Remodeling and Home Design

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    • December

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      2012
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    Is Moisture an Unwanted Occupant In your Building

    No designer wants to see the unwelcome guests of mold and mildew show up in their building. Guidance on how to prevent moisture that causes their appearance is offered in several sessions at ASHRAE’s 2013 Winter Conference in Dallas.

    “Sooner or later, HVAC professionals throughout Texas and the Gulf Coast come up against the problem of preventing or getting rid of mold,” Lew Harriman, a speaker at the Conference and author of ASHRAE’s ASHRAE Guide for Buildings in Hot and Humid Climates, said. “In June 2012, the ASHRAE Board of Directors approved a totally revised and updated Position Document on Indoor Mold and Dampness in Buildings. The Dallas Conference includes a comprehensive briefing on what ASHRAE experts have found to be the HVAC-related causes of mold in buildings, and what owners, contractors and designers can do to prevent ………

    • December

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      2012
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    Why Plastic Foam Insulation Is Like a Twinkie: Lessons Green Builders Can Learn From Michael Pollan

    Green building means different things to different people, but improved insulation and reducing energy use is certainly up at the top of everyone’s list. Some of the most effective insulations are made from plastic foam, either in rigid boards or sprayed foams.

    But there are concerns; Architect Ken Levenson recently wrote a controversial article, Why Foam Fails. Reason #1: Dangerous Toxic Ingredients, which was the start of a series that is very critical of foam insulation. I wrote about it inDoes Foam Insulation Belong in Green Buildings? 13 Reasons It Probably Doesn’t and at the Green Building Advisor, the discussion almost turned into a flame war between those who think that plastic foam does a great job, and those who agree with ……….

    • December

      30

      2012
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    In a Lime Plaster Job, a Leonardo Moment

    What do the Sistine Chapel, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Appian Way and the outside of the straw bale house we’ve been buildinghave in common?

    According to Ryan Chivers, a natural plaster guru, they’re all made with lime.

    “I’m a big time research geek, so I spent a lot of time on the Internet researching stuff and reading books,” said Ryan, who runs Artesano Plaster in Boulder, Colo.

    He grew up working for his family’s drywall company in Salt Lake City. There he learned to use a hawk and trowel, the traditional tools of the plasterer. Then he became involved with tree sitters fighting clear-cut logging in British Columbia.

    “That kind of set me off on, ‘Why are we cutting down all these trees?’ ‘Because we are building all these houses in the states.’ So I thought I could take some action on that front and got into natural building,” Ryan said. “Because I was doing drywall, the plastering thing was a natural….

    • December

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      2012
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    3 insulation materials could be used for commercial retrofits

    As building science innovators continue devising energy-saving products and methods in the ultimate pursuit of net-zero structures, commercial property executives and their advisors have to select from myriad alternatives for each new development and retrofit venture. And in a large, geologically diverse country like the United States featuring climates from cold and dry to hot and wet, thermal insulation technologies rank among the most logical sources of potential savings.

    Indeed, as 2013 approaches, decision-makers considering insulation alternatives are adding some intriguing new-wave products and systems to their lists—including those based on micro-encapsulation of tiny particles boasting remarkable thermal protection properties. These technologies promise to boost thermal performance dramatically while reducing……..

    • December

      27

      2012
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    New consumer guide illuminates home energy savings

    “Save Money, Save the Earth.” That motto has appeared on the cover of every edition of the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings since the first book was published in 1991. It’s a big promise, and one that appears on the 10th and newest edition of the book from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and New Society Publishers (NSP).
    But is it true? According to Jennifer Thorne Amann, ACEEE buildings program director and lead author of the Consumer Guide: “Every kilowatt-hour you avoid using saves over a pound of …..

    • December

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      2012
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    What Makes a Building Green? You Sure Can’t Tell From It’s Energy Star Rating

    In courting tenants over the last six years, 7 World Trade Center has trumpeted its gold LEED rating, an emblem of sound environmental citizenship.

    But when it comes to energy efficiency, the young 52-story tower is far from a top performer, according to data released under a city law that tracks energy use in New York buildings. It had a score of 74 — just below the minimum of 75 set for high-efficiency buildings by the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. On the other hand, two venerated show horses from the 1930s……..

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