Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
What makes our remodel green:
- Reuse existing materials from old house into new as much as possible--things like windows, red oak flooring, existing bathroom, concrete pieces as pavers
- Recycle existing materials for reuse with someone else--cabinets, hollow core doors, appliances, sliding door, windows, water heater, fill dirt, landscape plants, red oak flooring, garage doors
- Recycle of various other materials diverting approx. 2 tons from the landfill--drywall, clean wood, metal, cardboard, fill dirt
- Use of salvaged or reclaimed materials--all interior doors and hardware, maple floors, red oak floors, bricks
- Use alternative materials that are less damaging to the environment and us--denim insulation, rigid insulation, bamboo veneer cabinetry with low VOC finish, recycled paper countertops (Paperstone), low VOC/no VOC paints (Dunn Edwards and YOLO Colorhouse), MDF trims, energy efficient windows produced in CA
- Energy efficient appliances (I find this ridiculous to add as green because almost all new appliances are energy efficient due to federal regulations--thank God)
- Fluorescent lighting where possible, LED lighting on exterior, halogen everywhere else
- Solar panels--2.2 kW photo voltaic system
- Tankless water heater
- 2 heat pumps to enable us to "zone" our heating needs (upstairs versus downstairs)
- Xeriscape landscaping with drip irrigation
- Mulch and wood chips made from materials recycled at the dump
- Organic vegetable and herb garden beds and compost
I'll have to add to this post as I remember more things but that's all for now, or as they say in Hawaiian "pau for now".
If you remember, we had the issue of not having enough red oak flooring for the house. I seriously checked out craigslist daily to try and find some, but timing is everything in the salvaging world. So, our floor guy was able to find a gym floor in a school that was being demo'ed or remodeled or whatever. Their loss is our gain. We now will have beautiful maple flooring in our entry level. It was just delivered today to acclimate (all wood needs to sit at least a week inside the area where it will be laid). It was cool to see the free throw lines and sweat marks. Our floors have quite a story to tell I am sure!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Old bathroom tile will live on! Love the mint green.
The front porch and roof take shape.
Notice all the brick piled up--go Craigslist.
Inside the house in the hallway. We are keeping all existing wood floors as much as possible. Some was damaged due to heavy rains and no roof---go figure.
Denim jean scraps getting a new life as insulation that we put in EVERYWHERE. We are under the flight pattern in San Diego so this is seriously going to make our lives calmer.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Upon completion of interior drywall, there was a mountain of drywall scraps. Though not as desirable as copper, drywall along with much of construction and demolition waste can be recycled. A quick review of our local Miramar landfill website reveals a link listing what can be recycled in SD and more importantly where it can be recycled.
You are paid for some recycling and you pay for others; however, this cost is often less than if you had it taken to the landfill. The added bonus is, of course, the benefit of not adding to the landfill and a downright feel good attitude.
We sorted ours from the rubbish pile, loaded it into a truck, and delivered it to the collection site (EDCO in Lemon Grove). 1 ton of drywall was diverted from the landfill for $46.
The SD city website offers more ideas into jobsite recycling at their website. This link offers construction waste recycling ideas for all stages of a construction project.
If we were to do this again, more time would be spent planning for construction waste recycling as well as educating our numerous sub contractors. The good news……I have heard but not verified that come July 2008, the City of San Diego will require all construction sites to sort construction debris. How they will plan to implement and enforce this remains to be seen. As our contractor stated today, “Until they force us, we won’t change.”
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
This is a view of the front of the house. We have added a front porch and some very craftsman-like posts. Notice the lack of roof.....and think about all the rain that has DUMPED on San Diego the last few months. Total Murphy's Law. Although the plaster walls in the existing house have taken a lot of water, we are hoping we don't have to replace with drywall. I guess this is one of the downsides of not tearing down everything and rebuilding.
