December 7, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

I just discovered Nyloboard, and I’m really warming up to the idea.  It’s a product that can be made into decking; trim for soffit, fascia and exterior decoration; engineered flooring; a plywood replacement; a drywall replacement; signs and garage doors.  Also “Nyloboard is moisture, mildew, mold, rot, and termite proof.”  All that, and it’s made from 100% recycled carpet fibers.  Nyloboard is one of those products that I wish I had invented.

Bjarke Ingels on TED Talks

November 26, 2010 · Posted in Architects, Architecture Around the World, Modern Design · Comment 

American architecture could sure use an herbal infusion of Scandinavian ideology.  This video is a pretty decent college education, packaged in an 18 minute box.

Caroma Smart Toilet

November 23, 2010 · Posted in Modern Design · 2 Comments 

You all probably think I’m obsessed with toilets, but… ok I might be.  I’ve seen pictures of these, but I’ve never been able to find a manufacturer.  The toilet works like a normal dual flusher, but the water that fills the tank -post flush- comes out of a faucet.  The beauty in these toilets is in the water saving and in the space saving.  Somehow I don’t see them catching on too quickly in the US, but if people could get over the weirdness-of-it-all I think we’ve got a winner of a toilet.  Turns out this specific model comes from a company that also makes a tank-in-wall model.  The company is called Caroma, and the toilet costs around $800.

Custom-Bilt Metals' FusionSolar

November 19, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction, Modern Design · Comment 

As solar panels become more popular in the U.S. (the residential market doubled in 2009) companies are finding creative ways to cope with some of the issues inherent to their products.  One of the current trends is to build solar panels that look like roofing tiles.  There are Spanish bar-tile solar panels and asphalt shingle solar panels, but my favorite is Custom-Bilt’s standing seam metal roof solar panel.  Designed to almost disappear in the channels of the standing seam roof so as not to be seen, we can have our cake and eat it too.  Check out their website for more info.

Shigeru Ban Architects Paper-Tube Structures

Shigeru Ban Architects is quickly becoming one of my favorite  architecture firms.  Besides designing beautiful houses, commercial projects, disaster relief projects and churches; they have become, what seems to be, experts in paper-tube structures.  The third picture from the bottom is the world’s first paper-tube space frame, built in 2006.  Their paper-tube structures are most impressive because they are so innovative as well as designed beautifully.  My favorite is pictured last- the owner of this Library of a Poet “felt that a paper library would be best suited to house paper books.”

Incandescent, Halogen, Compact Fluorescent and LED LIght Bulbs

September 29, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

Pictured is an LED light from SuperbrightLEDs.com.  Comparing incandescent bulbs with halogen bulbs, LED bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs can be a run around, but here’s some general stats that might help.

LED light bulbs can run up to 30,000 hours, use around 10 watts and can cost $40 or more.

Halogen light bulbs can run about 1,000 hours, use 28 watts and cost about $4.

Incandescent bulbs run about 1,500 hours, use 57 watts and cost about $1.

Compact fluorescent bulbs run about 8,000 hours, use 13 watts and cost about $5.

Of course, there are variables out there that can change some of those numbers, but I tried to compare apples to apples as best I could.  There are other issues too, such as light color, that can affect decision making.

Solar Power

September 28, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

“…on a bright, sunny day, the sun’s rays give off approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet’s surface. If we could collect all of that energy, we could easily power our homes and offices for free.”   This quote is taken from HowStuffWorks.com, but where to start?  A simple Google search brings up several retailers, and they have tons of info on their websites.  Also, you can search for local, trusted contractors that would know your specific solar climate.  Here’s a list of a few online retailers if you need a jumpstart:






Energy Star Products

September 27, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

Say you’ve got this hankering to buy a new washer, but you’re not quite sure where to start.  Head on over to the Energy Star website and look at the sidebar on the right.  It’s a little hidden, but you can click on the HTML link of the “Qualified Clothes Washers” category and you’re on your way.  The table that it pulls up lists different washers by brand and gives a lot of details about exactly how efficient they are, annual water use, volume, etc.  The same tactics can be used for all sorts of different products from refrigerators to ceiling fans.

Geothermal on My Mind

July 19, 2010 · Posted in Modern Construction · Comment 

So my wife and I got into a conversation last night about geothermal heating and cooling, and I realized that the caveman stammering and long pauses meant that I don’t have a clue how it works.  I checked it out on my secret source (Wikipedia), and I still don’t really get it, but take a look for yourself if you got a few minutes.  I think it’s the whole “heat pump” thing that gets me, but you can’t beat the efficiency:

A new ENERGY STAR specification for geothermal heat pumps went into effect on December 1, 2009. The new specification allows water-to-water GHPs to immediately be eligible to qualify for the label. On average, ENERGY STAR qualified products covered under this new specification will be over 45 percent more energy efficient than standard options.  energystar.gov

The Fireplace

August 4, 2009 · Posted in Uncategorized · 1 Comment 
photo via www.radius-design-shop.de

photo via www.radius-design-shop.de

I’m a sucker for fireplaces.  Sometimes the materials, the clean geometry, and the glass of a typical “modern” home can make it a little cold.  The fireplace seems to be a good place to make a “modern” home have a warmer, cozier side.  How about Radius Design’s take on the fireplace??  I’m loving it.  I like that it challenges the traditional meaning of the fireplace, but still looks great and serves the same purpose.  It’s fueled by bio-ethanol so no need to fret the fumes or smoke.

Next Page »