Greenest siding on the planet, among other thingscomments (2) January 21st, 2009 in Blogs
Yesterday started at 6:00 am with a 3-mile run on the Vegas Strip, and it ended around 1:00 am this morning when my computer froze up as I was trying to post this blog. I lost what I had written and gave up on my goal of posting every day. So sue me.
I spent most of yesterday in Fine Homebuilding's booth, but that's okay because I think we've got the coolest green product at the show, or at least my colleagues at Green Building Advisor do. In a partnership with Building Green, we've just launched a Web site devoted to green building that includes product information, case studies, over a thousand building details (downloadable as CAD drawings), Blogs, forums and more. We're hoping it's going to be THE place on the Web for anyone serious about green building. The reactions from builders yesterday were a promising start.
The weirdest product I saw yesterday, but arguably still very green, was camouflage siding (I'm not making this up). It's a vinyl siding covered with a film of some sort. As I tried to think of why anyone would want such a product, here's what I came up with: Given how many ugly houses we build every year in this country, at least with this siding they'll be less visible.
The most annoying demonstration I've seen at the show so far is the pitching machine at the Typar booth. They are introducing a new impact-resistant housewrap called Stormwrap. And to demonstrate it's toughness they've stretched a piece of Stormwrap across a wooden frame and are pitching Major-League fastballs at it from 10 ft. away. It's an impressive demonstration, as is the idea that housewrap might make a building a little more hurricane resistant. But the Typar booth is directly across from Fine Homebuilding's booth, and every time they launch a baseball we all jump out of our skins at the loud whuuump of the ball hitting the Stormwrap.
Although, I didn't get out of the booth much, I did ask everyone I met if they had seen anything impressive. Late in the day, one guy told me about a neat dual fuel heating system that Lennox was introducing. I snuck out to take a look and shoot a picture. Turns out that Lennox has combined a gas- (or oil-) fired furnace with an air-to-air heat pump so that you get the efficiencies of booth. Below about 20-deg. the furnace kicks in and above that the heat pump. Apparently dual-fuel systems have been around for years but they were very complicated to install so no one promoted them. Lennox says they've made the combo more efficient and easier to install. When I asked if I was essentially buying two heating systems, I got the following explanation: "The heat pump costs about as much as adding an air conditioner to your heating system, but instead you get both air conditioning and more efficient heating."
Attendance, by the way, is definitely down. Summing up his impressions yesterday, Alan Heavens of the Philadelphia Inquirer told me, "If I wanted to attend funerals, I could have stayed home." We'll see if things pick up today. I'm hoping it was just slow yesterday because everyone stayed home to watch the inauguration.
posted in: Blogs, business, energy efficiency, green building, water and moisture control, hvac, siding
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About this blog
As the editor of Fine Homebuilding, I spend my weekdays trying to produce a magazine that will satisfy 300,000 of the most demanding builders, both professional and amateur. As the owner of a 200-year old Cape in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, I spend weekends working on my house.
Each activity invariably informs, and complicates, the other. In this blog, I’ll offer observations from both worlds -- publishing and building -- with the hope of providing some useful or at least entertaining insights.