November 14, 2008

Bora-care, the Solution for Durability

A primary concern in building a LEED (USGBC’s Green Building Program) home, is creating one that is durable. Wood, while being a renewable material, is subject to decay by mold and wood-eating insects.
After much research on solutions for eco-friendly ways to prevent decay in this manner, we came across Bora-Care. “Bora-Care”, Nisus Corporation's amazing Green Solution for termites, is a non-toxic wood treatment that protects wood with a borate mineral salt (which has a low mammalian toxicity, but is still deadly to insect pests). Borate is a natural occuring mineral that is found in many fruits and vegetables that are commonly consumed.
This treatment is an amazing preventative solution, as it lasts for decades. It's perfect for new construction because it can be easily applied when the rough frame is exposed. It is recommended by LEED that the bottom 3 feet of wood around the entire structure be sprayed. To ensure the extreme durability of our sustainable home, we're spraying the entire structure bottom to top, to add an extra layer of protection from pests and fungus and to insure that the home will not need to be fumigated at any point in its life. To achieve this level of protection without sending streams of poison into the air and water is Bora-Care's guarantee.
The most effective Green pest management solution is a preventative one, and Go Green highly recommends considering Bora-Care spray for all new construction.

November 10, 2008

Taking advantage of the earth's most abundant source of energy-- The Sun!

Not only is the Go Green Home rooftop a great place for viewing the cityscape, from the beach to downtown, but now this roof is home to 30 solar panels which will provide the house with 5.6 kW of energy. This system will eliminate at least 100 tons of carbon dioxide over its 30+ year lifetime.

While the sun's abundant energy is actively utilized by the photovoltaic panels, there are also
measures of passive solar use throughout the house. Adjacent to the panels is a large skylight which will allow light to infiltrate the house throughout the day, cutting down on the need for artificial lighting. There are also several large windows facing south that welcome in the daylight all year long.

The PV panels were installed by SolarCity over a period of three days (see right). If you have been considering using solar, now is the best time to buy! The recent bailout opened the door for much larger federal rebates for PhotoVoltaic Systems; there is now a 30% tax break on the total cost (the rebate used to be capped at $2,000).

Plants have been utilizing solar energy now for millions of years, it's about time more of us start making use of this unlimited resource.

September 22, 2008

Innovative Plumbing Solutions for our Southern Californian Home

The plumbing lines have been run for the Go Green Home!

As well as a line from the city, the Go Green Home incorporates a grey water system. Reusing water from sinks, showers, and washers the system uses "grey" water to irrigate the landscaping. It is a great way to make the most of our resources, especially during droughts.

Another way the home innovates sustainability and green design is though rainwater collection. Rainwater which is collected or “harvested” can be put to use both indoors and outdoors. The rainwater catchment system prevents leaves and “first capture” to be diverted, while following rain gets filtered to insure the highest water quality, and goes on to tanks to be stored for later use. Gauges allow you to easily monitor the tank levels. Making the most of our natural resources, this system also lessens the quantity and velocity of runoff from storms, which is a concern in Urban areas.

Tankless water heaters will be installed, providing the entire home with hot water when it is needed. Unlike conventional water heaters which waste energy having to reheat stored water, tankless water heaters heat the water directly, can control temperature without fluctuations, and comparatively last over three times longer. Tankless heaters are available in either electric or natural gas. They save space; more importantly the save energy. Tankless systems use up to 50% less energy to run. It also allows the option of installing multiple heaters for separate appliances, or whole house systems for larger projects. A safer alternative to conventional tank heaters, they do not have exposed pilots, making them family friendly.

August 1, 2008

Advantages of Design-Build

Want to save time and money on your construction project?

With the design-build delivery system, the owner contracts with one entity that performs both the design and construction, vs. the more common design-bid-build process. The cooperation between designer and builder from the onset can lead to lower costs due to a more economical and constructible design.

Lower Cost: Input of builder during design phase can help determine the most cost effective design (value engineering).Know the budget and the structural approach from the beginning. In the planning phase, there is an opportunity for saving money; after that point, money can only be spent.
Speed: Time is saved using the design-build process due to the avoidance of the bid and award process
Communication: Clients and everyone involved has more information as there is communication between designer, builder, and clients throughout the process.

July 17, 2008


-A step-by-step look at the framing process-
from the ground...

to the roof top

July 11, 2008

Durability Not Digestability

To ensure the durability and life span of the structure, the wood will be treated with environmentally sound borate foam to prevent termite infestation. The borate mineral salt (in foam form) diffuses into the wood providing immediate and residual protection preventing the insects from using the wood as a food source. Best of all it’s non-toxic and there’s no offgasing so the builders,occupants, and neighbors will remain happy and healthy.

