Thursday, April 25, 2013



ONE SIZE FITS ALL” is no longer the rule. Appraisers and banks evaluate a bathroom as “FULL BATH” with a tub. However, more and more families are opting for just a large walk-in shower! Depending upon your home appraiser, this could affect the value; however, if a shower is a universal design (having no curb) for convenience and wheel chair access, the appraised value could be greater.
Appliances used to all be matching – stainless and the same manufacturer brand. Today, the trend is mixing up the scheme. Double ovens no longer have to be stacked. Refrigerators no longer side by side or 30” to 40” wide. Dishwashers are raised for convenience. The placement of appliances is changing as family lifestyles change. T.V. in the kitchen along with computer stations is a must. A drop station for those transport: keys, phone, etc. 

Kitchens are downsizing and even divided into two areas instead of one big kitchen. Combining use of space is also on the minds of several home makers. 

Green trends are turning homeowners to consider downsizing and doing a makeover by recycling existing materials and products.
According to a survey by Kitchen and Bath News, over 25% said they prefer recycled materials and energy efficiency was their no. 1 concern. Some green-energy savings products include: 

·   R-100, a 1 ¼” thick counter surface that is made of recycled glass and tile by Richlite Co. 
 ·   Avalanche water closet by Gerber fixtures, a 1.28 gal. per water flush.
·   Wood counter product call “Kirei Board” made from sorghum plant stalks with no added urea formaldehyde adhesive and will not emit toxic formaldehyde.
·   Whirlpool side buildings, they are built permanently and with permanent solutions. With this, permanent solutions promote a design approach that provides multiply uses of a single element. The political differences also influence the approach, to sustainable building. Local government should immediately push for:
·   St. Charles Cabinetry provides steel case cabinets in brushed stainless with over 20 powder coated colors available for that high tech look.
·   Vetrazzo is a recycled glass that is used for countertops.
·   Icestone is also a recycled glass and concrete material used.
·   Lutron sensors and controls can save 60% on lighting energy.

Top Notch, Your pioneer for energy-efficient construction and green products for over three decades.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013



III. Durability

“Optimum Value Engineering” means advanced framing technique by your engineer. Maintaining structural integrity and cutting down on lumber and plywood requirements.
Think small, Green is to conserve space with a well designed custom “little house” perhaps with a green garden roof.

Wall air barrier inhibits air from entering and exiting the building envelope and plays an important role in energy efficiency. Wall sheathing, drywall, fiberglass, cellulous, and foam insulation materials are a big part of this barrier.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013



III. Indoor Environmental Quality

All duct connections must be sealed and tight with a UL-listed mastic product. All supply and return boot-to-house connection properly sealed and U.L. Class 1 pliable sealant or caulk.

Install hardwired CO detectors to detect build-up of carbon monoxide – a colorless and odorless gas.

Provide fresh air and ventilation throughout the house through your HVAC system. This requires an electronic air cleaner or special filter performance metric. We recommend installing a “Fresh Air” economizer system that not only provides a controlled air flow but also saves energy.

Spot ventilation is also needed for kitchen and bathrooms capable of exhausting to the outside the code required volume of air.

All living rooms (except bath and kitchen) should not exceed a pressure differential of +/- 3 parcels with respect to the outside when interior door are closed and the air handler is operating. The system must be balanced per each room.

Tub and shower surrounds must be backed with water resistant materials and in hot humid climates. Vinyl wall paper is not advised.

Paints should contain low level of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) resulting in better indoor air quality. VOC’s can off-gas from solids or liquids.

Carpets should be CRI (Carpet Rug Institute) labeled which also requires low-VOC emissions. The installation should be with low VOC tack strips and underlayment free of urea formaldehyde. If your floor area exceeds 70% of the total consider installing an approval central vacuum system.

Interior walls by bedrooms, baths and utility rooms should be acoustical sound controlled by using sound board. Second story floors should contain gyp crete or insulation, giving a coefficiency performance of 37-39, QUIET!

nstall an advanced (IEQ) equipment package – source elimination, ventilation, cleaning, purification and monitoring. HEPA filtration, germicidal lamp and other components based on your location and climate.

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Monday, April 1, 2013



Water Efficiency

Bathrooms should have low-flow efficiency fixtures. Toilets with a flush volume of 1.28  gallons per flush and a solid waste removal of 350 grams or greater. Shower heads 2.5 GPM max., lavatory faucets 2.5GPM, sink faucets 2.2GPM maximum.
For plumbing efficiency, the water heater should be at a central location or a demand-controlled recirculating pump. Code requires all hot water pipes be insulated. The clothes washer should be “energy star” qualified and a water flow (WF) less than 6.0 (water used per cu. Ft.).
If you live in an area that allows the reuse of water to install a “Gray Water” system, connect your sink, tub and shower drain lines to a holding tank for landscape use.

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