Greenest siding on the planet, among other things - Fine Homebuilding

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Better than Plumb

Better than Plumb

Greenest siding on the planet, among other things

comments (2) January 21st, 2009 in Blogs
Kevini Kevin Ireton, editor-at-large

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

Comments (2)

MikeGuertin MikeGuertin writes: That siding caught my eye as well. The repeating leaf pattern wasn't appealing and I have a feeling that any building clad with it would look all the much worse.

I'm kind of wondering when they'll develop florescent orange siding so I can find my hunting cabin after a day of tramping through the forest. I hate it when my GPS batteries die and I'm left sleeping under a pile of real leaves or the carcass of my latest game (though the pheasant wasn't too much help last time).

One recommendation on the computer problem. Set the auto-save function on your word processor for 30 seconds and have it save to an external flash drive. It will save you the thousand or so $ it cost you when you smashed the computer out of frustration.
Posted: 9:34 am on January 27th

astersia astersia writes: A couple thoughts on the camouflage:

Like window reflections, this may be great way to fool birds into thinking they're approaching a tree, and smack, another one bites the dust.

On the other hand, while this may look like "realistic" to humans, perhaps birds are smarter than we are

My homeowners association mandates home in "earth tones", which has resulted in a really bland development. It is so tempting to put this on my house and challenge the rules.

Posted: 9:03 am on January 27th

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