Building Resilience

The climate of the planet is changing. The heat causes more intense weather conditions such as hurricanes, storms, fires and other anomalies. The political divide is astounding regarding climate change. But while people are arguing over weather or not it is happening, or what is causing it I start to wonder, is there anything we are doing to adapt to these new planetary conditions? Building Resilience is an initiation that started in New York after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. City planners got together to figure out how they could prepare New York City for sea level rises and heavy storms. This idea has spread across the globe from Barcelona to Colorado.

Building Green California Fires

Combating Fire is difficult in a drought.

Building Resilience is affecting large cities from things like flooding but how does that translate to home building? Are there steps you can take to protect your home against the growing intensity of Earth’s weather conditions? On July 8, 2019, Building Green posted an article that you can read here describing the importance of building resilience and what home owners can do to prepare their homes for the coming changes.

The Building Green article states that San Francisco was the first city to appoint a chief resiliency officer. The resiliency strategy here in The Bay Area is focused on combating increased drought, fire, sea level rise, and of course, the ever impending earthquake. There are large scale issues that a city like San Francisco faces like people living in buildings that are too close to each other or in need of repair. This could lead to collapse during an earthquake or fires to spread more quickly.

 

Building Green Protect the Planet

We have to take care of the planet we have.

 

One city initiative in Marin County enlisted the help of a heard of goats to eat dry, dead grass to help protect against wildfire. I was fortunate to see this gigantic herd of goats while walking my dog. It was quite amusing watching the herd of goats graze as a group of confused dogs at the dog park looked up the hill with perked ears and heads cocked to the side at the sound of the Billy Goats “Baaaah”. Perhaps you do not have the property or the patience to enlist a herd of goats to help protect your home, fortunately there are some things you can consider when building your home.

Here, in the Bay Area we have no shortage of hills. When looking for a property consider living as high above the sea level as possible. This is an advantage in California that many do not have in other coastal cities. Routine clearing of dry grass and shrubs will create a barrier and help protect your home against fire if you live on a large property. Dirt can be an unsightly landscape design, but you can consider options such as concrete, tile or a succulent garden to separate your home from fire.

It is important to have someone knowledgeable at your side when you are building your home, to not only have a home that lasts, but to have a home that keeps you and your family safe while doing your part to protect the planet. Richard WOdehouse has 44 years of experience building custom homes and has all of the latest knowledge on building green homes.

For more information on how to consider climate change during your home building or remodeling project, visit Building Green.

Read More

Differences in Architecture Across the US: Which Style is Right for You

Recently I have been traveling in the midwest. I am a Southern California native so I am always taken aback by the lovely brick homes and basements in more eastern regions. It makes me think about the differences in home architecture in the midwest vs. California and the different needs for safety and architecture styles when considering home design. 

The biggest difference between common homes in the midwest and homes on the west coast are basements (what are those? You mean they have a greater purpose than storing wine?). Many people I talk to from the midwest are surprised to learn that basements in California are not common. Brick is seen all over the Midwest because it is more likely to withstand tornadoes, but is not seen very often on the west coast because it is not suitable for earthquakes as there is not much give to it. If you live in a small town or rural area you may not need an advanced security system, however, if you live in a crowded city this may take priority. There are many things to consider when building a home to make sure it is safe for the area you are building in.

However, there are differences in architecture across the US depending on climate and culture. For example, houses with a triangular roof are more ideal for areas where it snows. There is a little more upkeep required when you live in a building with a flat roof to ensure the weight of snow doesn’t cave in your house. Adobe style structures, reminiscent of the Native Americans, are popular in the Southwest where it gets incredibly hot in the summer. These style houses help trap in the cold and the clay coloring fits in with the desert landscape. 

Construction Project Manager

A superb home in which Richard Wodehouse was the construction Project Manager. Lovely winter getaway that blends into its surroundings.

Then there are cultural differences in architecture across the US. Architects Greene and Greene designed the Craftsman style house in California which is why they are most popular out here. Spanish and mission style houses are more popular in California because of the Spanish influence in California and Mexico. Greek democracy was a large influence on architecture in the United States in the 18th and 19th century. This is why there are many homes and buildings on the East Coast that have features that mimic greek buildings such as columns or pillars around the house, pediments above doors, and even large porches. There is also the obvious nod to Greek architecture in state government and federal buildings like the buildings in the National Mall. More colonial style houses are popular on the East Cast where those designs originated, along with the shingle mansions on the coastal regions designed to fit in with the landscape. In the 1920’s art deco style structures swept the nation and these style buildings can still be seen from coast to coast and are represented in Malibu homes and buildings like the Chrysler Building in New York. 

Of course with the move of technology and advances in home building, you can see any of these styles outside of their origin. It is important to have a project manager or owners representative when building a home that is familiar with the styles of architecture and methods of building in the region you plan to build your custom home. Homes on the coast in Big Sur and Marin need to be able to withstand salt and sand as the waves carry it through homes. Many neighborhoods and regions have certain requirements like stilts or height parameters. If you want to build the custom home of your dreams and you have a specific style in mind Richard Wodehouse from West Coast Project Management has years of experience building custom homes in snow area like Telluride Colorado, the Spanish style homes in the posh Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County, and where he is located now in Marin. 

Art Deco style home

Before building a home, research all of the different styles out there, see what will work for you and your family. Then consult with a seasoned professional to work out a plan on how to build. If you are in San Francisco, Tiburon, Napa, Sonoma, Berkeley, or Marin consider consulting West Coast Project Management for your home building needs. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Happy Earth Day! WHY we need a Green New Deal NOW

Happy Earth Day! WHY we need a Green New Deal NOW
green new deal
Photo by Miriam Espacio on Unsplash
Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of the human race. The more information one acquires the more daunting it feels. It is said that we have 12 years before climate change will cause irreversible damage to the bulk of life on this planet. It seems that every time we hear these predictions a year goes by and not enough has changed and our time keeps getting shorter. For example, almost every report that has been published in the last two years predicting how fast the ice will melt has been surpassed by a new report that states how much quicker it is currently receding. Climate deniers such as Trump are slowing down the progress that is dire for the survival of an inhabitable Earth. This has an impact on beautiful places like and around the Bay Area. It puts the beaches in San Francisco at risk, as well as the beaches in Marin.
 

The green new deal was presented to Congress a few weeks ago as a lofty goal encompassing many of the features that would benefit humans and the planet in the long run. Yet it is being challenged as “socialist”, liberal conspiracy or impossible to pay for. This is the argument that has been posed over and over whenever any environmental issues are presented. It is said that it is going to kill jobs it’s going to hurt the economy it’s impossible for the automakers to meet the mileage goals, on and on with the complaints.

Read More