Tuesday, October 18 2011
Inspect windows and doors regularly to stop air leaks and water seeps that create high energy and repair bills. We’ll show you how.
Take a look at windows, doors and skylights to stop air leaks, foil water drips, and detect the gaps and rot that let the outside in and the inside out. You can perform a quick check with a home air pressure test, or do a detailed inspection. Luckily, these inspections are easy to do. Here’s how to examine the barriers that should stand between you and the elements.
Big picture inspection
A home air pressure test sucks air into the house to reveal air leaks that increase your energy bills. To inspect windows and other openings:
Windows and the outside world
Air and water can seep into closed widows from gaps and rot in frames, deteriorating caulking, cracked glass, and closures that don’t fully close.
To stop air leaks, pinpoint window problems.
Brown stains on walls under a skylight are telltale signs that water is invading and air is escaping. Cut a small hole in the stained drywall to check for wetness, which would indicate rot, or gaps in the skylight.
To investigate skylight leaks, carefully climb on the roof and look for the following:
Monday, August 29 2011
Shopping for wood countertops, cabinets, or doors? FSC and SFI are the two green certifications you need to know
Shopping for wood countertops, cabinets, or doors? FSC and SFI are the two green certifications you need to know.
If sustainability is important to you when you remodel a kitchen or bathroom or build a deck, look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. It’s the best indicator, here in the U.S., that the wood used to make your cabinets, countertops, deck, and more was harvested sustainably.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification is helpful, too, though less rigorous. It’s a good bet when you can’t find FSC products.
Responsible forest management
Where to find certified wood
Ask your retailer or cabinet maker up front about their certified wood options, and whether any are ready made. You can also use FSC or SFI’s online products database to select a retailer that carries certified wood.
Is certified wood more expensive?
The frustrating answer is maybe yes, depending on efficiencies in the supply chain, or maybe no, such as if FSC-certified suppliers, for instance, are competing with wood that’s been harvested irresponsibly. FSC recommends you do comparison shopping among local suppliers and online.
Forest Stewardship Council = the gold standard
FSC is widely considered the best forestry certification program, although industry groups tend to consider it too strict—and environmentalists, too lax. The nonprofit was started by environmental groups in 1993.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative less rigorous
SFI has its roots in the logging industry, as an outgrowth of the American Forest and Paper Association, from which it still receives funding despite the fact that it’s now a separate nonprofit. Because it takes money directly from the industry it polices, and because its certification process isn’t as transparent as FSC’s, you could reasonably doubt whose interests come first.
Caveat about green certifications for wood products
Forestry certifications aren’t the final word on wood. Consider whether the whole package—everything that makes up those cabinets—is really green:
Alternative idea: Salvaging existing wood or buying products with a large amount of recycled content may be just as green a choice.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/what-is-fsc-certified-wood/#ixzz1VlqPIN31