Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Natural, Low VOC and Zero VOC Paint for Clean Air

We have been looking for paints that are natural, Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or Zero VOC. Low VOC paints.

Painting with eco friendly paint has taken a little time and effort just to find the paint itself.

I have heard that the paint may not cover as well, so more coats of paint may be needed.

Some eco-friendly paints may have to be ordered by the store upon specific request. Therefore a paint project requires some advance planning just to have the correct supplies.

Painting with an eco friendly paint is safer for the environment than most commonly used paints.

Eco friendly paints are less toxic and less likely to cause allergic reactions. Painting with eco friendly paint takes a special effort, but pays off in better health and a healthier environment.

Here are some paints we have looked at:


We have opted for Sherwin-williams because their Harmony paint has no VOC and has great colors.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010



Seamless Protection

Unlike common batt insulations, GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation is sprayed into walls and cavities, creating a continuous blanket of protection from energy leaks. This monolithic blanket, combined with GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation's high R-value, enhance the energy efficiency of the home.

Studies of actual buildings show that cellulose-insulated buildings use as much as 26% less energy than similar buildings insulated with typically installed fiberglass at the same R-value. One reason for this is the ability of cellulose to control air infiltration.

Uncontrolled air leakage through exterior walls and ceilings is almost as important as R-value in determining how much energy will be required to heat and cool a building. GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation is very effective at greatly reducing air infiltration; it fills cavities and around obstructions filling cracks and seams.
Install GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation for Effective Insulation throughout Your Structure

The building envelope plays many roles in the proper function of the entire structure. It serves as the thermal barrier and the air pressure barrier of the building. The systems approach to design and construction ensures that GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation will perform to meet a wide range of structural demands.

Construction and workmanship are critical to building envelope performance. The examples below illustrate effective installation techniques for addressing varying conditions, from foundation to attic.

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High R-value

GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation is manufactured in specially designed mills that separate cellulose fibers. This technique produces less dust and the fibers are more uniform in size to provide the maximum possible R-value. These fibers remain uniform, so they won't lose their ability to block air movement through the years.

GreenFiber also maintains R-value even under extreme cold conditions. The insulation's seamless monolithic blanket ensures that R-values are not compromised. The R-value and density of GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation reduce air flow and help homeowners realize energy savings.*

*Savings vary. Find out why in the seller's fact sheet on R-values. Higher R-values mean greater insulating power.

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Achieve Full Insulating Potential with the Systems Approach to Design and Installation

Modern buildings consist of thousands of components that shape large functional interrelated systems. When all the components of these systems work together, the results are dramatic: maximum safety, durability, comfort and efficiency throughout the structure.

That's the systems approach to building design. And it is the approach that can help you achieve thermal performance and insulation value with GreenFiber Cocoon Insulation.

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Effective Thermal Installation

Insulation plays a crucial role in the building envelope system. It is important that insulation be in direct contact with the pressure barrier. The pressure barrier is the plane commonly made of drywall that separates the conditioned area of a building from the unconditioned area. Adherence to these guidelines will produce an effective thermal boundary:

No Gaps

Gaps commonly occur in the thermal boundary when insulation covers too short or too narrow an area for a stud cavity.

No Voids

Holes in the thermal boundary allow unwanted heat gain during the summer and heat loss during the winter. Typical problem areas are knee walls, stairs on exterior walls, vaulted ceilings, tubs or tub and shower stalls, and utility shafts.

No Compression

Insulation achieves its full R-value only when it is allowed to remain at its full thickness.

No Misalignment

Misalignment occurs when there is a separation between the insulation and the air barrier. This space allows air to circulate inside or through the cavity resulting in a decrease in insulation performance.

