Building Green’s Top 10 Products for 2019

Building Green recently published their top ten energy efficient products of 2019. If you would like more information on these products you can watch the video from Building Green here. However, the following are the products and what they replace (in no particular order):

10. SolarEdge EV Charging Single Phase Inverter- This replaces the standard home outlet for charging vehicles or difficult to integrate renewable energy and EV charging stations.

9. Industrial Louvers Custom Aluminum Sunshades- These sunshades offer an answer for buildings with no exterior sun control.

8. Rheem Prestige Series Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater- To replace the old standard water heater.

7. Superior Essex Red List Free Communication Category Cable- Use these cables to replace PVC-coated high voltage copper wiring.

6. Rad Power Bikes Red Wagon- These fun bikes can help cut down on energy, traffic, and car usage.

5. Shaw PVC-Free Resilient Flooring- This flooring can replace vinyl resilient flooring

4. Urban Mining Northeast Pozzotive Ground Glass Pozzolan- Replacing high global warming potential concrete.

3. MSA Safety Chillgard 5,000 Refrigerant Leak Monitor- Reduces your risk of high global warming potential refrigerant leaks.

2. NantEnergy Zinc-Air Smart Energy Storage Systems- Replace toxic lead-acid batteries.

1. Seool  Semiconductor SunLike Series LED- Get a more illuminating and less offensive light than regular LEDs with these.

http://www.seoulsemicon.com/en/

Seool SunLike LED

Whether you are building or renovating a home, or just want to learn new ways to help lower your carbon footprint, these are great alternatives to outdated energy uses.

If you live in the Bay Areas of Berkeley, Tiburon, Marin or San Francisco, and you are in the midst of or thinking about building the custom home of your dreams, make sure you have a knowledgeable project manager or owner’s representative to help you build an energy efficient home.

There are plenty of places to cut costs when building a home, but cutting costs at the expense of our environment does not need to be one of them.

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What to do When Your Contractor is Making Mistakes and the Budget is Out of Control

Hiring a contractor for your custom home rebuild can be daunting. You are ready to build the home of your dreams. Maybe you have the design team set up and have begun initial planning. But you hired a contractor that you thought was capable and reasonably priced and mistakes keep happening and the budget keeps getting out of hand. Most of us don’t know the tiny details of building a home and what is rquired to maintain, say, a warranty on materials. This is why it is so important to have a building team that is trustworthy and capable.

It really comes down to the old saying “you get what you pay for”. There are thousands of places you can cut costs when building a home: perhaps your door knobs don’t actually need to come from Italy, or maybe your kitchen backsplash doesn’t

Custom Home Design

Home Construction

absolutely have to resemble a Monet. But do not cut costs when hiring your contractors and design team. This will likely only cost you money in the long run. As they say “the Devil is in the details.” Unless you are a highly knowledgeable contractor that keeps up to date on the latest building technology, they are likely to miss small things that can cost big money. For example, you may not notice in the first year or two of living in your new home that the walls were not installed properly, but by the second or third year you start to smell mold, eventually you may have a full on leak. Or let’s say piping gets installed incorrectly, your cost of labor could double as all the piping has to get uninstalled and reinstalled, or if the measurments on your foundation were just a half foot off and the concrete gets poured, then there will be way more labor involved to break up the concrete, re measure and re pour.

 

I have been Richard’s assistant for a few years now and have learned many things about building at the expense of mistakes made during the process. My heart frequently goes out to home owners who know what they want but have put their trust in the wrong team. It’s not just building mishaps we see at West Coast Project Management Inc. sometimes the personalities of skilled workers don’t mesh, things get misscomunicated and toes get stepped on. It can be a real nightmare. If you know someone that built a home with little to no hiccups, I can assure you they where on of very few people who’s home building goes seamlessly from start to finish. Here at WCPM we can help you come up with a plan to get your project in the green again, we can work with your design and building team to make sure everyone is on the same page, and most of all we can give you confidence in your team again.

Making Custom Home

Putting work into the design

If you went with a contractor that you thought was going to work out but now your project seems to be going haywire, then you need to bring in an outside consultant like an owner’s rep. Richard has been serving the Bay Area and mostly Marin County as an Owner’s Representative and Construction Project Manager. We see a lot of cases like the above where we are asked to fix a messy situation. Richard has over 40 years of experience and is passionate about the environment and keeps up to date on all of the latest technology to help build a beautiful, custom home with the lowest carbon footprint possible, for a cost that is reasonable for you and the work.

You do not need to throw in the towel on your dream home because things have gone awry. By hiring a mediator or owners representative you can get your building schedule back on track.

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ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES OF A GOOD PROJECT MANAGER

In the last writing we focused on the on-site duties of a good construction project manager.  In this issue we will delve into the administrative duties that are also necessary.

Construction project managers have come from one or two basic paths:

  • Those that rose up doing physical work on site, typically carpentry.
  • Those that graduated from a college with a degree in construction project management.
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THE PERILS OF THE HOME MORTGAGE PROCESS

The following applies to mortgages called “jumbo” or over the standard Fannie Mae size that you hear adds for such as “rocket mortgages”.

If you are in a position of considering a refinance to help you purchase a home you most likely know someone who has gone through this process already. If you have then you probably know that refinancing (especially with a “jumbo” mortgage’) is going to be painful. In this blog I am going to give you some details that many don’t learn about until they are knee deep in the process.  I am hoping that I can pass on this information to forewarn you of the difficulties you may encounter so that you may be able to prevent them.

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INTRODUCTION TO SERIES ON BUILDING SCIENCE

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a series of articles on practical applications of what has come to be known as “Building Science”.  Yes, there is such a term.  “They don’t build them like they used to” is quite true, but in a good way, we build much better now.

We have learned so much since the days of the log cabin in the real old days, and Sears kit houses which symbolized the emergence of fast and efficient building techniques after WW2.  Every year there are new products offered by an industry that has a world wide market.

In North America we build primarily with wood because that is a resource we have available.  In more Southern countries cement and masonry are the  dominant building materials.  High-rise buildings are made primarily of steel.

The concepts of preventing moisture infiltration, of creating healthy and comfortable buildings is similar in all.  What is important is a thorough understanding of how to combine materials so as to prevent holes.  Holes that allow water to enter or air to both enter or exit uncontrolled.

In the evolution of building techniques we have both improved our buildings in terms of energy efficiency, and at the same time created some flaws such as trapping moisture.  We have made our buildings more comfortable but at the same time sealed in some very harmful chemicals.

That is where building science comes in, it is the well studied concept of best practices.  It is how to have an energy efficient comfortable and healthy building. Topics this series will cover:

  • We will address what constitutes a high performance building or home.  
  • We will learn how to avoid the pitfalls of moisture build-up and mold creation.
  • We will learn why we now split insulation into both inside and outside the wall to create what is called CI or Continuous Insulation. 
  • We will learn why we want to think of a building enclosure, and not building envelope.

Due to the horrific fires suffered by so many residents of California in the last year, we will also cover ways of lessening vulnerability to fire. For example, we are finding fire often entered attics through vents and started burning the roof structure from the inside.

In the next issues you will find information on:

  • Thermal movement control in homes (heat and cold)
  • Water barriers and rain screens that allow the building’s skin to breathe but repel water
  • Various new products that are worth considering in new construction
  • Fire prevention measures
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