Juliet Grable

Mid-Rise Wood Frame Construction Projects Receive Development Grants

Architects and builders are looking to wood as a sustainable alternative for mid-rise construction.

THE COUNTY'S FIRST mid-rise wood frame construction projects will soon be going up, one on each coast. These buildings will rely on mass timber construction, a category that includes engineered beams, or glulams, and the less familiar cross-laminated timber panels.

Report: PVC Still Problematic

The vinyl industry claims it is greening its products, but the manufacture, use and disposal of PVC still poses significant environmental and health issues.

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE, OR PVC, is ubiquitous in the building industry. Versatile and cheap, it’s found in nearly every part of the building, from roofing membrane, siding and floor coverings to electrical wiring and plumbing.

Targeting Net-Zero Organic Waste with Compost Systems

By integrating compost systems into your projects, you can save your clients money and provide them a useful resource.

IF YOU'RE A GREEN building professional, you likely design and build homes that conserve water and energy once they’re occupied. But what about the waste these homes produce?

Net Zero Neighborhood

The 42 homes in this Seattle micro-community are super efficient and solar ready.

THE RAINIER VISTA COMMUNITY, located in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, began as a partnership between Dwell Development and the Seattle Housing Authority in 2010. Dwell Development’s owner, Anthony Maschmedt, committed to building 15 homes using green building techniques and high-performance technology that would help homeowners conserve resources and cut costs. The excitement and demand generated by the project led to an additional 36 homes over five years. The last home was completed and sold in July 2015.

Game-Changing Design

Will the cookie-cutter McMansion give way to homes that are powered by renewable energy, reflect the environment and restore sites?

As important as energy efficiency is, it’s only one component of truly sustainable design. But other concerns are converging to drive a more holistic approach. Indoor air quality is one; resource conservation is another. Water is drawing up alongside energy as an urgent issue, as people are (finally) making the connection between water and energy use.

The Changing Face of Home Security

The newest residential security systems are incorporating smart home technology and greater user control.

THE HOME SECURITY INDUSTRY is undergoing a transformation. As intrusion detection merges with “smart home” technology, new markets are opening up. Fully integrated systems not only lock and unlock doors and trigger alarms, but control window shades, lighting and thermostats and monitor for carbon monoxide and fires. “End users” are taking more control of their systems, monitoring them from smartphones and other mobile devices. A proliferation of wireless products is even enabling homeowners to cobble together their own systems.

Mainstreaming Zero-Energy Homes

Making high-performance homes easier to build and more affordable will convince both builders and homeowners to go net zero.

The concept of a building that generates at least as much energy as it consumes, as calculated on a net-annual basis, is one that more and more people outside of the building professions are getting their heads around.

Behind the Walls: VISION House at Mariposa Meadows

Green Builder Media is making steady progress toward building durable, resilient and energy-efficient structures in Colorado’s high country.

Compared to the rest of the country, it’s been a quiet fire season in Colorado. The wet spring weather also produced a bountiful crop of wildflowers at Mariposa Meadows, Green Builder® Media’s ambitious VISION House® project in southern Colorado. Progress has been slow but steady, as the team lays the groundwork for what will eventually serve as the Green Builder® Media Sustainability Institute.

Durable Siding Options: Side By Side

Making sustainable siding choices requires looking at many factors: the embodied energy of the product, impact on water and other resources required during manufacturing, local or regional availability, types of finishes used and recycling potential.

NOT TOO LONG AGO, Not too long ago, if you were building a house in this country, there were only three major cladding options—brick, stucco or wood—and the choice was largely determined by your region. After World War II, aluminum siding took center stage, and in the 1980s, vinyl began its ascendancy. Today, the field has expanded. And while vinyl is still king, fiber cement is making inroads, and other cladding options are experiencing a resurgence. Wood, which inspires so many of the alternatives, makes up but a small fraction of the cladding of new homes. 

Low VOC Paints, Stains and Finishes

Paints, stains and finishes protect materials and add beauty to building exteriors. Here’s a guide to choosing products that are beautifully sustainable, too.

We expect a lot out of the coatings that protect siding, trim and other parts of a building exterior. Paints, stains and finishes must be resistant to moisture, mold and the constant exposure to UV radiation. And of course they must add beauty to the materials. Modern chemistry allows coatings to perform, but not without costs. Most paints and finishes are high in embodied energy, and since home exteriors are repainted frequently—on average, every five to 10 years—coatings can add significantly to a building’s carbon footprint.


Subscribe to Juliet Grable