Making It Green Does Not Make It Right

The principles and practices of green building have had a transforming effect on the way we build, work, and live. By ‘green’ I refer to a collective of high-performing objectives in sustainability, energy-efficiency, healthy building, and resiliency.  Inherent to its mission are claims of improved building performance – that is, perceived betterments in resource use,…

Moisture Performance Of An All-Wood R-30 Wall

Natural alternatives to foam insulation are highly desirable for high-performing wood-framed buildings.  But lignocellulosic materials can be highly bio-nutritive and moisture absorptive, increasing their vulnerability to degradation and reduced thermal performance.  Designers are often faced with the dilemma of selecting materials that are less environmentally safe for much improved performance.  In this article, I describe a…

Use of Particle Counters To Identify Contaminant Sources In Buildings

Tenants of a mixed-use office suite reported several unexplained health effects that were purportedly associated with building occupancy.  These effects include headache, respiratory problems, eye irritation, and discomfort associated with unpleasant tastes and odors.  The structure was previously affected by water damage from interior flooding.  The building tenants therefore suspected that ailments could somehow be…