New Green Fireplace ! Rumford Style with glass door that works!

So you still want a real fireplace but can’t handle the trade off of what it does to your green building? 

We all love fireplaces but in most buildings they are a horrible energy suck !

  • Sucks out the conditioned air – even with the best glass doors (which are alway ugly)
  • Pollutes the environment
  • Leaky
  • Drafty

Well check this out !  I met the owner of the Canadian company Renaissance Fireplaces at my Builder 20 meeting in Quebec this fall.  

His revolutionary product uses a “guillotine door” (comforting sounding name eh?).  The door is counter balanced and slides up into the wall cavity – so it works with an air tight seal.

Interestingly – after considerable research – his labratory and scientists couldn’t improve on old Cout Rumfords famous design for a fireplace.  This means the fireplace lights easily, burns efficiently and throws heat into the room instead of up the chimney.

Check out their web site for videos and more information

Passive Solar Design – The Key to Green Building

The sun is our greatest source of energy …right???

So why do we ignore the sun and build our houses without regard to how the sun affects our home?  When I purchased my first home in Los Angeles,  one of the key reasons I chose the tiny 850 sf house is because the street had lots of trees.  Many of the LA streets are barren strips of pavement with cookie cutter homes built on lots of exactly the same size, so when I saw this little home on a street filled with trees it felt like a different land.  Not only are trees beautiful and great carbon cleaners but they can be a huge help in your passive solar design! Continue reading “Passive Solar Design – The Key to Green Building”

Do you know your Climate Zone? The key to Green Building Efficiency

“Its 12 o clock – do you know where your …….climate zone is??”   What is your climate Zone?  The United States is divided up into 7 climate zones – add in marine, dry or moist as modifiers and you begin to understand the challenges of designing the best performing homes.   Even in your town you can find many variations of climate and mini climate zones.   Are you in a shaded valley or a sunny hillside?

Green building climate zone map

  Continue reading “Do you know your Climate Zone? The key to Green Building Efficiency”

Spray Foam Insulation – Bio Based

Constantly looking for better ways to insulate – one of the great things about spray foam insulation is that it seals up leaks.  Even the best batt insulation install – will have lots of gaps.  Would you rather hold scalding hot coffee in a fiberglass batt or foam?  See the demonstaration video below – from the International Builders Show

Please feel free to repost or use this blog as long as you keep the entire blog in its original form and with the following “signature”box.”
Otis Bradley is a custom home builder in Southern California working in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.  You can see Otis’ work at his company web site Otis Bradley Company, Inc.
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Green Building for Supercomputers

I know this is a commercial project and not a green home but this is pretty cool.  Check out how they handle the hot and cold air flow and use thermagraphic cameras to fine tune their operations.  Imagine if we put some of this kind of analysis in our green home design.