Green Links for Thursday 30 August

The complexities of building green

A new study shows that the environmental impact of shopping for stuff, from from food and clothing to CDs and electrical appliances – far outweighs any efforts to save water and power in the home.

Building green doesn’t cost more greens

Will going green help you beat the slow housing market? It certainly can’t hurt. Anything to differentiate your home from the competition will help.

McMansion tax – I’m shocked this hasn’t been proposed by somebody in the Charlottesville area.

Seven solar lights = draconian homeowner’s association response – Homeowners’ Associations should be encouraging these things rather than being so small-minded.

Solar power now standard – for California developers

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  1. Dave Phillips August 30, 2007 at 17:08

    Are you aware of any studies/articles on the indoor air polution concerns with green houses? I have heard that air tight houses could mean radon buildup and allergy issues. Is this fact or fiction?

  2. Jim Duncan August 31, 2007 at 07:15

    Dave –

    I have heard that. My understanding is that, like any construction, it depends on the quality.

    From the Air Quality Sciences resource center:

    In some cases, homes that are built to conserve energy or that are built to be “tight” are more likely to have indoor air quality problems than homes that are kept “leaky”, because air pollution from indoor activities and materials does not get adequately flushed out of the home. Also, in a home that is left intentionally leaky, there is no way to control the air that enters through cracks and other openings.
    New, energy efficient homes, and older homes that have had energy conservation features correctly installed can achieve good indoor environmental quality, because many pollutants are less likely to enter the homes, and those that do can be removed with controlled ventilation. These homes use exhaust fans to remove excessive moisture and cooking odors and a tight building shell makes sure that toxins in soil gas do not enter the home. These homes also are built and furnished with materials that are low emitting and thus are minimal contributors of indoor air pollutants.

    One builder in the Charlottesville area argues that green building is simply “building well, using quality materials;” He’s onto something that many of the other builders haven’t caught onto yet because they were so concerned with building “something” versus building something “well.”

    Air Quality Sciences resource center

    a good article talking about how the materials used in conventional construction contribute to poor indoor air quality.

    American Lung Association health house

    and –

    more, a little bit more and how Indoor air quality can be improved by avoiding construction materials and finishes that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde.