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Transformation of the Week by:
My sister put granite countertops in a high end log home she and her husband built.
They also heated it with wood stoves and fireplaces.
The granite breakfast bar was such a heat sink that you couldn't have breakfast on it. Your eggs were cold before the second bite.
We were taliking about it the other day. She would now do laminate. It comes in huge variety of colors, and paterns, and is easy enough to change out that she could change the color scheme of the kitchen every year if she wanted.
And personally, it used to be a high end item, but with it in every double wide, it looses that luster.
I'm designing a new kitchen for my house. 84-inches of stainless at the sink, a seamless commercial double basin, with integral 32-inch drain board on one side, 12-inch drain on the other, integral front drop like a farm sink. Laminate for the rest of the counter with a maple front edge, so it is extremely easy to peel off and replace the laminate. Butcher block on the island. With a slab of marble, (sink cutout) I can set on the island if I need a cold surface for making pastries, bread or candy.
RE the roofers picture: The first thing I notices is none of the 4-guys on the roof has on a fall arrest system. Looks like 4 OSHA violations to me.
I kind of agree with Sterling: We should let the free market decide. The problem is that too few people have any level of skill needed to determine what is or is not a real energy saver, and what is pure snake oil. It is pretty common sense that if your house leaks conditioned air to the exterior, at a rate of 1% of the hvac system capacity, instead of 5%, it is pretty intuitive that you will save on the energy required to condition the air.
The blower test is pretty simple to perform. If you had the equipment onsite, (I expect to see most builders invest in the equipment), then it is pretty straight forward to test as you go. Checking the building as soon as you are dried in, makes it easy to correct any issues with the house wrap, window flashing, door seals, etc.
Irrespective of the LBP rules: Remember that OSHA has seperate lead paint rules that protect workers.
And, they can be far mor eonerous. Periodic blood testing, full respiration gear, and a test for each job site to determine the level of hazard.
I read this and see that there is a lot of confusion on the issue.
Both on the part of builders, but also on the part of the officials at other entities such as the water purveyor, and fire marshals, etc. who have to be involved.
As the author said in the article there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in educating everyone to the "what’s and how’s" of the residential systems.
If the fire departments, or fire marshal, are making the installation problematic, it is because they are ignorant of the differences in the residential and commercial systems. They need more training.
The water utilities are concerned because of the potential to get stagnant water into the household system, and possibly back into the main. Again it is because the American Water Works Standards and EPA direction aren't clear on how to handle the new residential systems.
I tend to believe a cost figure of around $1.50 per square foot is a reasonable estimate. I just did the initial design to relocate and rehabilitate several modular housing units, and included an estimated cost to include sprinkler systems. I'm a facilities engineer for the Forest Service, so I am the one who gets to make the decisions regarding the water system connection. I'm just looping the cold water in feed line for the water the length of the building, to keep it active. The materials were about $0.75 per foot.
In our situation a sprinkler system makes sense: The nearest volunteer structural fire department is going to be at least ten minutes away, and at several sites will be an hour or more away. I have people living in these, and help is going to be a long time coming.
I look at it as being akin to the confusion and high costs associated with working with SIPS for those who haven't used them. Once people do one job with them, or actually research how to work with them, the quoted costs go down.
Perhaps Taunton should start a series of articles on how they work, and how to install them correctly to help educate people on the real requirements of designing, building and maintaining the residential sprinkler systems.
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