927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

Vinyl Recycling

On June 13, a vicious hailstorm ripped through northeast Calgary, Alberta, shredding siding on homes, smashing windows, destroying roofs, and stripping leaves off trees. For the city of 1.6 million, already in a deep recession, the estimated $1.2 billion in storm damages worsened many families’ already-dire situation. Among several charitable efforts to help the city recover, one manufacturer of vinyl siding offered curbside pickup of damaged material to recycle at its local plant in nearby Carstairs, Alberta. This salvage effort saved homeowners’ landfill fees and reduced the volume of material discarded.  The experience also inspired Kaycan, one of North America’s…

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The BS* + Beer Show: “DIY and High Performance”

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features Dan Hines and Nick Burger, co-founders of the D.C. Chapter of BS* + Beer, as well as a number of folks from that group discussing “DIY and High Performance.” Most people intent on buying, building, or remodeling a house want it perform at the highest level possible but money is typically tight. Dan, Nick, and D.C. guests answer questions such as: What are some things homeowners can do themselves when remodeling or building to boost performance while keeping the budget in check? Which jobs ensure the most bang for the buck?…

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Why We Need Building Sensors

My friend Jake has a great saying: “Trust but verify.” In terms of building, this means we can exercise our skills in material choices and how we assemble them to make something that we believe wholeheartedly will work. But unless we take some sort of step to actually measure and quantify performance, how will we ever be sure? How will we ever diagnose? How will we ever improve? Sure, we can wait for something to fail and forensically explore what went wrong, or we can cross our fingers and hope, but I’d rather be a bit more pragmatic. We’re at…

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Passive House 2021+ Now Offers a Streamlined Prescriptive Path to Certification

The latest Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) standard is now available for review, with a public comment period open through December 7, and an expected release early next year. Although I have been a Passive House rater for about 10 years, the lack of interest in my area (Atlanta, Climate Zone 3) has kept me from completing any projects. Cost has been an issue with single-family homes. In addition to the high cost of custom construction, there’s the required services of a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) and the necessary WUFI modeling, which can put the cost of PHIUS certification out…

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Speeding the Spread of New, Clean-Energy Technologies

To address climate change over the coming decades, all nations will need to transition to energy resources that emit less carbon. This transformation, already underway, will require many new technologies. The United States is a world leader in scientific research and technological development. But new inventions have to be brought to market and then widely adopted to have a deep impact. And in the clean energy field, the United States doesn’t do as well at making that happen as one might be expect, given its strength in basic research. The energy transition might stall if the U.S. doesn’t overcome this…

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The BS* + Beer Show: Dealing With Transitions

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features industry leaders Steve Baczek and Ben Bogie discussing the topic: “Dealing With Transitions.” Steve sets the stage by noting the many applications of the word “transitions,” which leads the conversation in unexpected directions. There are the transitions we make during the course of a career; there are transitions made from architectural plans to field work; there are those that move the client, design team, and construction crew through a project; and, of course, there are the myriad transitions made when building a house—from foundation to walls to roof. Steve shares CAD…

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