Friday, February 22, 2008

Compact Fluorescent VS. LED

This blog entry is an update to an earlier entry (Here) that discussed some of the drawbacks of compact fluorescent light bulbs. Don't get me wrong, I was not playing devil's advocate and wishing we'd go back to incandescent bulbs. They consume 10% of the electricity in the U.S and we've got to get off this addiction. 
I was bemoaning the fact that LED or light-emitting diodes are pretty expensive as an initial investment and light fixture designs are really in the beginning stages. Though if you look (Here), there are some pretty cool bulbs and fixtures out there. What is incredible is that LED's use 1/5 the power and 
  • last up to 50,000 hours 
  • (Incandescent bulbs last 1000 hours), 
  • (CFL's last 10,000 hours). 
The United States Energy Department (Here) and (Here-patience, this takes awhile) estimates that LED technologies could reduce our energy consumption for lighting by 50% by 2025 and save consumers billions. Importantly, we could keep 100 megatons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. And their costs are dropping rapidly.

Monday, February 18, 2008

LEED for Homes Pilot Program Update

I received a notification (02/14/08) from the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability that the LEED for Homes Pilot program is coming to an end. The last day for registering a project, under the pilot program (V1.11a), is today (02/18/08). I apologize for the delay and untimeliness of this post. The last day to certify a project under V1.11a is 02/18/09. The official release date for the fully chartered program was delayed a year from the original projected release date. The reason for the delay was the overwhelming success of the pilot. The interest and sheer volume of projects has been stunning.
The LEED for Home 2008 program is available for download at the USGBC website and The Green Home Guide.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

LEED for Homes

I recently attended a seminar in Grand Rapids, MI hosted by The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability. The day long discussion was about the LEED for Homes pilot program that is currently in progress throughout the U.S. 
LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the rating system put together by the USGBC to "provide national consistency in defining the features of a green home and to enable builders anywhere to obtain a "green" rating on their homes."
"A green home is a high performance home that is built to EXCEED the minimum requirements of the building code, especially in the areas of indoor environmental quality and resource efficiency (including energy, water. materials and land."
Once signed up with a local LEED for Homes Provider,  the provider will require documentation of the building process and arrange for specified performance tests to be conducted on the home. Once all has been verified, a rating certificate will be issued. There are four levels of green.
  • Certified
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
All LEED Homes are third party inspected, performance tested and certified to be higher-performing homes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Building Green Part 1

This a really nice 2 part video of a green remodeling project. There are a couple of quibbles I have with the project. 2 x 6's on 19.2" or 24" centers on framing ( also called Optimum Value Engineering) would have saved even more on materials and insulating value. The spirit of the homeowners and the project is in the right place. Remodeling is inherently more green because you are not building a new home. (Disturbing the land, broadening the power grid, etc.) I say Bravo! Thanks to the Mikezk Channel on YouTube for posting this and other great Green Videos. 

Building Green Part 2

Part 2. This completes the series. Some great ideas that can be applied to both new construction and remodeling.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Low VOC Paint

A client purchased a Veterinary Hospital and we've been going through the place room by room, updating the spaces. Each exam room has wallpaper (With ducks!) on the top half of each of the walls. As soon as one room is finished, it gets used and we move to another, so I don't disturb the flow of business. The wallpaper is stripped off and then skim coated, sanded and 
primed with Sherwin-Williams Odorless oil primer.
 I selected Sherwin-Williams ProGreen 200 for the finish paint and I'm really impressed with the utter lack of odor. It is $1.50 more per gallon than a regular, comparable paint plus, it is a really nice paint (coverage and ease of use.)