Category: Green Building Science
Just posted our first Lifetime Home Survey revision for 2013.
Among the changes since Ocorber’s last quarterly update, we discovered carpet tiles by FLOR, which can be used on the floor, walls or ceiling (e.g. soundproofing). FLOR is neat for a few reasons aside from its array of colors and being made from recycled content. The flexible carpet squares adhere to one another instead of the surface so you can easily replace just one if necessary. The product is also universally designed for multiple applications, tightly woven to promote stability by the very young or anyone with balance or mobility challenges. FLOR is an adaptable alternative for those who don’t want hardwood, ceramic or vinyl flooring.
See this innovative product among many other universally designed applications and features at LifetimeHomeSurvey.com, and please share with those you care about. Lifetime homes serve you, not the other way around.
Here’s a link to our most recent Lifetime Home Survey (LHTS) , which we update quarterly.
Many of the changes relate to indoor air quality. Now that houses are becoming properly buttoned up for improved energy efficiency, you must be aware of the air you breathe, making sure you mechanically bring in fresh air from outside, and not from a basement, crawl space or attic!
Download for free either the mini-version (2 pages) and/or full 34 page assessment at LifetimeHomeSurvey.com .
One note for those with ratcheted up virus protection, the PDFs include many embedded hyperlinks to examples, resources and supporting information so your virus software may either give you a warning or inhibit the download.
Email me if you’re having problems and I’ll reply with the LTHS as attachments. Comments and questions also welcome.
Think I’m kidding? Serious industry thinkers wonder whether PGH should be a certification or standard, like LEED, net zero, etc. to inform consumers about what they’re buying. For those who don’t know, building TO code is a minimum legal standard of structural integrity, performance and safety. PGH would be just above that low bar. Sound appealing in exchange for your hundreds of thousands?
Here, read about the idea yourself. At first I thought the post was a gag, but April Fool’s Day is next year. This is where consumerism has taken us, sometimes literally as we recently discovered during demolition of a high-end home that had ZERO house wrap and a hole in the roof (nothing under the shingles).
There is some truth to this supposedly serious debate. People buying McMansions during the construction boom weren’t getting PGH, they bought JGE = Just Good Enough as the production builders raced to finish developments. NASCAR pitstops aren’t much faster and nothing has changed.
But seriously, if PGH becomes a bona fide certification, consideration or fad, my industry is in sorry shape. Instead, might we assume responsibility for educating consumers about what’s ideal instead of barely acceptable?
Meanwhile think of Code Minimum as the worst, legally approved standard. Pretty good wouldn’t be a whole lot better.
(For first-timers, the “LTHS mini-” is a 2-page general overview while the full version covers in grand detail every area of a property, even the yard.)
The full version remains 33 pages and covers every area inside and outside your home. Any text you see in a different color is a hyperlink either to additional information or an example of what we use on our projects. Mouse over and click the text and you’ll be taken to that website.
(Because the PDF is loaded with links, you may get a virus warning depending on your security settings or vendor. Email me if this worries you and I’ll directly email you the PDF.)
Most of the changes in this revision deal with indoor air quality, home automation, use of natural light and treatments for yard/garden. Weekly I learn something new keeping up with building science and UD, which together are gaining increasing consumer awareness, acceptance and demand.
Please share with others, especially anyone building or remodeling their “last” or “dream” home.
From the Suggestion Box, here are direct links to the PDFs. Click respectively to view and download:
We’ve cleared the first hurdle. We have ideal wind conditions for powering a new home to be built in Madison County. Next hurdle, we’re going before the Madison Planning Commission tomorrow night seeking a special use permit for a wind turbine and erection of a 100 foot tower on the property. We’re blazing a trail for all Madison residents to explore this natural energy alternative if their wind conditions suit.
Master turbine installer, Jeremy Hayes of Skyline Turbine, concluded a three-month, anemometer recording that confirmed the subject property generated suitable wind speed, pressure and direction. Despite the current wind maps (measured in meters per second or m/s) for that area showing marginal conditions, Jeremy’s data reported an average speed of 12.2 MPH, above what’s typical for that part of Madison and enough to serve as a wind power resource.
We’re excited, crossed our fingers and toes during testing because the wind energy potential seemed iffy to start despite blustery conditions at the site. Jeremy taught us about the “right kind of wind” (just because it’s windy doesn’t mean you can generate power).
So VA Master wind turbine installer Jeremy Hayes of Skyline Turbine erected an anemometer (try saying that 10 times fast, or even once!) to record for three months the wind speed, pressure and direction. The test will confirm wind power potential and provide data to calculate whether power needs can be met.
Seen this house? Like me, you might’ve grown up in one, or come home to it daily. Did you know that more than half of our nations houses were built more than three decades ago? Review the data and graphs within The Current, and learn about our concept of building new within old walls.
Cable shows have romanticized fixing up old houses; but, assuming structural integrity, you’re pitching money if you don’t completely retrofit, modernize the systems and tighten the building envelop (i.e. proper air sealing and insulating).
There’s nothing wrong with renovating to a traditional STYLE of house, the problem, many owners focus only on fixtures and finishes and lose sight of the house as an integrated system. Brushed nickel looks spiffy but $400 electric bills aren’t warm and fuzzy. They’re pouring money into putting lipstick on a functionally and operationally, obsolete pig and will continue bleeding money monthly heating and cooling outdoors.
A new building code is now taking effect and best practices the last five years in green building science and universal design correct many design and construction mistakes of the past, so those inclined to renovate an older home can achieve a traditional look along with energy and social sustainability. Just remember when looking at these properties, we no longer build that way for a reason, not all oldies are goodies.
- new products we’ve discovered and/or are now using
- replacing any mention of fluorescent with LED lighting
- multiple embedded hyperlinks to source material, additional information or manufacturers/vendors
There are numerous active links (anything underlined blue, all dot-coms as well as the green title of the document) to make the surveys convenient and save you time Googling. Click the underlined text and you’ll be taken to that web site. If you rest your mouse pointer over blue underlined words, you should see the web address to which you’ll be re-directed when you click those words. Email me and I’ll forward as raw PDF attachments if it’s not working.
Remember, because I’ve added and deleted since the original, the line items have changed. Please reference the version date at the top and specific line item if you have a question so we’re on the same page.
What a missed opportunity. Do you see it? Notice what might’ve been?
Instead there will be exterior steps to every entrance when, with only a dash of forethought and proactive design, there could’ve been zero steps and a flush threshold entrance at each entry point on the main level. Instead of step-free ease, residents and visitors will climb to a doorway on an essentially flat lot in a new neighborhood of mostly level parcels.
This is how inaccessibility becomes baked in from groundbreaking, due only to lazy design and construction. This sows the seeds of future ramps, which are the worst “cure” for correcting an at best inconvenient and at worst prohibitive entry into any home (i.e. imagine using a walker or wheelchair, and in bad weather).
Alternately, there could’ve been no steps and a wide, roll-in entrance for maximum convenience, safety and ease for anyone of any age or ability, carrying stuff, pushing a baby stroller, pulling luggage or lugging groceries. What would the movers prefer?