Archive for the 'Green Remodeling' Category

Clotheslines are the new cool

And just like that, drying clothes on a line is hip. It will help save the planet and it’s a way to make a green statement. Funny, just a few weeks ago, I considered it trashy. I saw my neighbors drying their kids’ clothes on a fence and I thought: “How country.” And not in [...]

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Solar panel lessons from the field

John Park, who is blogging about his Burbank addition at Park Haus Blog, has a lesson to share about dealing with a solar panel company. John says: We’ve been having lots of trouble getting the company who installed our solar panels to turn in the correct paperwork to Burbank Water & Power. This paperwork is [...]

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Ask a Green Builder: How green is bamboo flooring?

Question: I am interested in taking the carpeting off the floors in my condo (I think there is plywood underneath), and putting in bamboo flooring. Is this something a do-it-yourselfer like me could do? Also, I heard that some bamboo is not really “green” and comes from countries where ecological damage is done to harvest [...]

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10 trends in green kitchens

According to HGTV, here are the 10 trends in greening up your kitchen, along with links to some resources: 1. Low-VOC countertops (pictured: Richlite counter in a Claremont home) 2. Energy-efficient appliances (Energy Star rated) 3. Sun-welcoming skylights (try Solatubes for tricky areas) 4. Renewable flooring (try natural linoleum, bamboo, or FSC-certified wood) 5. Smarter [...]

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Ah, so this is what a “green” house looks like

This new Claremont house looks pretty normal, right? But thanks to homeowners Vern and Deb Jahnke, and their team of architects and builders, this house is way green. Here’s what makes it so: • Oriented so rooftop solar panels are at most effective angle. • Made of Rastra block, which is recycled Styrofoam and concrete. • [...]

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New on the market: Mini on-demand water heater

Where is it written that hot water must be heated and then stored 24/7 in a big tank that needs a whole closet to itself? Those days are fast fading. Whole-house on-demand systems, about the size of a breadbox (remember breadboxes?), use electric or gas to heat water at the moment you need it and [...]

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How green are you?

Rate yourself on The Green Curve.

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Alternatives to salt-based water softening (and no monthly charges)

I don’t want to make anyone feel bad who uses a salt-based water softening system, but you know all that salt being released into our environment as a result of your system? Not good. That’s why they are banned in some areas. For me, I don’t like the slimy feeling of water softened with salt. [...]

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Ask an Expert: What decking material is best?

Question: We want to build a deck this summer, but now we are confused about what to use: wood or a composite product such as Trex. Any suggestions? Answer: From Pamela Berstler of Flower to the People, a Los Angeles landscaping company known for being environmentally sensitive: Composite wood materials have come a very long [...]

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A granite floor? Why not?

The great thing about living in a metropolitan area is your access to so many shops, supply houses and enterprises. Daniel Gonzales and Janice Stango took full advantage of this when they set out to convert their old, dirt-floored garage in North Hollywood into a sitting area (they will build a carport to replace it [...]

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Green building in Santa Barbara? It’s not all that easy

What does it take to build a very green infill condominium project in conservative, tourist-driven, image-conscious Santa Barbara, where detractors argue that solar panels on red-tile roofs create visual blight? “It takes explaining and patience,” says Dennis Thompson, AIA, the architect charged with shepherding a four-unit project through the seaside hamlet’s notoriously picky boards, commissions, [...]

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Santa Monica house named one of AIA’s top 10 green projects

This modern single-family home in Santa Monica was named one of the top 10 green projects by the American Institute of Architects. The house is two stories, 2,480 square feet, four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and earned the LEED Platinum-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The house was created by Living [...]

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Reader Request: Green builder on the Westside?

Jason requests information from others visiting this blog: I am thinking of “greening my house” and I am looking for a contractor that specializes in this area of construction. I live in the Culver City area. Thanks. Any leads for Jason? Please post below.

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Great green grates

Ever wonder what happened to that 1967 Ford Fairlane Grandpa used to drive? It could have been reincarnated into a new line of drainage grates made by Iron Age Grates. These iron beauties are made from melted-down engine blocks and wheel drums, and add a touch of chic architectural interest to an otherwise mundane area, [...]

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Is synthetic grass great? Or gross?

I honestly don’t know about fake grass. In person, it looks terrific. But chewed up tires? Yuck! Here’s how Flower to the People‘s Pamela Berstler, designer of the cool little SoCal yard you see here, explains it: There are a lot of eco-pros and cons to using synthetic turf. In this particular situation, where the [...]

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Danger! Solar panels are harmful to your health

OK, so the headline above is provocative and false. My bad. But there are solar panel detractors in such tony enclaves as Santa Barbara (according to an architect I spoke with there) whose argument in front of government design boards has gone like this: 1. Solar panels on roofs are ugly. 2. If the buildings [...]

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A new fireplace in your plans? You might want to rethink that

In an effort to clean up Southland air, some of the dirtiest air in the nation, regulators are considering proposals that would put restrictions on fireplaces, according to a June 2 article in The Times: Those proposals include a ban on wood-burning fireplaces in all new homes in Los Angeles, Orange and portions of San [...]

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Solar hot water in a box

A new DIY solar hot water system has been introduced by Fafco, a Chico-based company that specializes in solar pool heaters. The new system can be installed by two homeowners in half a day, the company claims, and the whole thing weighs just 62 pounds. And it comes in a box! The system costs around [...]

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Ask a Green Builder: Dennis Allen

Ever wonder about the durability of bamboo floors? The benefits of thicker insulation? The rebates available for adding solar power? The cost vs. value of new windows? Dennis Allen, a nationally recognized green builder in Santa Barbara, is on hand today and tomorrow, the 29th and 30th, to answer your online green remodeling questions. Topics [...]

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Trex now more wood-like

There’s a lot to like about Trex or other composite decking materials. They don’t splinter, split, rot or need painting or staining. And they’re made from cast-off stuff like milk jugs and wood pallets. In fact, Trex claims it uses 50 percent of the grocery bags we recycle in the U.S., and that every year [...]

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