new construction trends AND building materials, home maintenance OR A SIMPLE DIY PROJECT
........you'll find it here at our tnc blog!
........you'll find it here at our tnc blog!
"Green building" is a term that we in the construction industry are very familiar with and the desires for a "green home" are becoming more and more popular if not required!
From the simplicity of installing a "tankless" water heater to more complicated innovations like "greywater" plumbing systems, we're all looking for ways to make our "footprints" less noticeable whether out hiking through a pristine natural environment or through our day to day living within our homes.
The technology for green building and living continues to grow with new and amazing products for both the commercial industry as well as our homes. On the commercial end take for example, "self-healing concrete". What? "Healing concrete"!!!?? Yes! At Bath University in the UK "researchers are aiming to develop a novel self-healing concrete that uses an inbuilt immune system to close its own wounds and prevent deterioration." (the link for this article can be found here: http://www.bath.ac.uk/research/news/2014/12/03/micro-capsules-and-bacteria-to-be-used-in-self-healing-concrete/ and the youtube.com video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7frDSx9js8) AMAZING! When you think about the real problems we're having here in the US (and the world) for failing infrastructure, this new concrete is a game changer world wide! Take a look at the video, you won't be disappointed.
So, how does this translate down to you and your desire to update your existing home or the construction of an entirely new home? Well, it's all about "ZNE".
What's "ZNE" you ask?
California is aggressively pursuing a goal of Zero Net Energy (ZNE) for all new residential construction by 2020, and they are reaching this goal by implementing a stricter set of building codes with tighter regulations for energy efficiency this year. As California charges towards their ZNE goal, the Golden State will be leading the way for other states to follow. Which means that ZNE building will soon be the standard for all construction in the years to come. So how does this effect you the homeowner? Two things. 1) the costs to implementing some of these requirements can add to the cost of construction in the beginning........ 2) The savings in your monthly energy bill and quite possible the income you can make by selling your "unused" power back to the grid (not to mention the possible tax write offs) are well worth the added costs. Under these new standards, builders must install a list of mandatory energy efficiency measures (minimum features that all buildings must include) and can choose one of two design and construction methods - the prescriptive or performance approach - to achieve the remaining energy efficiency requirements. Here's how that breaks down:
The prescriptive approach is a set of additional features (cool roof, insulation, floors, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning [HVAC] and so forth) that meet the minimum threshold for energy efficiency in each of California’s 16 climate zones.
The performance approach determines annual energy performance based on design features of the proposed building/home.
I know all this can sound rather daunting to you the homeowner when considering your construction needs, but don't be alarmed. From the start you'll want to make sure that your Contractor is aware of the new requirements and can help you in determining what applications are right for you, your project and the costs involved. Below are just a sampling of some of the green building products and applications that you can use in your home:
Cooling roofs and green roofs
Natural insulation from wool, hemp, foam and recycled denim
Greywater plumbing systems
Smart windows: thermally broken, triple-glazed, or dynamically changing tints
Eco-friendly flooring from bamboo and recycled materials
Air purifying and zero-VOC paints
Counter tops and cabinets from recycled, salvaged, and sustainable materials
Efficient lights with fixtures made from recycled materials
Low-flow faucets and shower heads and compostable toilets
ENERGY-STAR approved smart appliances
Whole-home energy monitoring systems and mobile apps
Xeriscaping - landscaping with low water plants
All in all these products/applications will be a benefit to both you the homeowner as well as our "blue planet". So don't let the thought of ZNE scare you! Just make sure whomever you chose as the Contractor for your project is not only aware but understands the new ZNE requirements and can guide you in making the right decisions. Here at TNC, we know exactly where to make your dollar stretch when it comes to ZNE building requirements/codes and practices. With TNC as your Contractor we're right there with you every step of the way. It's an exciting new path we're all on together to make our world an even better place to work and live.........and we'll get there together.
Termites and dry rot are the two extremely harmful forces which can destroy your home. Both conditions look similar but they’re comparatively different from each other. There are certain distinctions which you should know to treat them separately.
Subterranean Termites & Dry Rot
As most of us know, termites are small insects which destroy and eat your precious wood. Their nourishment is largely based on the cellulose present inside the wood. So, they consume the inner part of the wood and make it useless and hollow. Termites will crawl out of their colonies up through cracks in your foundation or when the colony becomes too large, it will split (much like bees do) and swarm looking for a new place to colonize………and you don’t want that new colony to set up residence inside your home! The fungi that causes dry rot creates channels in your homes wood. It creates these channels inside the wood by consuming wood and carrying water. On the other hand, termites dig tubes by chewing on the cellulous in your wood which is then dissolved by the enzymes in their saliva.
How to Control Termites and Dry Rot
Keeping your homes perimeter, crawls spaces and basement dry are first and foremost when it comes to prevention. One of the number once causes we find when working on a client’s home is lack of proper ventilation. For homes without a basement, the crawl space under your house needs to breathe and have air circulating freely to help keep it try during rainy months. Positive ventilation both around the perimeter of your home above the foundation as well as your attic space is one of the most important preventative measures you can take to keep your homes structure clean and dry and discourage both termites and dry rot. No need to worry about rodents either! Today’s vents are made to prevent entry by rodents of all shapes and sizes. Secondly, any leaky pipes, roofs, improperly installed windows and doors, etc. left uncheck and uncorrected will slowly but surely destroy your home and cause extensive damage. Ventilation of at least two square feet per 25 lineal feet of wall or one square foot for every 500 square feet of crawl space should exist under buildings. Home inspections are vital to pinpointing problems and giving the homeowner a time line for needed repairs before a small problem becomes a large and expensive venture!
Site prep for new construction is key as well. Proper grading to encourage water to flow away from your home, proper venting and gutters with down spouts leading to a drainage basin are all necessary measures in keeping your home dry. Additionally, vapor barriers can be used on soil surfaces under the home and in crawl spaces as well to help keep moisture from building up can make a difference in areas with high humidity.
How to Treat Existing Dry Rot and Wood Rot Fungus
Borates such as Bora-care and Timbor are labeled for remedial treatment of wood decay & fungi. These products may be applied directly by brushing, spraying, or injection. But remember this is a temporary fix and will only stop the advancement of the rot and fungus. Fungi will begin to die a few days after treatment and will dry up, though dead fungi will sometimes emit an odor as they decompose. This should only last a couple days and may be relieved with circulation of fresh air into the area.
Chemical control of wood decay fungi will NOT strengthen or repair the wood itself. Damaged wood should be replaced and moisture reduction and control efforts should also accompany repairs.
The same goes for damage caused by a termite infestation. Wood that has suffered heavy damage should be removed and replaced following tenting to ensure the structural integrity of your home, keeping your floors level and your wall and roof strong!
Remember; it’s best to fix a small problem before it becomes a larger one. If you think you may have a problem with either termites or dry rot, call a Contractor you trust to come out and inspect your home. It will be money well spent to extend both the life and overall value of your property.
© COPYRIGHT 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Be sure to check us out at the bbb.org! While you're there do also check out the reviews for YELP! Quite surprising and eye-opening! We've had some great reviews posted to our YELP page, all "5 Stars". But YELP controls what reviews you the public actually see if any! If a business owner is not willing to use YELP advertising services, they essentially list your reviews as "not recommended". YELP does not represent the "true views of the public" as they say they do! You can see our great YELP reviews if you scroll down and click on "reviews not recommended" they are only there because we won't play into YELPS dishonest practices! Many business owners you'll see on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) DO NOT endorse or recommend YELP for true and honest reporting.