No Wind Intrusion

In attics, wind can enter the insulation through soffit vents and reduce R-value. Therefore, wind baffles properly installed prior to insulating can prevent wind intrusion.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


We have been trying to find a "green" stucco and have discovered the company called Eco Stucco. Their product looks amazing! Below is some information from their website

Natural Plasters

Natural plasters unlike cement and acrylic plasters require
little processing and energy to produce. They include those
made of clay, gypsum, and lime. Clay and gypsum plasters are more delicate. They tend to be rather soft and water soluble and therefore they are reserved for interior work. Lime plaster is used in interior and exterior settings, providing excellent protection against the elements.
Clay plaster is pleasant to work with. Unlike gypsum or cement plasters, clay plaster offers a longer setting time allowing for a more relaxed work pace. It creates velvety finishes and warm environments. While clay is easy to repair, it can also be easily damaged – a downside to consider in high traffic areas.
Gypsum plaster is widely available in North America and when used indoors it can last a lifetime. The potential release of chemical additives into the air may affect air indoor quality for several years however. .Although relatively easy to work with, gypsum plaster sets up very fast and therefore may require more labor.
Lime plaster is the most durable natural plaster. It cures over time providing a hard limestone finish. As history shows, it can withstand hundreds of years of weather. Flexible, it is less prone to cracking as walls expand and contract due to temperature changes or variations in moisture levels. In addition lime plaster shrinks minimally when it drie, which reduces risks of cracking as well. Another advantage is that the alkaline nature of lime inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. Lastly it feels warm in the winter and cool in the summer –
thanks to a typical low thermal conductivity.

Monday, March 29, 2010

ORG San Diego is GREEN!

Save Fifteen Days a Year and Live Sustainably with ORG Home Organization

San Diego, CA – Homeowners interested in healthy living and sustainability have an easy and satisfying way to help reach those goals. Living in an organized home relieves stress, and saves time and money. It also eliminates the need to consume fuel and make wasteful purchases to replace misplaced items that a homeowner actually has at home.

A 2008 consumer study by the National Association of Professional Organizers found that more than half of respondents would save upwards of 16 minutes to one hour a day if they were more organized. That translates into anywhere from two to 15 days a year being wasted.

Imagine having 15 more days a year to spend doing what you enjoy the most. Living a more organized life not only saves time, it’s a better scenario for mental and physical health than chaotically triple-checking rooms for a missing checkbook, or hunting for something critically needed. Homeowners that go from knowing “it’s somewhere,” to knowing “exactly where,” live a more efficient and less stressful lifestyle. If you’re organized, you’re already thinking sustainably. Sustainability is ultimately a quest to live in a healthier household, community and global environment. Being organized is a good start towards achieving that goal and is an element of living sustainably that is often overlooked.

Being organized can make a difference with something as simple as baking soda or cinnamon. It’s irritating to make a special trip to the store for something you discover wasn’t needed after all. With an organized pantry, you see what you need, so ingredients won’t be forgotten and won’t go to waste. “By having a well designed space, you gain efficiency and ultimately there will be less waste,” said Shanon Chilson, President of ORG San Diego, a company specializing in home organization solutions.. “It becomes easy to be a more intentional consumer – you can see what you have in your pantry, closet or garage for example, eliminating duplicate purchases. And by integrating organizing systems for recycling and charity donations, it makes the process simple and can become part of your daily or weekly routine.”

The solutions from ORG San Diego create efficiency and save space in a homeowner’s closet, kitchen, garage, pantry, laundry and home office. “Our organization solutions are custom-designed to meet the homeowner’s exact organization requirements, and also their aesthetic needs with a range of styles and finishes.” Chilson said. “We are also equally committed to providing the best home service experience our customers have ever had. With the combination of busy families trying to fit lots of “stuff” into their homes, people are screaming for help to organize it all. We offer smart storage solutions and so do some of our competitors. But none of our competitors can touch our customer service. Our pledge to each and every customer is to provide exceptional service from our first call to final installation. In that, we are unique.” Chilson said.

