Category Archives: Building Green

Topics related to construction trends, advancements, and technologies in green home building.

New measures in store for California Title 24 Energy Codes

I sat in on a seminar last week at the Pacific Coast Builders Convention that was directed towards the upcoming changes in store for Ca. Title 24 2016.
According to Energy Code Ace, California’s current agenda includes all new Homes being built to be zero net energy by the year 2020. A very aggressive expectation by any stretch.
One of the main objectives of the new upgrades was to make attic spaces cooler in order to extend the life of our HVAC systems. Some attics can reach 140 degrees or more in the summer months and for our systems to perform in this heat they must work much harder. Not to mention the hot air needs to be pushed through the ducts before the new cold air can be introduced.
So there are 4 alternate options being offered for roof systems.
• Apply a 1” air space between roof deck and roofing for air to move freely and keep the attic cooler. There are new systems being developed to achieve this.
• Insulate not only the ceiling but the rafters above to help keep the attic cooler.
• Don’t insulate the ceiling but ONLY the rafters above. Thereby making the attic into conditioned space. This would require the attic to have no ventilation to not allow the cool, conditioned air to escape.
• Or place all HVAC equipment and ducting in a conditioned space as in below the ceiling. This would require soffits to be built under the ceiling level to accommodate duct runs in the conditioned area.

All of these options have mandatory provisions for wrapping all ducts with min. R4 insulation, a Hers test will now be mandatory for duct leakage testing, and all roofs will be required to be Sheathed with radiant barrier roof sheathing.
Another new mandatory measure is that ALL new residential construction will be required to have continuous 1” rigid foam insulation around the entire exterior. So you might want to do your homework now for system integration of housewrap, window flashing, foam insulation, and fastening of wood siding to the foam.
The new codes are set to take effect in January of 2017.

California 2013 Title 24

California Energy Codes 2013 Part 6

The revisions to the California Energy Codes are now being enforced as of July 1, 2014.
Referred to as the “California 2013 Title 24 Part 6”
These new codes are now a part of the C.B.C., (California Building Code)  2013 Energy Codes.
Unfortunately the information contained in this revision is far too long winded to include in it’s entirety. But I’ll try to cover some of the most significant changes.
Most of the information covered here will pertain to residential low rise construction including additions and alterations. Continue reading California 2013 Title 24

Installing an Energy Recovery Ventilator to improve indoor air quality

Did you know that indoor air in our homes is 3-5 more polluted than outdoor air.
Americans spend on average 90% of our time indoors. That’s why indoor air quality is so important to our health.
Without proper ventilation your home can trap pollutants brought in from outdoors or volatile organic compounds from paints and other finishes. Not to mention mold and mildew problems from lack of moisture control.
You might want to consider an ERV, or Energy Recovery Ventilator, to properly balance fresh air intake while saving energy at he same time.
Read more about ERV’s here-

Promoting Green Building Awareness

I often wonder why so many people are so uninterested in the green building movement. But over time I’ve come to the conclusion that, if everyone really understood the wide range of effects and consequences of ignoring the importance of the green movement, they would be more inclined to accept the responsibility of doing their part.

What we need to realize is this- We are destroying our planet-

Not that we’re doing it intentionally but traditional existence has allowed us to take so much for granted. Contrary to what many of us may think-

  • We do not have an unlimited supply of water.
  • There really is such a thing as global warming.
  • We are destroying the ozone with the use of fossil fuels for our energy and transportation needs.
  • And yes, believe it or not, we are fighting wars and sacrificing tens of thousands of lives in the middle east because of our dependence on foreign oil.

As it has been said “In the past wars have been fought over oil. In the future wars will be fought over water”
More than 2 billion people on earth do not have a safe supply of water.
Americans consume more than 5 times the amount of water than our European neighbors. There are simple measures we can all take to reduce our water consumption.Things like installing water efficient plumbing fixtures like EPA water sense toilets and urinals, and water saving faucets and shower heads.Some municipalities offer rebates which offset the cost of the toilets. Or using native or adaptive plants in our landscapes and implementing measures to reduce the use of potable water for landscape irrigation.
The single most important thing we can do in this country is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We need to increase our supply of domestic alternative energy sources. Not only would this reduce the cost of energy but we would also create more jobs, and reduce damaging carbon emissions created by the use of fossil fuels.
Another overlooked amenity of green building is the reduction of indoor air pollutants thereby creating a much healthier indoor living and working environment.
These are just a few of the benefits of Green Building Awareness. You owe it to yourself, your planet, and future generations to do your part in leaving behind a healthier and safer environment.

Reap the Rewards of Proper Attic Ventilation

I recently participated in a forum about how to achieve adequate attic ventilation/insulation to allow your attic to expel excessive heat buildup in the summer and I thought, with summer right around the corner, this would be a good time to share this information.

New energy codes require attic insulation to be min R-38 which is approx. 12” of batted or blown insulation. Most older homes built prior to 1980 have R-19, or 6” of insulation above the ceiling. Continue reading Reap the Rewards of Proper Attic Ventilation

Taking Green Awareness to the Next Level

It was such a great privilege and an honor to see Robert F Kennedy Jr. speaking Friday at Sacramento’s Greenwise Conference.
It soon became obvious why he was named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 most influential people of the year” in 2008. As well as Time Magazine’s “Heroes of Our Planet.”

His flight to Sacramento arrived late which forced Mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the audience entertained while stalling for Mr. Kennedy to arrive. But the wait definitely paid off. I don’t think I’ve ever been so inspired by any speaker in my life. His passion for the green movement and promoting green awareness is unparalleled. His ability to bring a clarity to the impact of the green movement was eye opening.
Mr. Kennedy’s standout quote- Continue reading Taking Green Awareness to the Next Level

More Green Things to Know

Indoor Air Quality
Can be affected by many of the products used in the construction of your home as well as products used for cleaning and maintenance. Careful product selection during construction can significantly reduce dangerous off gassing by materials with a high voc content.
Proper ventilation can be a huge factor in a homes performance. Poor ventilation can lead to moisture build up or condensation which can cause mold and other unwanted growths. This can have adverse effects that can cause respiratory ailments and other illnesses. Continue reading More Green Things to Know

Green Things To Know

As technology advances in the world of Green Building, many products that used to be cost prohibitive have suddenly become affordable alternatives. Low and zero VOC, (volatile organic compound), paints are now a standard feature in my projects as the quality and affordability are par with conventional paints and finishes.

A little about Volatile Organic Compounds. Continue reading Green Things To Know

A Collaborative Effort for Green Building Awareness

I recently posted on twitter about how I wished that there was more collaboration between Contractors, Suppliers, Manufacturers, and Sub Contractors in promoting green building awareness. It really needs to be a concerted and collaborative effort.

When green building first started there was a lot of confusion about the concept. There were also many misconceptions about what was truly green and the effects and implications of building more energy efficient, sustainable buildings.

When new trends arise they are often greeted with skepticism and apprehension. As they evolve there are sure to be mixed interpretations and opinions. When these trends start to break into the mainstream and become more accepted then all of the sudden everyone’s slapping green labels on their products and the concept becomes diluted with false claims. As the dust begins to settle and the practice matures, which is where we are now,  we should hope to bring more clarity to the industry and the consumer. Narrow down the regulators so we can all have consistency in our teachings. Those people who have yet to embrace the ideal owe it to themselves to get on board and start learning and promoting.

Green is definitely here to stay and there’s no denying it. And the sooner we all embrace it, practice it, and educate others, the better. Live responsibly and make this world a better place for those who follow.

Phil Vanderloo