Ask the Green Architect

What’s the Difference Between Active and Passive Solar Design?

Active solar design uses outside energy and equipment—like electricity and solar panels—to help capture and utilize the energy of the sun. Passive solar design doesn’t use any outside energy or require much special equipment, but simply takes advantage of existing natural phenomena, like the direction of the sun or the insulating properties of concrete. Both [...]

What Are Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs)?

Besides insulated concrete forms (ICFs), the other extremely effective system for green home design and commercial green building is structurally insulated panels (SIPs). SIPs consist of two layers of a structural skin sandwiching a rigid foam panel in the middle. SIP Panel Materials There are several types of structural skins, the most common being wood, [...]

What Are Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)?

The best option for new green home design and commercial green buildings is insulated concrete forms (ICF). An ICF is a sandwich of expanded polystyrene foam on both sides which create the forms for the concrete. Then the concrete is poured into the forms. The foam form stays in place and acts as the insulation [...]

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