High performance EIFS sheathing product passes critical fire protection testing

According to Building Enclosure Online: Texas-based Priest & Associates Consulting, LLC., through an engineering evaluation, determined that current code-evaluated exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) adhered to DensElement Barrier System are compliant with NFPA 285. According to their evaluation, it can safely replace exterior gypsum sheathing in current code-evaluated EIFS designs. Brent Paugh, President of … Continue reading High performance EIFS sheathing product passes critical fire protection testing

Lloyd Alter on some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in green building

Once again, some thought provoking writing from longtime sustainable architect and Treehugger columnist Lloyd Alter: The best way to have our buildings use less energy is to insulate them really well. But for a long time, I have also been writing about the problems of insulating with plastic foam, even writing that Polystyrene insulation doesn’t … Continue reading Lloyd Alter on some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in green building

Santa Monica latest city to mandate seismic retrofits for older buildings

According to Rong-Gong Lin II, Raoul Rañoa and Jon Schleuss of the LA Times, the city of Santa Monica is considering a mandated seismic retrofit program: Santa Monica’s safety rules would go beyond what Los Angeles has done by requiring not only wood-frame apartments and concrete buildings to be retrofitted, but also steel-frame structures. The ordinance … Continue reading Santa Monica latest city to mandate seismic retrofits for older buildings

Google bets on massive heat pump system in pursuit of LEED Platinum at new campus

Adele Peters, writing for Fast Company: At a construction site on Google’s new Bay View campus–a few miles from its headquarters in Mountain View, on NASA-owned land near the San Francisco Bay–cranes lift tubing high in the air and drop it into holes that descend 80 feet into the ground. It’s a step that will … Continue reading Google bets on massive heat pump system in pursuit of LEED Platinum at new campus

Proof of Concept: Ultra-thin, insulated concrete roof with embedded PV

Once again, the incredibly brilliant minds at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich) have announced innovative processes and materials for a better built environment. Phys.org has the story: Researchers from ETH Zurich have built a prototype of an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof using innovative digital design and fabrication methods. The tested novel formwork system will be … Continue reading Proof of Concept: Ultra-thin, insulated concrete roof with embedded PV

The 2 questions every builder needs to be asking to drive real innovation

Lloyd Alter, writing for Treehugger: According to Jacob Atalla of KB Home, “The best way to predict the future is to make it.” So he and others in the building industry often build model concept homes to test out ideas. Michele Lerner of the Washington Post talks to a few people in the industry to … Continue reading The 2 questions every builder needs to be asking to drive real innovation

New concrete product claims to be more earthquake resistant AND more sustainable

Concrete is a really amazing building product that provides strength and protection, particularly when reinforced with steel, or when combined with various admixtures. Unfortunately, concrete is extremely costly to produce in terms of its environmental impact. By some accounts, concrete production results in the release of a ton of carbon, for every ton of concrete. … Continue reading New concrete product claims to be more earthquake resistant AND more sustainable

Gypsum Association hurricane and flooding resources for homeowners and professionals

Drywall is a funny name for gypsum-based wallboard. Gypsum itself contains a good deal of water as it is typically formed from the evaporation of saline water. When heated, some of the water is evaporated, but the typical Flue-Gas Desulfurization (FGD) gypsum that makes up about 50% of the gypsum products used in the US still contains quite a bit of water.

In fact, the presence of water allows for one of gypsum wallboard’s most important applications in the built environment — fire protection. As gypsum is heated, that water is released as steam, retarding the spread of fire.

Continue reading “Gypsum Association hurricane and flooding resources for homeowners and professionals”

CBS on the impact of the skilled labor shortage on homebuilders, and the economy

Television, unless it is available to stream via Hulu, Netflix or HBO Go, isn’t something I watch much of. CBS apparently aired an impressive program highlighting the impact of the skilled labor shortage on the construction industry, and the resulting impact on the rest of our economy and infrastructure. Here’s an excerpt: America’s economy has … Continue reading CBS on the impact of the skilled labor shortage on homebuilders, and the economy