I wanted to focus on HVAC systems and green building. There are certainly a lot of options out there, but I only have researched a few of them. Radiant floor heating is supposed to be the most efficient and best for the environment, but unfortunately for us it was not really an option. We have a lot of existing flooring that we aren't re-doing and the cost to put in radiant heat is not within our budget. The option we went with is to use two electric heat pumps. They are meant for moderate climates (hello, San Diego), are Energy Star approved for their efficiency and as a bonus for us....they are electric. Since we are putting up solar panels to generate our electricity....viola! Check out this link for some suggestions on heating and cooling. http://www.energystar.gov/
Okay, just a few more points and this exciting topic will be over. Zoning is a great way to make things efficient. We chose to get two heat pumps instead of one so that we could "zone" our heating needs. We have a split level house and the thought of heating the entire house when we only need a portion of it heated made no sense to me. After SEVERAL discussions with our HVAC contractor, we opted for two heat pumps. One provides heat to the bedrooms and upstairs and the other to the living space and downstairs. The other viable option for us was to get individual heat pumps for each room. It would have cost a bit more but honestly, vanity kicked in. I just couldn't accept the aesthetics of room heaters. I applaud those of you out there that have taken things a step further than we have.
My second point is the importance of which model you choose once you decide on the type (i.e heat pump, furnace, etc.). Each brand name sells various models and not all are created equal from a green standpoint. It is essential to look at the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) for the heating component and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for the AC component. The higher the number the more efficient it is. Go as high as you can afford as it will mean savings in the long run.
Third, look at the refrigerant that the unit uses. R-22 has been used for decades and is being replaced with R-410a as the latter is not an ozone depleting source. Check to make sure the model you choose is compliant with new regulations that will take effect in the next few years.
And last, most HVAC contractors are not hip to the green movement. This is based on interaction with our HVAC guy whom I assume is pretty typical. It was cool to see him get the fact that efficiency was important to us (as was not having R-22 in our home surrondings). You may have to be persistant and have more discussions than you ever thought possible, but it is worth it in the end. Good luck!
Monday, January 14, 2008
I am so amazed when stuff like this happens. There is a demand.....there is a supply. The hardest part is getting the two parts together. So, I have decided that I am going to put up a sign at our remodel site that gives this url in the hopes that I can find more things we need for the house as well as build up excitement about green rebuilding. Next post will likely be about HVAC stuff. Yahoo!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The New York Times just ran an article that tested a few of the more popular brands. n:vision by Home Depot, TCP Spring Light/Soft White and MaxLite SpiraMax fared better than most. Still, not all of our lighting is CFL because let's face it, old school light bulbs (called incandescent) put off the best looking light. What I encourage you to do is try out some CFL's here and there and see what you think. You'd be surprised. The cool thing is that they use 70% less energy and last 6 to 10 times longer than old school bulbs....WOW! Of particular note is that there is mercury in CFL's so they shouldn't be put in regular trash. Hmm, not so green afterall, right?Here is a link to where you can "safely" recycle CFL's. http://epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/id/univwast/lamps/live.htm
Back to our remodel-- we have the typical 1950's house where everything was done by task lighting so the only ceiling light we have in the whole house is the chandelier. Since we have vaulted ceilings in our main living area, we have decided to use cable system lights to run along our beams. They use halogen lights which is considered a form of incandescent light. Luckily, halogens are more efficient and last longer than the traditional incandescent light bulb. Listed in order are different types of lights available in order of efficiency.
What I am taking away from my research is that not all lighting is equal. Try to get the most efficient lighting you can, but understand halogens are probably going to be part of the equation in order to get the type of lighting you need for various areas (kitchen, reading etc.). We are using CFL's in floor lamps, pendants, table lamps and the exterior of the house (along with motion sensors), but are using halogens in our ceiling. I haven't talked about LED's at all because it is hard to find LED lighting for anything other than under kitchen counters or outside lights. If you do find it, it is extremely expensive. Hopefully in the next decade we will have some major breakthroughs in LED lighting.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I think this is the guilt that fills most of us, but not enough for us to actually do anything about. So, instead I blog and hope that others after me will be more pro-active. In my defense, I also advocate for the city to streamline its policies so that it makes doing the right thing convenient. Currently in San Diego, you have to call and make an appointment for a Sat. visit to bring in your atypical trash (like dishwashers, old monitors, metal, et.al). If you've got old copper, however, that is EASY to get rid of because it is worth money. Sometimes it is even stolen from your site (don't ask!). Eric took our old cooper piping to a private recycle facility and made $84.00. But, even the private sector makes recycling difficult. They would not take anything else we had even though there website said they would. There, have I justified myself enough?? I feel less guilty already. ;-)
A teaser for my next post......lighting. I bet you never thought that could be more than a few lines. Just wait............