, last month. The Getting to Zero Forum is a solutions-focused event dedicated to zero-energy and zero-carbon buildings. In the opening plenary, Kat Taylor, CEO of…

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