Renumeration Opportunities with Green Building Concepts & Cloak Media

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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

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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.

Cordially,

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.

Sourcing Products from Around the USA

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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.

Tradeshows
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.

Vendors
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.

Instructions
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 amazon.com, 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.

Fiber Cement Siding

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As global leader in fiber cement siding, James Hardie manufactures products unique to it’s market in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. My structure seeks a modern aesthetic. If I had a choice I would have selected a Scyon system of exterior cladding or a EPDM tape option for a genuine rainscreen siding, but in the USA, we have fiber cement vertical panel and aluminum reveal to adapt to the limited products available.

Fry Reglet, Tamlyn, and Easy Trim Reveals offer fiber cement reveals. Each manufacture similar profiles to encapsulate the 5/16″ fiber cement panel on all edges to shed water away from the building, but only Easy Trim Reveals allows an easier installation of aluminum trim and a water management strategy, not just decorative trim. I worked with a handful of lumberyards for pricing and availability of products, and expect a delivery of panels, fasteners, trim, and tools soon.

Many firms manufacture fiber cement panels from the Japanese Nichiha and KMEW, to domestic Allura and GAF. Many of these cladding systems offer amazing textures and installation systems, but my walls are structural insulated panels, and few vendors are willing to warrant installations on this building system. James Hardie has an installation on sheathing exclusively with the correct fastener length in their Evaluation Report.

My final exterior cladding selection includes a Henry Blueskin VP100 Water Resistive Barrier, plywood battens for a 11 mm rain gap, HardiePanel in Colorplus Monterey Taupe JH40-20, SFS TW-S fasteners, and Easy Trim Reveals in clear anodized color. I had some primed Soffit panel that I needed to color match to the Monterey Taupe, and Valspar Paint customer service shared the recipe with my local paint store. For some reason Easy Trim Reveals do not offer a window flashing profile, so I had to order a Tamlyn XtremeTrim just for that part of the project.

Tools of the SIP trade

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The contractor finished assembly of the structural components of the project. Air sealing and applying the weather and fire resistive cladding come next. I though it would be a good idea to review some of the tools I’ve learned to use to make construction easier, and many times essential to a structural insulated panel building.

Cordless Adhesive Dispenser
I applied at every joint, intersection, overlay, and boundery a bead of panel mastic to seal the structure. After distributing over 60 tubes of 29 oz size, the DEWALT DC546K performed admirably. The tool weighs around 8 pounds, but saves the fingers to dispense such a quantity of mastic.

Cordless Palm Nailer
Practically every wall required a plethora of nails to act as a shear wall, living in a seismically active location. I’ve pounded over 250 pound of nails without the use of a pneumatic nailer. Skilled nailing acts as a key component holding up this building, where each nail does not break the panel skin, so achieving the maximum holding power. The majority of nails have been 8D box nails, with a good share of 8D common, 16D common, and 10D common nails. Along the walls in each 2 x 4 contains two rows of 8D box nails at a 3 inch spacing, making fasteners seem to be 1-1/2” separation. Without 3 palm nailers, I would still be pounding nails. The Milwaukee Palm Nailer 2458-20 has had it’s problems, but the manufacturer stood behind their product 100% in prompt repairs or replacement no questions asked.

Parallel Bar Clamps
It is often seen that truck straps are a good tool to sandwich two panels together at the seam, but I’ve found much better control and flexibility using long bar clamps. I have a system based on 50 inch clamps and extenders, where I can get a 16 foot or longer clamp to ease a panel together safely and efficiently. Likewise, a clamp will hold a panel together before panel screws complete the job at the corners. Sears once sold a Craftsman Parallel Bar Clamp system based on the Bessey Vario K Body REVO series of clamps with movable upper and lower jaws.

Peak Building Products Bid Letter

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“Yes, many months have gone by since I came to your office to learn about Vacupor products for the North American market. It has taken the City of Los Angeles almost a year to authorized my project. As a refresher: any product used in residential construction requires a Los Angeles Research Report, and some of the innovative structural details finally became legal on 1 August 2009, so now I can in earnest request estimates for materials. The road ahead will still be long, as after estimates comes the final building review at the Department of Building and Safety. I have a few PDF drawings as a downloadable, but from the drawing I’ve extracted these surface dimensions.

Location, Surface Area

wall panels, 181 sq meters (1948 sq feet)
floor panels, 72 sq meters (770 sq feet)
roof panels, 50 sq meters (542 square feet)

Totals: 303 sq meters (3261 sq ft)

My order for Porextherm Vacupor NT-B2 VIP I’m sure will be lower than the 300 square meters of 25 mm panels since they cannot be punctured and must be placed strategically in between structural supports (my initial estimate would be 200 square meters) What I need to know:

1. The dimensions of Porextherm are made to order? How about angles? I have several sloped roof/wall areas that would require acute angles. What are the minimum and maximum dimensions of the panels? From my design, the typical panel would be 55 cm x 90 cm at 25 mm thickness. After knowing the panel dimensions, I can map out the layout on my 3D model for an exact order.

2. I don’t know how easy is it to get multiple estimates for the Porextherm products, but for a price check and for budgeting, how much would 50 cm x 50 cm Vacupor NT-B2 VIP panels be if I ordered 200 square meters (800 panels)? Could you also estimate the freight costs and delivery time?

As you recommended, I attempted to detail a Vacupor panel layout for my wall assemblies. I propose to install them in between a SIP wall and fiber cement panel siding, resting beside furring strips. If I have done by panel count correctly, this is my initial product requirements. My installers will be trained to hand the panels with “white gloves.” Could you also estimate the freight costs and delivery time? I tried to used the standard metric sizes, but the other components in the North American market (siding) require 16″ or 24″ on center requirements, so i will need custom panels.

Thank you for sharing your expertise and image library from the BioHaus. You are a pioneer in North America.

After reviewing the initial proposal, I am learning more about the manufacturing requirements and sizing limitations of the VIP products. It looks like square shapes are most economical, and slender panels are most expensive. I am going to optimize my panel layout to accommodate 500 mm x 1200 mm or 500 mm x 600 mm panels for wall and roof applications. I do not have the panel layout documentation, but do have a preliminary panel count.

Thank you for taking the time to work with me. Since you probably place orders from Germany on a periodic basis, is there a chance, if I delay or advance my order, to minimize freight to the USA by combining multiple customer orders of windows/VIP/etc? If I did my calculations properly 400 25 mm x 500 mm x 600 mm panels weight around 500 kg, so freight is high no matter what I do. I would like to see you estimate of duties too, which may or may not be egregious.”