Youthful memories of the Paris of the West

      My worldly, intimidating and rather dour great-grandmother Ellita Genevieve Carroll lived in San Francisco most of her adult life moving there from her hometown Sacramento in 1904.  Visiting Nana meant trips to Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Podesta-Baldacchi Flower shop, and City of Paris Department store at Union Square;  started by French sailors out of the hold of […]

More stupid fan tricks: Over-Ventilation Ruins Comfort and Efficiency

Louvers open only when fan is operating Imagine my surprise when, a couple of days after posting my previous blog, I came across a properly installed attic exhaust fan.  This fan really sucks.  It has louvers that close when the fan is off.  The fan is bigger, it draws more air, about 3000 CFM (cubic […]

Stupid Fan Tricks

Conventional Wisdom informs us that hot attics can be cooled with fans.   A fan at the upper part of the roof will pull hot air out making it easier to cool the house.  Seems logical. Temperature controlled fan installed at gable vent Building Science informs us that air is a fluid.  As such it flows […]

A Brief History of Texas Toast: The Asian Connection

My introduction to Texas Toast was in 1968 when we moved to Austin.  Ever-thangs big in Texas and I quickly learned how to match Texas Toast with Chicken-Fried steak, pinto beans and fried okra.Imagine my discovering it is common in Tokyo.  Texas Toast is available in the ATL at Mozart Korean Bakery and in Chamblee’s […]

Inspection Metrics: Size Matters But Not That Much

Everyone’s looking for a deal these days and that includes inspection fees.  Potential clients looking for a reduction in fee often point out how small the home is in order to elicit lower inspection fees.  It’s true that size matters; especially when I’ve logged 3 miles walking up, down and through a super mega-mansion.  Other […]

Costs and Conservation: Electric Gas Water

Kai tracked our utility costs at Villa Curl the past four years.  Here are my thoughts (unsupported opinion not based on science or statistics) on the subject: 2010-2011Electric down 373 Gas down 156 Water up 252We’ve been doing that Eco-Thing:  paying more attention to thermostat settings, turning lights off, and water use. Gas Cost should […]

Basic BS: Physics eventually defeats Chemistry

Icyclene Foam Insulation and Plastic-lined Ducting A recent story on national TV news pointed out that fires spread much more rapidly in newer than in older homes.  Building materials like OSB (Oriented Strand Board) roof, wall and floor panels burn more quickly than solid wood.  Hydrocarbon based products, in general, degrade more quickly than inert […]

A Semblance of Urban Life

The closest shopping center, the one with stores we all use, is the Edgewood Retail District.  It does its’ best to work as an “intown” shopping center:  there’s a main street, underground and deck parking, a mix of shops and big box stores.  But is just doesn’t work as well as it should. Sembler Construction […]

A Long Time Coming:  A Perfect Storm Creates a great house The pre-drywall inspection was nearly perfect.  Imagine a home inspector telling his client that there are NO problems.  Here’s why Kudos to Mike Barcik and all the staff at Southface for their efforts formulating, training and promoting the 2011 Georgia Energy Code.  This will […]

Sustainable Fundamentals: the Green Building Pyramid

Green Builder magazine recently re-issued their Homeowner’s Handbook.  The Green Building Pyramid lays out a logical path towards efficiency and health.  We all remember the food pyramid: What you find at the base of the Green Building Pyramid may surprise you. Siting/OrientationHow the building is placed in relation to the sun and surrounding terrain Location:  […]