Renumeration Opportunities with Green Building Concepts & Cloak Media


Somewhere in 2009, I had an idea to device a scheme to build a residential addition with just 2 people, and when necessary heavy equipment like forklifts, cranes, pump-jacks, and other material handling rigs. Some tasks became untenable, and I had to bring in specialized sub-contractors to get the job done quickly and safely. I’ve utilized a lot of volunteer labor, but I cannot expect altruism on a regular basis, but often on a quid pro quo status. If you come help me set a few fiber cement panels, I can home help you move some boxes, or access some online service.

As my project enters a more time sensitive window, where the sun’s UV radiation, can regrade certain elements, I need to expedite the installation. If you have the tools, interest, and courage to come on an adventure with a demanding building scientist, please contact me. Direct message me through my @greenconcepts twitter account, or a phone call to +1-818-308-5773. I don’t have much to offer, but if your financial requirements align with my renumeration model, and you see an opportunity not just to contribute to the Dark Green Sandwich Panel Addition, but participate in an ongoing research platform, we can publish our journal articles together. I have opportunities in the construction of both the information and physical world for the next six to eight months. I Look forward to our discussions (Accepting applications on a continuous basis, 1st round interviews from 13 March – 18 March 2015).

History of Green Building Concepts Project


I uncovered some papers dated from 1995, nearly 20 years ago. I had just graduated from Stanford University School of Engineering with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, High Temperature Gas Dynamics Laboratory branch, with much interest in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer. I though I could parlay this into the alternative energy world of 1993, but no nation or industry wanted to bet billions on the future. The only positions available involved nuclear generating stations, pulverized coal combustion (now called Clean Coal), commercial refrigeration systems, or air bag inflation systems (similar to current Takata Corporation). I thought I had a unique opportunity and bravado to pursue my dreams, and had the financial backing from my family to move forward.

I did not think it would take 20 years! In this old letter, I describe my aspirational home office addition project. I wonder if time has been kind to these ideas? Has the built environment responded to the dire situation that is global climate change? We do not welcome, but as a building community, we must respond to the reality of global climate change. We assume the mantle one of my Stanford Engineering professors started, Stephen Schneider (dead at a young 65). It’s up to his engineering disciples to continue on in the struggle. We must go beyond issuing the proper insurance or reinsurrance to deal with the dramatic effects of climate change, but respond dynamically to future threats. My Global Climate Change research published in 1992 predicted a coming tipping point to curtail emissions. We are five years past I consider possible climate change reversal. We must now respond to the dire consequences of inaction.

Other than a change in language from handicapped to disabled or Macintosh to Mac the requirements never changed. We call them USGBC LEED, CalGreen Rated, GreenPoint Rated, or NAHB Green. Nothing has changed. As an individual I know why it took 20 years to accumulate enough wealth, knowledge, the birth of the Internet (called nascent World Wide Web) and design mojo to build a one of kind architectural interesting test platform, but why has the industry lagged so behind what I called basic building science circa 1990?

Letter to AIA San Fernando Chapter

20 December 1995

Hello AIA,

I called by phone yesterday looking for a referral to one your members. This note is to further specify my design and experience requirements. Please send a list of qualified architects by fax or mail in the next few weeks.

We are in the preliminary stages of planning an addition/guest house for my family home. I send my involvement in the project and what mechanical and building systems would be required and to see if one your members would be comfortable with these requirements:

1. Ultra high efficient building (i.e., wood foundation, insulated structural panels, advance windows, etc.)

2. Passive solar cooling/heating if possible

3. Reduced total energy of structure (recycled materials, engineered wood, etc.)

4. Separate HVAC and ventilation system

5. Home automation where possible

6. Natural lighting when possible (solar and fiber optic)

7. Universal design protocols (fully accessible to handicapped individual) ADA compliant

8. Proficient computer skills (world wide web, e-mail, Macintosh)

I take an active part as designer-owner-builder of my home. Currently I plan to perform most of the construction and general contacting for the job. Thank you.


Ismael Rosales

2015 Update
I did not get any actionable referrals back in 1995. This letter in 2015 would have many people knocking on my door. My structure is more than 74% complete and the Public Open House is nearing.

Low Voltage Wiring


The City Building Inspector only cared about the high voltage AC of my project. When I mentioned I wanted to intsall HDMI, speaker wire, 1GbE wire, and RG6 coax cable, he said do it, but it would not require inspection. I plan to work with a system integrator to complete this part of the project.

