Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Container Mania

I've been getting quite interested in Shipping Containers or ISBU's as building blocks for construction. This is not a new idea but it ties neatly to my interest in modular construction, redux and recycling. The folks at MoonDog Vineyards have brought their ideas for a possible expansion of the Barn and I have to credit them for the new excitement and interest this has generated in me.
This is an interesting video and interview with Adam Kalkin, Architect Extraordinaire that briefly talks about containers.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Solatube Product Training

Last Friday, I attended the first seminar in a series that Eco-building Products are offering to builders here in Northern Michigan. EBP is undoubtably Northern Michigan's finest resource for Green products. This was part of their Back2Basics pro series, a series intended to inform Green builders of the latest green techniques and green products they carry.
Friday's was given by Tim Cofran, Midwest Sales Representative for Solatube International. The product training focused on the installation, the benefits of daylighting in our homes and the strength of the Solatube product line. The Solatube eChoice daylighting systems qualify for 30% Tax Credits. I've seen other manufacturers of these through-the-roof tubular devices at some of the "Big-Box"stores but these Solatube systems appear highly superior in tube reflect-ability, flashing system, dome technology and simplicity of installation.
The benefits of daylighting are huge-

  • Turn those dark areas of your home such as walk-in closets, baths with no windows and stairwells into well-lit rooms.
  • Bring more light into areas that don't have enough windows or have too much shade.
  • Lights don't have to be turned on during the day.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Green Expo365 part II

    I wasn't able to attend Day 3 of the virtual tradeshow, Green Expo 365 that I mentioned in the preceding entry. I wish I could attend these educational events because I am a firm believer in "continuing education", but sometimes a builder has got to build. (and try to make a living in this economy)
    Another nice thing about the event is the ability to watch the presentations archived or "On Demand". Once you click on the link above and register you can watch all five of these stellar presentations.
    I'd like to highlight two of the speakers and their presentations.
    Quoting from Green Builder magazine "Ron Jones is Founder and Editorial Director of Green Builder® Media." Green Builder® media was the organizer and one of the sponsors of GreenExpo 365. He is a green builder and has been instrumental in forming green standards throughout the country. Mr. Jones gave the first presentation on Monday. It really was the Keynote Address of the conference. It was in video form and was the perfect way to start this ground-breaking event. It was extremely inspirational as he spoke from the "ReVision" house, a Green net-zero retrofit in Las Vegas. It really is must-see video for both current or aspiring green builders and homeowners.
    Another presenter that really caught my attention was the architect, Peter Pfeiffer FAIA. Mr Pfeiffer (quoting Green Expo 365) "is a LEED accredited professional Architect and Building Scientist who has spent the past 30 years developing pragmatic high performance building design strategies." His slide presentation was centered on the thought that we as architects, builders and consumers get consumed with "eco-bling". We're turned on by solar and wind turbines but don't find spray foam or 3' overhangs "sexy". Design is key- No part of the building should be an after-thought....meaning:

    • Proper orientation-take advantage of passive solar
    • Properly placed windows-for ventilation and daylighting
    • Good, tight insulation, moisture/air-sealing
    • Correct overhangs and awnings-
    • IAQ-Indoor Air Quality
    • HVAC done right-proper sizing and placement
    • Energy and water efficiency
      He felt that once these are taken care of, then, we can consider the use of Eco-bling. Once we've done the bulleted items, we are moving to a greener, more sustainable future.

      Tuesday, March 2, 2010


      For the last two days, I've been attending the first GreenExpo365, an on-line virtual tradeshow. It runs through tomorrow. It's really pretty cool, with presentations (generally 2 per day) by nationally recognized Green builders and practitioners. It was put together by Green Builder Media, publishers of Green Builder magazine, and hosts of Green Builder College. Manufacturers such as Simpson Doors, Typar, Kohler, Whirlpool, Bay Systems and Premier Building Systems are there as are Energy Star and Environments for Living.
      You start in the lobby where you can orient yourself into this new world and new conference experience. There's a help desk and signs pointing out the Expo, the Auditorium, a Networking lounge (which is very cool) and a Press Room.
      What's really exciting and interesting about the whole concept is that this is all virtual. You enter a booth, look over info (some are PDF's, free for download, some are videos, some are links to their sites) A rep is there to answer questions via chat. There is no presssure and every representative that I chatted with was very helpful and offered to email any further info I wanted or was interested in.
      In each of the spaces you have the ability to chat with fellow attendees, representatives of the various companies and people from Green Builder Media. We've talked about green products and green practices. I've seen some great products that I hope to offer my customers. It has really been a great learning experience. Check it out-you may learn something.