Archive for the 'Building Materials' Category

Chinese drywall

I was flabergasted when I saw the news report regarding the Chinese drywall a few weeks ago, and relieved for my clients when I learned that this drywall was predominately sold to large tract builders.   That is, if you purchased your drywall from Home Depot, Lowes, etc, it is unlikely that you received this toxic material.

Here is an update post regarding a class action lawsuit:,2624,HPRO_26526_5942046,00.html?nl=HGPro_v212c_Top5-Chinese

The defective drywall emits sulfur compounds that corrode air conditioning coils, and damages other metals on items inside the home, including jewelry, chrome, silverware and copper wiring inside electrical outlets.  Also,  people who live in homes with the drywall have reported health complaints, from nosebleeds, headaches and nausea to respiratory problems. 

It has been found now in 41 states.

By the way, we still have financing available for owner-builders in most states…  most programs require 20% down.


BUILDMAX article in “Family Home Plans”

Follow this link to excellent article in the Family Home Plans digital magazine Fall 2008, titled “the Upside of the Downturn in Home Construction”.

360 Rotating Wall Outlet

New product introduced at the Builder’s show… a great solution to bulky plugs!  Check it out.. may be worth it to install in one area of your new home!

Recycled Glass countertops

A client sent me this link for countertops he intends on using for his project…. very nice!  Take a look!

Earth Day!

My family is currently considering building a home in the Santa Fe area, and so I have begun to gather GREEN ideas that are not too costly to implement. I do welcome your finds in this area.

Recently saw the new flush toliets; a button on the back of the toliet lets you choose a half-flush or a full flush! Now that is cool! Find more information here:

Another area is working in solar power for outdoor lighting needs- not your Walmart solar path lights.. but on a grander scale. Look here for lots of ideas:

Also to consider are devices that will completely cut power to outlets to save on current being sucked out even while the appliances are off. I have seen power strips that can do this, or even a remote control unit.

Definitely to consider are the tankless water heaters; I had one in my previous home in Montana.. loved it! I believe I discussed this in an earlier post including rebates available for them.

Wind power- our area receives seasonal spring winds… why not harness some of this? OK, yes, these big systems are still costly, but how about the new HYmini?
This unit puts wind power into a handset, storing electricity for small devices like cellphones. HEY.. every little bit counts!

Please note that lenders still require homes to be on the grid- plan on hooking up, but using the alternative power sources to lesson your usage, and to lesson your carbon imprint!


“Green” Insulation

I enjoy watching Sara Snow’s “LIVING FRESH” show on Discovery Channel, and was intrigued by the most recent show which took her to the warming hut at Crissy Field (part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy).  The hut has been remodeled ‘eco-friendly’ to include insulation made from recycled blue jeans!

Googling this insulating material, found a terrific site that discusses alternative insulating materials:  , which tells you more than I can!  Take a look!

Choosing a water heater

The new Energy Policy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 will give homeowners a $300 tax credit on their personal income tax for those who install a high-efficiency gas, oil, or propane water heaters with an energy factor (EF) of at least 0.80.

One company who manufactures a water heater that meets this specification is Noritz.  You can find them at .      Their list price is $999-1200, for the tankless water heaters, applicable to natural gas, oil, or propane use.

The new Energy Policy Tax Incentives will be in effect from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2007.   For more information go to


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