Remodeling and Home Design

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    Alley Flat Initiative fits small, green homes into unexpected places – CultureMap Austin

    You probably don’t spend much time in Austin’s alleys — those unpaved no-man’s-lands that bisect city blocks. You might store your garbage bins in the one behind your house. You might take an occasional shortcut through one. But if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you probably don’t see Austin’s alleys as full of opportunity.

    But that’s exactly what the Alley Flat Initiative does; they view alleys as a solution to Austin’s lack of affordable housing. When you think of affordable housing, you might envision overcrowded apartment complexes or new tract homes on the outskirts of town. Instead, the Alley Flat Initiative tucks small, single-family homes behind the existing main house on large lots in central East Austin. The second house, accessed via the alley, is highly sustainable and earmarked for residents who

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    Is Sustainable Home Construction Booming? It Depends Who You Calling Sustainable.

    With the construction industry still recovering in the U.S., companies offering “green” services may be able to set themselves apart and grow business faster, according to a survey conducted by McGraw Hill Construction.

    In 2011, green builds in the residential sector made up 17 percent of construction, totaling $17 billion in economic activity. And the value of the residential green building market is expected to grow fivefold by 2016, taking up to 38 percent of the market and representing $87 billion to $114 billion.

    McGraw Hill defines a green building as “one built to LEED standards, an equivalent green building certification program, or one that incorporates numerous green building elements across five category areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, responsible site management and improved indoor air quality.”

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    Learning Thermostat

    Nest Labs. The Nest Learning Thermostat monitors homeowner behaviors and preferences to create a customized heating and cooling schedule. It learns residents’ personal schedules in a week and automatically adjusts heating or cooling when the home is vacant to save energy. An Energy History function shows how much energy has been saved. In addition, users can change the temperature, adjust their schedule, and check energy usage via laptop or

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    Happy Birthday Thomas Alva Edison. You Were Right About Direct Current After All

    Everybody is mad about Nikola Tesla these days, claiming that he was a greater inventor than Edison. They even name cars after him. Certainly, Tesla was a genius; he and Westinghouse won the first round of the Current wars, and most of the world has been using alternating current for the last century. But Thomas Alva Edison had something to celebrate on his 165th birthday this weekend; He lost that first battle, but has won the war. It’s like William Gibson said; The future is here, it’s just not very evenly distributed. Five years ago, when I first said Edison was right, I got pounded in the comments, but now the evidence is incontrovertible, and even that car with Tesla’s name on it runs on DC.

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    Study shines a light on builders’ risk when pursing LEED

    A new study says that some LEED credits might carry an additional risk of worker injury of up to 41%. The study, published by the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Colorado Boulder, used empirical data to support their finding that a number of LEED credit carry substantial risks. The results might be a little frightening.

    The UCB professor behind the study says that his interest was piqued when he saw statistics that suggest worker injury occurs up to 50% more on LEED projects. Instead of making a case study out of this interesting statistic, the professor elected to craft an empirical examination, using data collected from a wide sample of LEED projects. The study looks at each credit in the LEED system, comparing it to traditional construction. For example – sustainable( living) roofing v. traditional (fabric sealed) roofing.

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    Unique Habitat For Humanity Home Boasts Ultra-Energy Savings

    Unique Habitat For Humanity Home Boasts Ultra-Energy Savings WPTZ The Champlain Valley By Jill Glavan CHARLOTTE, Vt. — The final of three homes built by Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte is completed and leaders say the ultra-energy efficient model is already catching on

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