I am laying the groundwork for the next 10-20 years of audio enjoyment. I been around the country becoming my own system integrator. I am the lead owner-builder on the project, doing most of work via subcontractors or personally. I am also the architect, specifying almost every product.

My hope is the integrate all these products into a cohesive unity of lovely symbiosis.

Current Displays
Sony Playstation 3D Display
HP Elite L2201x
Lenovo ThinkVision L220X CCFL LCD Display

Aspirational Displays Computer
Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display
Dual LG 34UM95-P Displays

Aspirational Displays Entertainment
Active 3D 55”-65″ 4K LED LCD with Localized Dimming
Sony XBR-65X950B
Sony XBR-55X850A
Sony XBR-55HX950

Blu-Ray Player
Sony 3D Wi-Fi BDP-BX58

DVD Recorder
Toshiba DVD Recorder

Color Calibration
X-Rite ColorMunki Display

Left Ear Fidelity
Phonak ComPilot
Phonak Brio R-312RT

Sony Pulse Elite Wireless Headset

Current Receiver Portfolio
Denon AVR-610
Nakamichi AV-3s
Nakamichi TA-1A
Nakamichi AV-10
Yamaha neoHD YMC-500

Aspirational Receiver Requirements
HD Radio Built-In
Dolby Atmos Built-In
Bluetooth to connect with Phonak System

Aspirational Receiver
Yamaha RX-A800
Yamaha RX-A1030
Yamaha RX-A1040
Yamaha RX-A2030
Yamaha RX-A2040
Yamaha RX-A1000, RX-A1010, RX-A1020, RX-A2000, RX-A2010, RX-A2020, RX-A3000, RX-A3010

Current Home Theater PC
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180 Windows Media Center
Lenovo Q190 Windows Media Center
Six network available ATSC HDHomeRun tuners

Current Speaker sets
B&W DM 310 Stereo Set
Vandersteen 2Ce Stereo Set
JBL Studio 180 4 Channel Set
JBL Studio 120C Center Channel

Aspirational Loudspeakers/Subs
Genelec G Series
Harman Revel Performa3 Stereo Set
Vandersteen Model 3A Signature
JBL Studio 1 SUB150P

1GbE Wired Network
TrippLite SmartPro 750VA rack mount line interactive sine wave UPS
Netgear ProSafe 24-port 1GbE smart switch GS724T

Belden 1309A Building Speaker Wire
Belden CAT5e, RG6 COAX, and 1GbE patch cable Additional Interconnects

Current Control/Automation/Monitoring
ThinkEco Modlet System

Aspirational Control/Automation/Monitoring
Control 4
WattStopper Miro
Legrand Adorne
elgato eve
elgato avea

Typical Resellers

Working with a Scaffolding Contractor


Some aspects of construction I’ve not had the pleasure to perform. I did not handle the live electrical leads from the local power utility to the service panel. I did not make the final circuit connections at the main or sub-panels. I could have purchased scaffolding frames, planks, and level legs, but chose to select a local experienced scaffolding contractor instead. I hope in the short run, it will save money.

The assembly crew arrived at 7 AM for a 3 hour assembly of approximately 100 linear feet by 18 ft high scaffolding. My roof line is quit complex, so the various levels of the scaffolding also varies considerably to accommodate the level changes. I have learned many tips for the next scaffolding order, and wanted to share them, so the reader does not share in the frustration I’ve experienced while the planks and frames on my jobsite.

Safety is the 1st concern. Clear the jobsite on any obstacles for either the plaster or masonry scaffold frames. Have a plan for the contractor to work their way around the building, noting any special restrictions when it come to locations and widths. I have several constrictions around the building, and my contractor especially fabricated some frames, which is very convenient. Where lower roofs or ledges may interfere make sure the distance from the workplane to the first scaffold plank is maintained. One several locations around my building, the frame is pushed out beyond the maximum safe distance, or impedes flexibility by not allowing plank movement.

OSHA guidelines recommend a maximum of 18″ separation from 1st plank to work surface. International standard use a 0.5 meters standard, so technically you can maintain a 19-5/8″ gap between the plank and wall, and not violate any safety protocols. As the jobsite installation requirements moves from windows, flashing, weather proofing, to exterior cladding, the planks need to accommodate that variety too. I tried to maximize my plank location to 18″ from the wall surface, but there are several frames that were set too close, and I had to remove a plank, making the 36″ walkway just 24″ which can increase fall risk.

