Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Renaissance in Green Building

Check out my first column piece on Pacifica Patch! Its titled, In Pursuit of a Greener Pacifica.

Let me know what you think!

Apologies to my readers!

Hello Everyone,

I have to apologize. I've been missing in action and haven't posted in a long time. But rest assured, it was for a good cause! I've been tremendously busy on many different projects. I've had the pleasure of consulting dozens of clients and potential clients, I've been involved with the development of both San Mateo and San Francisco County Home Performance Rebate Programs, I've been working with the Green Building Task Force in Pacifica, CA to adopt the city's Green Building Ordinance, and I've been working on my BPI Home Performance Analyst Certification and EPA Lead Certification.

Nor have I dropped writing completely! I was picked up by Patch to write a Green Building Column called Natural Nesting that explores sustainable remodeling options and green living tips for homeowners. To fill in my readers on this blog, the blogs that follow will showcase the articles I've written recently.

Thanks for staying tuned to my blog, I'm going to make another valiant effort to keep this blog more current.


The Green Guy

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ROI: Real or Imagined?

Many people, particularly salesman, like to talk about ROI (return on investment) when discussing "green" home improvements. ROI is a compelling consideration for homeowners wishing to get more value for their dollar. Buyer beware, however, for often the actual savings from energy efficient improvements fall short of their projections.

Solar, on-demand water heaters, windows and high-efficiency furnaces all fall in this category for Californians. The one true area of home improvement that will pay off - insulation!

An often low cost home improvement, insulation done professionally, has a greater propencity for reducing utility costs than many of "Green's" iconic home renovations. So the next time someone tries to sell you a home improvement based on ROI, start the interrogation!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Who's going to do the dishes?

I was talking to someone the other day about my kitchen remodel and the topic of dishwashers came up. A traditionalist, he mentioned that dishwashers are less water efficient than washing by hand.

It seems counter-intuitive that by buying another appliance you could be saving energy, but it's true! So, if you're planning to remodel your kitchen or finally taking this step toward automation, rest assured that this is one machine that is truly guilt free.

Recent dishwashers are incredibly energy efficient and use less water and less hot water (therefore less gas) to wash those pots and pans than washing by hand. Studies vary, but the average result is around 6 times more efficient.

There are some ways to model perfect dishwashing behavior though:

1. Run your dishwasher at night, during off-peak energy hours
2. Let your dishwasher air dry the dishes, rather than heat dry them.
3. Keep your dishwasher decalcified, by running a rinse with distilled vinegar through it periodically.
4. Replace your old dishwashers without the Energy Star labels.

I, for one, am looking forward to my new dishwasher. I'm tired of those dishpan hands!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wall to wall or not at all?

What's healthier? Carpet or wood flooring? It's a classic debate. But when considering indoor air quality concerns, we can look to science for some simple answers.

Both carpet and wood flooring products can come filled with toxins, depending on what your installing. With a little research, however, products can be found to minimize this. But what about the long run?

Carpet: when new, carpet acts as an air filter, drawing dust out of the air and capturing it in it's fibers. However, this only lasts for a limited time, until the fibers get filled and the " filter" gets clogged.

Flooring: non-fibrous flooring doesn't have filtering capabilities like carpet, but if swept and cleaned regularly in a well insulated home is the better choice for clean air.

I like a combination. A sustainable bamboo floor with some natural fiber, washable area rugs offer the best of both. Remember when you used to see people beat the dust out of their rugs on the porch?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome Tribune Readers!

Hello Everyone!

It's been quite awhile since my last postings, I've been really busy lately helping people offline to "green" their homes and attending some amazing sustainable events and seminars. The technology in green building is changing so rapidly that it can often be a challenge to absorb it all. Even for someone as obsessed with this stuff as I am. Anyway, please take a look at my past posts, subscribe to my blog, and stay on the lookout! I've got a ton of posts topics ready to write and will be posting 2-3 times per week. With the help of my daughter, I'm hoping to begin some video blogging soon as well.

Thanks for visiting and be sure to leave me your comments!

Ever green,

The Green Guy

Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Handle that H2O?

So much to do, so little time! Sorry readers for not getting back to you sooner. I've been incredibly swamped of late.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with SF Mayor Gavin Newsom about the future of green efforts in the city. The answer? It's in the water.

San Francisco will be taking a renewed look at their water conservation programs in the coming year as our historical statewide drought cycle continues. They will continue to offer incentives to home owners to replace inefficient toilets, shower heads and faucet fixtures. Also, look out for opportunities to replace your traditional water heaters with tankless, on-demand varieties.

Unfortunately, SF doesn't have the same opportunities with regard to water reclamation. This Green Guy sees a huge future in reclamation practices, for both professional and DIY systems. Demand for water will soon compare to oil's as drought cycles and population booms collide.

If you live in a single family home, think about how you could use water that you've collected when it rains, whether to wash your car or water your lawn. Nature intended for the water to be put to use, why let it be runoff?