While ORG San Diego provides solutions that deliver a greener lifestyle for homeowners, ORG products are also manufactured with eco-friendly materials that are less impactful to the environment and healthier for homeowners. The ORG panels contain 100 percent recycled and/or recovered wood fibers, and are certified as compliant with the California Air Resource Board (CARB) Phase I emission standards. ORG panels are certified by the Composite Panel Association (CPA), the only environmental certification program that has achieved ANSI accreditation. ORG is also an EPP (Environmentally Preferred Product) Downstream licensed company, which demonstrates its environmental commitment by purchasing CPA EPP certified composite wood products. In addition, the particleboard sheets used in manufacturing ORG products are certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) a leading environmental certifying agency in North America.

In addition, ORG products offer a lifetime limited warranty and can be reconfigured and repurposed, but they won’t have to be replaced, thus reducing waste.

ORG and its parent Windquest Companies practice sustainability, recycling 93.5 % of total waste, using high-efficiency lighting, and encouraging employees to bike to work and bring in material from home for recycling. Windquest also reduced its natural gas consumption by 50 percent by recycling warm air back into the plant through its dust-collection system.

With a focus on health and sustainability, the company contributes to the community by donating time, product, and financial support to organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Urban Youth Ministries, and Center for Women in Transition. Also, in 2008 ORG began making a donation to the Arbor Foundation, on behalf of each client who purchases an ORG solution, to plant one tree in their name. These trees help replenish our national forests that have been damaged by wildfires or disease, which in turn help purify the air and clean the water.

The solutions from ORG San Diego create efficiency and maximizes space in a homeowner’s closet, garage, pantry, media room, foyer, laundry, or home office. For more information, or to schedule a free in-home consultation, please visit or call (760) 233-1205.

Sunday, March 7, 2010



date:Friday, February 27, 2009 time:1:00 PM to 4:00 PM venue:Fletcher Cove Park address:100 South Sierra Avenue Solana Beach, CA 92075 View map from:City of Solana Beach Local experts on sustainable building and energy
Learn more about Build it Green and LEED
Latest building materials and design
Free Prize Drawings

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


We are working with lighting experts in order to maximize our lighting in the home, utilize day lighting and reduce electricity usage.

We are looking at the various types of fixtures:


Halogen bulbs are wonderful for long periods of use because their filaments, encased in quartz envelopes, last longer than those in incandescent bulbs and produce bulbs of remarkable longevity. They also emit more light per unit of energy compared to incandescent bulbs.


CFLs or Fluorescent bulbs are wonderful for long periods of use, because they are four to six times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and last approximately ten times longer. This makes them an eco-friendly alternative that maximizes your utility costs.


ED Light Bulbs save 90% energy, last up to 60,000 hours, are cool to the touch, unbreakable and save time and money. They add more to the up-front costs.

Experts we are talking with:

Cynthia Burke at Burke Lighting

Patrick Jenkins at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In our quest to try and build a "Net Zero" home (or as close as we can come to one) we have decided to try solar hot water for our domestic hot water system.

The Wikipedia definition is as follows:

Solar water heating or solar hot water is water heated by the use of solar energy. Solar heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to its point of usage. The system may use electricity for pumping the fluid, and have a reservoir or tank for heat storage and subsequent use. The systems may be used to heat water for a wide variety of uses, including home, business and industrial uses. Heating swimming pools, underfloor heating or energy input for space heating or cooling are more specific examples.

In many climates, a solar hot water system can provide up to 85% of domestic hot water energy.[1] This can include domestic non-electric concentrating solar thermal systems. In many northern European countries, combined hot water and space heating systems (solar combisystems) are used to provide 15 to 25% of home heating energy.

Residential solar thermal installations can be subdivided into two kinds of systems: passive (sometimes called "compact") and active (sometimes called "pumped") systems. Both typically include an auxiliary energy source (electric heating element or connection to a gas or fuel oil central heating system) that is activated when the water in the tank falls below a minimum temperature setting such as 50°C. Hence, hot water is always available. The combination of solar water heating and using the back-up heat from a wood stove chimney to heat water[2] can enable a hot water system to work all year round in cooler climates, without the supplemental heat requirement of a solar water heating system being met with fossil fuels or electricity.

We are using Adroit Solar for our bids on this system