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Resource Efficiency focuses on the products that are used in your project. Resource efficiency goes hand and hand with waste management on your site. Through proper planning you can reduce the amount of materials ordered, produced, and used on your project. You have to keep in mind the amount of energy used in creating the product and transporting it. The goal is to minimize using non-renewable construction materials and reducing the amount of energy and water consumed in building. 

In the planning phase of your project your estimator created a list of materials that will be needed to complete your renovation or new home. Through accurate material estimation you should be able to reduce the amount of energy, water, and waste used to produce and install the materials.

You can improve your efficiency in simple ways as well-carpool to the jobsite. That is one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of resources consumed on your jobsite.

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Primaries Today!

The primaries are today-Go Vote!

I found this great website through the US Green Building Council, The Green Home Guide.

“Water, water every where… So let’s all drink some water!”  Famous qoute from Homer Simpson right before he attempted to drink the ocean water when Homer, Ned, Bart, and Todd were stranded at sea.

Yes Homer, 70% of the planet is covered by water.  Unfortunately, 97% of the Earth’s water is undrinkable salt water and 2% of the water is frozen in ice caps.  That means only 1% of the Earth’s water is drinkable.  With a little help from Global Warming we can change that!  I mean…  If we continue to waste water at current rates, we will have to defend our precious 10,000 lakes from the Californians, Arizonans, and New Mexicans. There are a number of ways to prevent the complete depletion of our fresh water supply.

First and foremost is to change our living habits.  The average American household uses about 300 gallons of water a day compared to the average African household that uses about 5 gallons a day.

Turn off the faucet when shaving and brushing your teeth (saves 4-6 gallons)

Take shorter showers (saves 25-50 gallons)

Fix the leaking faucet (saves 16 bathtubs of water in a month)

Refrain from watering the lawn
Well, I’m a big fan of the long showers, I also can’t stand a brown lawn, and I’m definitely flushing the toilet even if it is just a “number one.”

Low-flow toilets – use 1.6 gallons per flush.  Toilets consume 40% of the water in a home, that’s why if you make one household change, it should be to low-flow toilets.  It is very inexpensive and saves you money down the road.

Dual-flush toilets – two types of flushes, one with 0.8 gallons used for liquid waste and 1.6 gallons used for solid waste.  After all there are two numbers, why shouldn’t there be two flushes?

Low-flow showerheads – also very inexpensive to install.  Low-flow showerheads may cut your energy bill in half!

Tankless Water Heater – only heats the water that you use and does not constantly run.

Off-Peak Water Heater – water heater that shuts off during hours of non use, while you sleep and while you’re at work.

Check back about Graywater and Rainwater when Resource Efficiency comes up.

And don’t worry about Homer and the boys, they found an off-shore drilling rig converted into a Krusty Burger.

This morning President Bush signed one of the largest housing relief bills in recent history. This is a brief overview of what the bill will do.

From National Public Radio

A look at what the bill would do:

— Give the Treasury Department the power to extend Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an unspecified line of credit and to buy their stock, if necessary, to prop up the mortgage companies. The two companies back or own $5 trillion in U.S. mortgages — nearly half the nation’s total.

— Allow qualified homeowners facing foreclosure to apply for lower fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages backed by loan guarantees from the Federal Housing Administration. The original lenders would have to agree to take a loss on their loans.

— Create an independent regulator to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The regulator could establish minimum capital requirements for the two companies and limits on their portfolios. It would also have approval power over the pay packages of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives.

— Provide $3.9 billion in grants to communities with the highest foreclosure rates to buy foreclosed and abandoned properties.

— Give about $15 billion in housing tax breaks, including a credit of up to $7,500 for first-time homebuyers who bought homes between April 9, 2008, and July 1, 2009.

— Put a cap of $625,500 on the loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy in certain high-priced areas, and a cap in other areas of up to 15 percent above the median home price.

— Count any federal infusion for the mortgage giants under the debt limit, essentially capping how much the government could spend to stabilize the companies without further approval from Congress. As of Tuesday, the national debt that counts toward the limit stood at about $9.5 trillion, roughly $360 billion below the statutory ceiling.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

An energy efficient home not only saves you money, it also reduces the growing strain on the America’s resources.  Even by changing a few of your light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs makes a world of difference on the environment and on your energy bill.

Here are a few cheap and some not so cheap ways to make your existing home an energy efficient home:

CFL’s – Change your light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs.  CFL’s last 10 times longer, produce 70% less heat, and they use just a fraction of the energy than incandescent bulbs.

Natural Light – Consider adding skylights, sun tunnels, and well placed mirrors.  Some studies have proven that natural daylight can help to improve your health when ill.

Modern Appliances – Replace your major appliances if they are 15 years or older.  Refrigerators, heaters, and air conditioners 20 years ago used twice as much energy as they do today.  Look for the Energy Star logo.

Insulation – Have an insulation sub-contractor look at your insulation if you don’t what is behind your walls or if it was built before 1981.  Some houses that are 100 years old don’t even have insulation.  It may cost $10,000 upfront, but your energy bill could be cut in half when your home is insulated properly.  Don’t forget to insulate your attic, crawl spaces, foundation, and hot water pipes.

Caulking and Sealing – With all the ducts, pipes, and outlets running in and out of your house you might as well have a window open in January if they aren’t properly sealed.  Walk around your house once or twice a year and look for cracks in previously caulked areas like doors, windows, trim, pipes, and outlets.  If there’s a crack, caulk it.

Windows and Locks – When running the AC or the heat, be sure to close and LOCK the windows.  Every window manufacturer designs the windows to seal tightly when the window is locked, not just closed.  Also, consider replacing your windows with double-pane windows with a U-value of 0.35 or lower if you haven’t yet.

Building Envelope – Make it tight, vent it right!  Most subjects in today’s entry lead to the building envelope hence, it is the most important topic to focus on when making your house efficient because it includes interior, exterior, and all the cracks in between.

New MN Law goes into affect this week. Last year all new homes had to have carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of every bedroom. On August 1 all existing homes are required to have the detectors within 10 feet of every bedroom. Most detectors cost between $10-$30 and you can find them at most hardware stores. I know for sure that the big box stores have them.

Good luck!