I should have made a scaffolding floorplan or elevation plan, and signed off with the contractor exactly where each level and position fell, to aid in window and door installation. I found myself upside down on the scaffolding planks installing heavy large windows. In one location, the headroom from level to level is under 5′ which forces a constant assembly and disassembly of the planks. With a complex roofline, I would have preferred a slightly higher final plank level, instead of going up and down discontinuous plank heights.

The contractor, for unknown reasons, on a few levels, left just one 12″ scaffold plank, instead of the 36″ wide plank boards, removing any margin of safety. I have not found any difference between solid wood planks to engineered planks in terms of stiffness. It took weeks to get used to the springy nature of the scaffolding, but if installed properly, that becomes an irrational fear. My contractor agreed to bring additional planks, once I complained too.

The scaffolding system allows me to perform faster and safer than any ladder jack, pump-jack, or other system. Careful considerations before the scaffolding crew arrives makes the job so much better.

Installation of Exterior Cladding


I need every component of the finished siding on the site prior to starting installation. I processed the 15/32 CAT plywood sheathign into 2″ and 3″ strips and practiced ripping the HardiePanels. With the appropriate tools and blade, cement board cuts without dust or ColorPlus damage. The Ridgid R3400 fiber cement circular saw with a MK Diamond Plank Kutter easily cuts fiber cement expelling the dust into a 5 gallon bucket. The minor dust generated gets ejected under the workpiece away form the operator.

Since the majority of building does not have regularly spaces studs I’m using an alternative attachment protocol. I am using 1-1/4″ Paslode finish nails to temporarily attach the rain gap plywood battens prior to the stainless steel fasteners going either through the HardiPanel or just the aluminum reveals. The fiber cement panels get a 1-3/4″ SFS TW-S fastener while the bulk of EasyTrim Reveals get a 1-1/4″ Simpson Strong-Tie Wire-Lath Screw with a large 10.7 mm head diameter.

If I get the spacing layout of battens correctly, the panels and reveals should go up smoothly. Using a rotary laser level and detector, I can set a reference line around the entire building horizontally followed by a brass plumb bob for the vertical level. At the water table and over windows and door goes the window flashing trim attached under the battens, followed by the rest of the vertical reveals. I have a jig to speed up the pre-drilling of fiber cement panels to get the fasteners in just the right orientation and spacing. Z-flashing terminates each course of panels up the the soffit.

A Hitachi Miter Saw with non-ferrous blade make EasyTrim Reveals cutting a snap. Instead of a vent flashing at the start and stop of a panel run, I’m going to use a three dimensional mat that will keep out the bugs and other vermin who might want to take up refuge under the panels. It will take a little more time to get some all the fasteners and supplies, but I’m confident that the installation will go smoothly and effortlessly.

Sourcing Products from Around the USA


Often your local lumberyard does not stock or have the capability to order all the products for a particular project. Sometimes a single vendor has all the materials, but will not distribute to residential customers or you geography. My journey to select the cladding material for my addition took me from various trade shows to vendor discussion via email and phone.

The best residential construction show occurs during Design & Construction Week in Las Vegas. The world converges to the NAHB International Builders’ Show in the early part of the year for 3 days of exhibits, education, and the ability to see products in context of an actual building, not just a small sample. Regional shows like Dwell on Design expand on modern materials.

The best relationship you can have are with local representatives of suppliers. They will help you walk through project objectives, give you tips, and answer any questions you have. I have saved in installation getting a better handle on products before I’ve purchased, making virtual models and installing the products on computer simulations before a single drill or saw starts.

I search the internet for videos and downloadable manuals of competitive products. One instruction set may help in the installation of another similar product. Obviously, the vendor manual is sacrosanct when it come to warranty, but other manufactures often have more information or unique local perspectives not available.

Home Improvement Retailer
In my area, there are the big box home improvement retailers, the indepenent specialty distributors, and building material dealers. Each one has their advantages. After shopping at each variety of distributor, I get the majority of materials from the big box stores. They have fantastic return policies and delivery prices, and with patience can source most anything you need.

For my current cladding phase of my project, I actually got buiding materials and supplies from no less than 10 stores. I ordered stainless steel cladding fasteners from PMP Building Products, fiber cement panels and reveals from Lowe’s, aluminum window flashing from Tamlyn, torx insert bits and holders from, sealants and nippers from Essential Hardware, bi-cellular backer rod from DK Hardware, carbide blades on eBay, and a water-resistive barrier from The Home Depot.