- Is a well insulated job that costs more initally better than a less insulated house (or addition or basement finish) that costs the client more each month?
- Is it better to spend a little more for low or no-VOC paints and finishes or buy cheaper paints and then wonder why everyone is coughing and hacking. That "new home smell" isn't really good for us. This is also true for carpets (Naturals vs Synthetics), pads, wood products, and furniture/cabinets that have chipboard components.
- Is it better to protect the house structure under the siding or trust that horizontal rain or snow won't get in and cause problems like dry rot and mold. Caulk alone won't protect your investment. I've repaired and replaced too many exterior doors/windows and their underlying structures to know that isn't true.
- Is an investment in a ventilation system that exchanges inside air/outside fresh air at the proper rate too much to spend?
- Are Energy Star appliances worth the extra cost?
- Are water saving shower heads, faucets and toilets really needed here in N. Michigan where we have all these lakes and rivers?
- Is a quiet bath fan, that the client will use, a must-have?
- Is bamboo flooring greener than local sustainably-harvested maple?
- Is money better spent on quality windows or should the client get granite?
Monday, December 17, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
- Finish off basement into family room with 3/4 bath.
- Finish existing attached garage to expand small dining room and living room. It will also have a mudroom and bring the laundry group up to the 1st floor.
- Bump-out a new garage in such a way to create a L-shaped ranch.
- Build up floor in basement with DriCore floor panels to get flooring (and feet) off of cold and (in summer), damp cement.
- Insulating block walls with 1" white foamboard (r-3.6) on top and sides of wall. This will seal, insulate and allow any moisture to dry to the inside. All joints to be caulked.
- 2 x 4 wall on 2' centers on treated plate .
- Insulate stud space with blown-in cellulose. (r-
- This insulating of the basement should be done anyway-This just gives the homeowner a great excuse.
- Paperless drywall in 3/4 bath.
- No-VOC paint, stain and finish.
- Egress window to provide more natural light and escapability.
- Utilizing a space that has a footprint, walls and roof is a great way to minimize the construction process. We don't need to excavate the lot for comparable space, no framing or roofing materials. We'll build the floor up level with house with Trusjoists and 3/4" OSB. Minimal interior partitions will be needed. We will need to provide for attic ventilation with soffit/ridge vent. We will, of course, be minimizing waste as well.
- No-VOC paints, stains and finish.
- Insulate with blown-in cellulose, walls will have 3.5", ceilings 12-16"
Friday, April 20, 2007
The time has come for us as Building contractors, sub-contractors , vendors and homeowners to acknowledge the need for and the pursuit of the philosophy of building green. Our environment demands nothing less. We must embrace energy efficiency. We must utilize alternative sources of energy. It makes sense for our customers to enjoy life in their homes without fear of their next utility bill or whether their homes can withstand rain, snow and wind.
How do we get there? With education we can improve the homes we live in, the quality of life and the environment. All it takes is common sense and the commitment to Green Building. Here are the 6 guidelines that lay out the way to approach a project.
Lot Preparation and Design - Even before the foundation is poured, careful planning can reduce the home’s impact on natural features such as vegetation and soil; and enhance the home's long-term performance. Such preparation can provide significant value to the homeowner, the environment, and the community.
Resource Efficiency - Advanced framing techniques and home designs can effectively optimize the use of building materials. There should be an effort to reduce construction waste by efficient use of building products, recycling unused materials and where possible use recycled contents products.
Energy Efficiency – This is the most quantifiable aspect of green building. The information in this section will help a builder create a better building envelope and incorporate more energy efficient mechanical systems, appliances, and lighting into a home, yielding long-term utility bill savings and increased comfort for the homeowner.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Let me begin with just a few words about the concept of green building. As in most things in life there are varying degrees of "greenness" and I think every degree is good. There are those that feel they should only build with straw bale construction or recycled tires, to those that can only swap out their incandescent bulbs for florescent. Whatever you can manage is going to help your pocketbook and the environment.
I've been building and remodeling homes in northwest Michigan for 14 years. I didn't always build green, I'm reluctant and a little ashamed to admit. There have been practices and procedures that I've gradually added to my business without realizing they were green. It just was common sense. On remodeling projects I've reused materials (ie. torn out studs) on the same project or the next one. Removed windows, cabinets, sheeting etc. can be taken to a local resale shop. Last year on a deck remodeling project we removed 800 sq. feet of 2x4 treated decking and stacked for future projects. The homeowner was pleased that she didn't have to pay for the landfill expense and wasn't contributing to more environmental degradation. She has projects in mind for that stacked lumber too.
What I plan to do with this Blog:
Part of my job as a contractor is to educate my clients on the best practices, products and procedures for any given project. I hope to continue here. I'll be sharing links to sites that are green in philosophy and have green products. Comments and questions are welcome.