Solar Shingles coming to a home near you?

Having just finally got some solar panels installed on the roof of my garage, I wish these solar shingles would come down in price soon!  My fairly large footprint house cant take standard panels do to the roof configuration and local fire code.   These shingles are definitely the answer for me!

solar-shingles-lumaresources_ss01-270x105Read all about this exciting technology at: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/08/solar-shingles-renewable-energy-solution-curb-appeal/

The article concentrates on the curb appeal aspect but I think as in my case the ability to use them in more challenging situations presents an even larger potential audience.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

 

February 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

Storing water in your fence?

I just read about an interesting new product just about to be released this month (Feb. 2015).  It is a rainwater storage system that takes the place of your fence.  Assembled like a typical fence with concrete footing and steel posts you would then use these high density plastic inserts that store the rain water. house2

Interested?   Learn more at the site: http://www.waterfence.com/

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com
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February 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Solar Power A Requirement For New Construction

It is looking like the wave of the future is increasing requirements to include renewable energy for newly constructed homes and commercial buildings.

The most interesting new story is somewhat local to me here in Southern California where the City of Lancaster now requires 1 kilowatt of solar power for all newly constructed single family homes.  The ordinance that passed last March went into effect in Jan. 1, 2014.  Here is the link to an article that covers it more in depth. (http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/04/lancaster-home-solar-mandate-1st-us-world-leads-city-2014/).

This is a significant escalation on the Californian mandate of net zero homes by 2020.  The City of Los Angeles has been requiring that the conduit and wiring be put in place in all new home construction to make adding solar panels easier in the future for the homeowner.

I certainly hope that more cities follow Lancaster’s lead and make similar requirements as it can only help the environment and speed the transition to the renewable energy economy.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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January 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Manage and Measure for Less Waste

It seems that what is old is new again.  One of the current trends in management in general is to try and measure more parts of our businesses and life to allow us to manage to a less wasteful existence.

It seems that these folks need to look back at their old college text books as this concept has been around a long time.  Economic Order Quantity and the various inventory models (LIFO and FIFO) anyone?

I suppose that the world may need a refresher course in these ideas, but just because we now have access to BIG DATA doesn’t necessarily make this simpler or easier.  In many ways it may make it harder by requiring new processes to collect and manage the inventory data that don’t actually generate a return on the investment.

I have seen this especially in relation to janitorial supplies which always seem to be a hot button for the accounting department as an example.  Here is a good article that has some positive examples:

GreenBang.com (http://www.greenbang.com/real-time-information-can-shrink-your-waste_25032.html?utm_source=feedly)

So take a look at these and plan your new -old process management accordingly!

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

September 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

The Dark Side of Efficiency

We have all been bombarded with the need to live more efficiently and have less of an impact on our planet.  The problem comes when we possibly make our homes unsafe in the pursuit of this efficiency.

There has been a notable upswing in reports of moisture related problems in recent years.  A large portion of the cause for this is the tightening of the building envelope without regard to proper ventilation. Typically homes built 25 or more years ago allowed a significant amount of  air to leak both in and out. This not only increased our cost to heat and cool our homes but allowed for sufficient air circulation albeit by accident!

The other possible issue is one of safety. By tightening the building envelope we may create a situation where carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can build up to unsafe levels.  Possible improvements that plug those worrisome air leaks or replace windows should include combustion safety testing both before and after completion.

Here are my suggestions for safely pursuing any energy efficiency project for your home:

  • Have a reputable energy consultant evaluate your current conditions and create a prioritized by return on possible investment list of options.
  • Work with a licensed and certified Building Performance Contractor
  • Acquire applicable permits for all work so that it is properly inspected
  • Have the energy consultant come back at the end of the project to inspect the work and to make sure it is working properly so that you get the maximum return on your investment

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

August 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

Foam Insulation Gets Healthier

OSHA is finally making one of the building trades less dangerous. As a Lifelong asthmatic I applaud this change. The full story is here at BuildingGreen.com (http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2013/7/28/OSHA-Puts-the-Squeeze-on-Asthma-Causing-Polyurethanes/).

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

August 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

Can Concrete do Everything?

It seems that concrete remains a wonder material that has no end to its uses.  Who would have imagined that the material we walk on could be transformed into a substance that may one day be part of our portable electronics.

It seems that folks at the Argonne National Laboratory have come up with a method to give concrete a metal configuration that makes it conductive for electricity. The full article is here: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-cement-metal.html

The link to the Argonne National Lab is here: http://www.aps.anl.gov/

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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May 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm Leave a comment

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