Good Wood

All lumber used in the construction of the Go Green Home is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified. This guarantees that the wood is from a certified well-managed forest, encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. We know that logging still contributes to habitat destruction, water pollution, and displacement of indigenous peoples and wildlife, so by choosing FSC certified lumber we are guaranteeing that we are not supporting these practices.

June 25, 2008

40% lumber saved

Framing obviously requires a lot of resources. However, thanks to our insulation and advanced framing techniques we were about to reduce the lumber requirements by about 30%.

With our spray foam insulation we can build 24” on center instead of 16” on center because the structural value of the foam itself provides the extra support.

In addition to having a high structural value(R-value) of 6.7 per inch, the spray foam is extremely efficient because it creates a complete insulation envelope. The insulation attaches directly to the frame so there are no gaps for air to infiltrate.

By using this thermally-efficient product, we will be able to shave off about 40% of energy costs.
Locals may be interested to know that we will be having an open house once the insulation is installed in September so you can have a chance to see it and feel it in action before the drywall goes up.

June 18, 2008

Moving forward and up!

For the next two months we will be framing the house using FCS certified wood from Jones Lumber. We've been on the ground for a while now, and excited to move up to the roof top soon. Some nice views are in store!

June 16, 2008

Foundation Wears Many Hats

The concrete foundation we poured is efficient, economical and multipurpose...

1. Made with fly ash content, this concrete is extra strong and durable and is diverting waste from landfills .
2. The concrete foundation will double as the finish for the bottom floor: simple and aesthetically pleasing.
3. This large solid concrete mass also serves as a natural medium for passive heating and cooling.
Simple and so effective!

June 13, 2008

Dwell on Design

Go Green Construction was a big hit at the Dwell on Design Show 6/5-6/8 at the LA Convention Center with over 12,000 in attendance.

We teamed up with Green Designer Giulio Zavolta of Totum Consulting to share our green services with the design-conscious attendants.

After talking to hundreds of attendees, it is clear that more and more people are deciding that green is the way to go when building.
There was a high level of interest in our Spray Foam Insulation. This high-efficiency insulation has been featured in several magazines and home improvement shows in the past few months as homeowners are becoming more concerned with energy conservation and savings.

June 10, 2008

Big Dig & Fly Ash

Here are some views of the excavation in progress.

When we finished excavating and the next step was to pour the concrete foundation.
We went with a concrete mixture which contained 30% fly ash, a byproduct of coal burning power plants. Fly ash in cement diverts waste from landfills and replaces Portland cement which is energy-intensive to process.
Check out these facts...

For every ton of fly ash used [to replace portland cement]–

· Enough energy is saved to provide electricity to an average American home for 24 days.

· The landfill space conserved equals 455 days of solid waste produced by the avg. American.

· The reduction in CO2 emissions equals 2 months of emissions from an automobile

UPDATE: Go Green Home Deconstruction

We have recently completed the deconstruction of the existing 1700 sq. foot home and finished the excavation of the site. We diverted approximately 3 tons of wood material, and 2 tons of metal from the landfill.

Part of being committed to sustainable building means being committed to sustainable deconstruction as well. While a normal demolition for a house this size would take about 1 week, we spent a full month carefully deconstructing the existing structure so that the materials could be salvaged. Working with The Reuse People and Looney Bins, we were able to recycle 95% of the “waste” from the previous structure.

The Reuse People salvaged the finishes--doors, windows, cabinets, appliances, plumbing, lighting, mirrors, etc—and resell them. We separated the rest of the materials by type and filled dumpsters in different phases… drywall, carpeting, flooring. Looney Bins then separates the materials further and redistributes them for recycling.

April 10, 2008

UPDATE: Gregorio Remodel Completed

We have finished our green remodel of the Gregorio residence in Lake Balboa, and it will be featured on the Discovery Home Channel's "Greenovate," and will air in May.
This project was chosen for the show because it exemplifies the simple choices that one can make to help save energy, water, and waste.
In the deconstruction phase we were able to divert 80% of materials from the landfill by recycling with Looney Bins.
By incorporating a significant volume of fly ash into the concrete, this industrial byproduct was diverted from landfills as well.
The addition will save energy in heating and cooling costs. The home is now insulated with Ultratouch recycled denim insulation, and has dual pane windows to help reduce thermal fluctations in the room.
The Solatube skylight installed in the closet will also help to save energy.
We installed dual-flush Toto toilets which will save a great deal of water.

This home is now a healthy and spacious environment for the Gregorio family.

Keep an eye out for a clip from “Greenovate” on our blog!