Official Recognition of our Green-ness

Official Recognition of our Green-ness

The Build it Green rating system helped guide our remodel project from start to finish.  During the design phase, we went through the GreenPoint Rated scoring criteria one by one, selecting which credits we wanted to build into our project.  The checklist pointed out some ideas we never would have thought of on our own, and helped us cut through the universe of possibilities and focus in on areas that […]

Go See the Solar Decathlon!

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon – College Students Competing for a Clean Energy/Cool House Future For the next two weekends, there are 14 creatively efficient small homes on display at the Great Park in Irvine, CA.  Sponsored by the DOE, the Solar Decathlon challenges teams of students to create sub-1000sf homes that: Cost less than $250,000 to build Have systems that heat, cool, run appliances, provide hot water and […]

Shading Windows & Passive Solar Design-UPDATED

Shading Windows & Passive Solar Design-UPDATED

  Whether you think of it as common sense shading, or if you treat it as a scientific approach to energy efficient passive solar design, every new and remodeled home project should carefully consider these principles: Orient the house to the Sun, if possible.  Allow for exposure to the southern sky to heat the house in Winter.  Minimize direct solar gain to the East and West through tree plantings and […]

Extra Footage from KTLA-5 News

We were honored to host Gayle Anderson and her Channel 5 News truck at our house in June.  Gayle is a dynamo, working without a Producer, without a script, and switching seamlessly from talking to people in front of her to briefing the anchors in the studio on what’s coming next.  Her pink iPhone is all she needs to coordinate her broadcasts, and she and her cameraman edit the footage […]

What is that Giant Sucking Sound?

What is that Giant Sucking Sound?

We set out on this energy-efficient remodel to prove that it didn’t have to cause a giant sucking sound in your wallet.  To do it right, though, all energy-efficient remodels should conduct a blower door test of air-tightness, we’ve decided, after discovering its diagnostic power this week.  This was a literal giant sucking sound in our house as we neared completion. The blower door test pulls air through the house […]

Kudos to Energy Upgrade California

Kudos to Energy Upgrade California

It was a privilege to meet with the Energy Upgrade California program directors to talk about energy efficient remodeling this week.  These sharp young people are clearly passionate about their mission, and are doing more to encourage homeowners to incorporate energy efficiency into their projects than just about anyone.  They carved out part of their busy meeting to hear our experiences working with the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program, what’s […]

Photo Update

We’re making progress toward our target move-in date in March!  In this post are photos of the completed roofing, sliding doors, insulation, solar panels, and exterior foam and lath stages of the project.  Drywall is next!    

Open House a Big Success

200 visitors attended the “Behind the Walls Open House” event held at the house Sunday, January 11.  There to answer questions were: Dan Hardey, Hardey Construction Cynthia Kraus & Claudia Wiehen, OPENHAUS Design Bryan Amburgey, Solar Source Mike Burch, D’Mand Hot Water Systems It was great to see the turnout, despite the NFL playoffs and rain that morning.  The skies cleared just in time for our real-time solar demonstration.  Visitors […]

Mechanical Ventilation & Tight Homes:  A How-to Guide

Mechanical Ventilation & Tight Homes: A How-to Guide

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a common refrain in American business.  In home construction, this is often invoked to defend the normal way of doing things over innovation.  There is good reason for aversion to change in construction.  The stakes are very high, with the threat of lawsuits a constant for builders, contractors, and manufacturers.  So I always heard industry veterans say that houses are built to […]

Hot Water: There’s Lots of Energy in that Tank!

Hot Water: There’s Lots of Energy in that Tank!

Because hot water is such a big part of our overall energy load, we designed our plumbing system to minimize the energy required for our every-day uses. We purposely located several hot water usage points in close proximity. We located the water heater next to two heavily used bathrooms so that they will get instantaneous hot water (due to a very short plumbing run). And we are sizing our PEX […]