Monday, January 28, 2013

Newly Released Products

Newly Released Products: 

  • Navien America, Inc. has a gas condensing tankless water heater with 1/2 “ gas lines making it easy to install as replacement of your tank heater. 98% heating efficiency.
  •  Want tile to look and be metal? Crossville, Inc. introduces 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 wrought iron metal tiles or recycled content, available in 10 designs. 
  •  Big ass fans, top in class air flow and minimalist design has a silent motor exceeds energy star requirements by 600 percent bamboo blades. 
  •  Light sensors by Leviton monitor a room for occupancy and adjust lighting levels for LED, CFL and incandescent bulbs. 
  •  Unearthed paints has a wood hard wax oil finish that is non-toxic and VOC- free, ideal to enhance wood’s natural look. 
  • Retrofit your fluorescent fixture with the Luxadd T5 kit. Has only 3 mg of mercury vs older tubes with 28 mg of mercury. 
  • Panasonic whisper quiet energy star certified bath fan can provide 30,000 continuous hours of operation. 
 To estimate your project, go to and run your numbers . . . it’s FREE! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

There is a Difference in Insulation

There is  a Difference in Insulation
  • Blowing Insulation - water based elastomeric spray seals penetrations and joints in the building envelope. Ingredients: sand, post-consumer recycled glass and ECOSE (no formaldehyde).
  • Styrofoam Tongue & Groove insulation is even and ideal for exterior siding. R-value is 5 per inch thick.
  • Flexible foam sealant seals out allergens, moisture and pests and wont breakdown over time by Owens Corning. 
  • Fiber glass insulation is light weight and made of long resilient glass fibers with acrylic thermosetting binder and vapor-retarder plastic facing. 
  • Stone wool insulation - rigid batt compresses in walls, attics, ceilings and floors, chemically inert by Roxul, Inc.
  • Closed-cell expanded polystyrene with laminated facers. Ideal for roofs and below grades. Available in multiple sizes. 
  • Sustainable insulation by CertainTeed is fiberglass made of recycled content and plant-based binder. No formaldehyde, dyes, acrylics, or chemicals. Available in batt or roll, unfaced or kraft-faced. 

To estimate your project, go to and run your numbers . . . it’s FREE! 

Additional Taxes Increases Construction Cost

Special Notice:

The State of California Board of Equalization has assessed a 1%tax on lumber and engineered wood products effective January 1st, 2013. This could add $250.00 to a new start up project, not to mention the additional labor cost to manage more paper work required by contractors and lumberyards. This added to other tax increased will bring construction cost up by approximately 1% from 2012. So, if your prject cost 1 Million Dollars, add $10,000.00 more to your budget.

To estimate your project, go to and run your numbers . . . it’s FREE!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Earthborn Homes

As I start designing a contemporary 3 story residence tucked into a hillside in Studio City (Los Angeles) CA. It reminded me of the energy saving Earth-born homes built in the 80's using the natural Earth as an insulator for comfort and conservation. Concrete retaining walls serving as interior finished surfaces in contrast with sleek insulated sheets of glass and fine lines of horizontal strips of Brazilian wood ties it all together. A big departure from the traditional architectural styles, but far more open feeling in this crowded city. Little wonder more and more people are choosing contemporary architecture today. It's cheaper to build (except for retaining walls) than the traditional homes cladded with details, trims and plant-ons.
         I should note that by using rough construction as a finished surface does not allow for adjusting surfaces. No fir out or dry wall to cover any defects or misalignment. Architectural details should note awareness to concrete and framing sub-trades. The one-ten-one hundred rule will apply. Prevention, check and recheck, inspect and reinspect, measure and remeasure.
         F.Y.I. You can input your proposed project on, then add retaining walls the second time with the same input you did the first time and see the difference in cost to construct.