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Maine and Oregon Address the Problem of Packaging Waste

This post originally appeared at The Conversation, and was co-authored by Jessica Heiges and Kate O’Neill. Most consumers don’t pay much attention to the packaging that their purchases come in, unless it’s hard to open or the item is really over-wrapped. But packaging accounts for about 28% of U.S. municipal solid waste. Only some 53% of it ends up in recycling bins, and even less is actually recycled: According to trade associations, at least 25% of materials collected for recycling in the U.S. are rejected and incinerated or sent to landfills instead. Local governments across the U.S. handle waste management,…


3 Ways to Keep Gutters Running Free

One of these guards won’t totally free you of ladder duty, but it could buy you time between checkups. Mesh-screen caps How they work: A vinyl, plastic, or metal grid sits atop the gutter, letting water in while keeping leaves out. Your job: Brushing aside any accumulated debris from time to time to prevent runoff from cascading over the face of the gutter. The cost: Seamless, pro-installed systems start near $5 per linear foot, while snap-on DIY options, which are more visible, start at about 33 cents per foot. Foam inserts How they work A porous foam that fits half-round…


A Manor House and a Schoolhouse in the German Countryside

I was in an old bookshop in Dublin, of all places, escaping the cold and leafing through a book called The Foraged Home, when I stopped on a spread of an old schoolhouse in Germany and was instantly entranced. I hurried back to my hotel room to do some Google reconnaissance and discovered more to the story: Tucked in the Mecklenburg countryside, near the rural village of Rensow, the Schoolhouse and a nearby Manor House are the project of Danish/German couple Christina and Knut. The couple was living in Copenhagen, where Christina is from, before finding the late 17th-century Manor House (“almost…


Converted Shipping Containers Provide Safety During the Pandemic

This article originally appeared in the United States Green Building publication, USGBC+ magazine. Photos courtesy of Studio 804. It was a confluence of factors that led to the retrofitting of 12 shipping containers to serve as private housing for people experiencing homelessness during a pandemic. Located at the Lawrence Community Shelter, 45 minutes from Kansas City, Missouri, Monarch Village is a response to the need for quarantining. When COVID-19 hit, the shelter’s congregate housing (a large warehouse filled with bunk beds) made isolating impossible, which compounded the health safety risks to the already-vulnerable population. Meanwhile, Dan Rockhill was looking for his…


Remodeling 101: A Guide to the Only 6 Wood Flooring Styles You Need to Know

Reclaimed or salvaged wood can be any kind of wood with any kind of finish, so long as the wood itself isn’t new. “You do have to treat it differently than new wood,” says Margolies, including paying attention to filling voids and such. The Hudson Company works mostly with reclaimed white oak, heart pine, similar softwoods such as cedar and redwood, and sometimes maple. (See more of Margolies’s insights on this topic in Expert Advice: The Ins and Outs of Reclaimed Wood Flooring.) Know that reclaimed wood floors are extremely versatile style-wise, and the aesthetic depends on your preference: a reclaimed wood…


The BS* + Beer Show: Building Diagnostics in New Construction

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features guests Steve Rogers and Jake McAlpine of The Energy Conservatory, and Bryan Uhler of Pioneer Builders discussing “Building Diagnostics in New Construction.” They share real-world scenarios in which diagnostic technologies have helped solve problems; and they touch on ways to identify leaky ducts and types of leaks, how to direct air for better comfort, when to run a blower-door test during a build, and zonal pressure diagnostics. They also share what is in their tool kits, and when and how to combine technologies. The takeaway: Using diagnostic tools can lead to…

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