Archive for the 'Green Remodeling' Category

Going green by going dark: Maybe not the best approach

People in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco are being asked to turn off all non-essential lights for an hour this evening — from 8 to 9 p.m. — to conserve energy and bring awareness to the most basic global-warming-fighting principle of reducing energy demand. A similar hour of darkness was held in Australia on [...]

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Free organic treats and green model home tours on Saturday, Oct. 27

Green model brownstones will be open for viewing Saturday, Oct. 27, at the new Depot Walk development in the city of Orange. To help draw in the crowds, developer Olson Homes has joined with Green Truck, a mobile organic lunch service, to provide healthy treats from local farmers markets. The event will be held 11 [...]

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How many safety inspectors does it take to change a light bulb?

I swear I don’t sit in front of my computer all day and search for jokes. Not all day. But here are a few I happened to come across. And you know what’s weird? They are on the website of the California Energy Commission: How many safety inspectors does it take to change a light [...]

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This green contractor takes a stand

Here’s the problem with green building: There is no firm agreement among all of us on what is green enough. Various green rating systems exist, and individual opinions abound. So what do you do? Wait until there is a consensus? Fiddle while Rome burns? In Santa Barbara, Allen Associates, led by contractor and visionary Dennis [...]

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Ask a Green Builder: Why is tankless water heater so noisy?

Question: We recently installed a Takagi TK3 tankless water heater and we don’t love it but were resigned to adjusting to how long it takes for the water to get hot. But we were never told that it would make a loud noise when it operates. Ours is installed outside, well within earshot of the [...]

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It’s easy going green . . . not!

Yes, I can change my light bulbs to compact fluorescents, drive an economical car and recycle as much as possible. I do and it’s easy. But when it comes to buying "green" materials for a remodel, it’s not all that easy. I blame it on internal and external factors. Internally, it’s hard to even remember [...]

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See inside local green homes during the National Solar Tour

As much as I love the Internet, you can’t get the full impact of a green home from a computer screen. Unless you’re standing right there, you can’t really sense the quiet environment (from good windows and thicker insulation), the sweeter air (from nontoxic finishes, sealants and adhesives), the natural daylighting (from good design), the [...]

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YouTube Video: Modest green remodel

The young couple who remodeled their home in an environmentally conscious manner — and documented it in this well-done nine-minute YouTube video — did so because of their desire to be part of the solution to global warming and environmental degradation. They believe that every dollar they spend means something in the world. They work [...]

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The green glossary

Many of us are just waking up the importance of green building (thank you Ed Begley Jr. et al), but the L.A. Times was all over this years ago. Check out this Cheat sheet to the lexicon: Dual-flush toilet — A type of water-conserving toilet that is relatively common in the commercial sphere but is [...]

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Better than certified wood? How about “experienced” wood

If you want wood floors, and you want to be “green,” the trend is toward choosing wood that is FSC-certified. That means the wood comes from a forest that is judged by the very strict Forest Stewardship Council to be operated in a sustainable manner. What does sustainable mean, anyway? It’s a way of meeting [...]

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Oh, to afford a green designer prefab . . .

It was a treat to see Michelle Kaufmann’s new green prefabricated cottage, the mkLotus, at West Coast Green last week. Kauffman, a Bay Area architect, is a leader in designing beautiful, functional, healthy homes that can be built in a factory and brought to your site on a flat-bed truck or two. Set up and [...]

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Recycled plastic in rugs, cabinets, countertops: Is this such a good idea?

I love the idea of using recycled water jugs to make nearly indestructible outdoor rugs. I have a polypropylene rug on my deck that looks like it’s made of natural fibers and adds a cozy feeling. And if it gets wet or the sun shines on it, so what? The very thing that makes plastic [...]

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Do sun-powered homes sell faster in a slow market?

An article by Elizabeth Douglass in today’s L.A. Times says buyers are seeking out solar-powered homes and solar industry officials say growth is going through the roof. And it makes sense that when the housing economy is shaky homeowners are looking for stability. What could be more stable than the certainty that the sun is [...]

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West Coast Green: Not your typical building conference

I attend a lot of building conferences, among them the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (next June in San Francisco), the Remodeling Show (Oct. 9-12 in Las Vegas) and the granddaddy of them all, the International Builders’ Show (next February in Orlando). None of them is like West Coast Green, which took place last week in [...]

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A source for green-building professionals

Looking for a green-building expert to help you with your home or remodel? The Build It Green program offers a certification program for building professionals who want to show their proficiency in creating buildings that are more healthy, energy-efficient, resource-efficient, comfortable and durable that conventional homes and buildings. To become a Certified Green Building Professional, [...]

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A prefab addition? Why not?

Having grown up in a construction family, I’m always pretty quick to defend the livelihoods of carpenters, masons, plasterers, plumbers and electricians who are out there building homes and remodels, working hard to make a living. So I kind of cringe at the idea of building prefabricated homes and additions in factories. Now, these are [...]

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San Francisco hosts West Coast Green building conference

With the slogan "Build Smart, Live Well," the West Coast Green building conference is being held right now in San Francisco. The city is crawling with green-minded architects, engineers, contractors and others. This show introduces the mkLotus modular home (pictured here), designed by Michelle Kaufmann (architect of the Sunset Breezehouse) and built by XtremeHomes. The [...]

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Coming Wednesday: One-hour “webinar” on financing options for rooftop solar

A one-hour webinar titled "The Advance of the Solar PPA: When an Organization Is Ready for a Power Purchase Agreement" will be held by Greentech Media on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m. (12 noon Eastern time). The webinar is geared mostly to businesses that want to add solar to their buildings, but Brady Murray [...]

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Jay Leno’s on board with bird-friendly, neighborhood-friendly wind turbines

Got wind? I love the idea of harnessing that clean power. But when I found out that many wind farms are set in the paths of migratory birds and that the turbines kill scores of birds annually, well, my support of the technology dried up. Plus, those giant windmills are pretty much a nonstarter for [...]

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Commentary: Green living and the beauty of youthful arrogance

Until recently, I could barely tolerate the arrogance of young people like my vegan stepdaughter Sarah (pictured here), whose haughty self-righteousness set me on a slow burn. You punk, I would think as she peered into my salad bowl to challenge my choices of dairy and non-organic produce. I was vegetarian long before her and [...]

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