Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How Big is Your Footprint?

We're not talking shoe size here...rather, the impact of our lifestyles on the Earth. Each of us makes choices (consciously or not) about the way we live that, taken collectively, are defining the future for life on this planet. If you would like to check out your own ecological footprint, go to and take the quiz. It is interesting and thought-provoking.

The quiz measures four categories of footprint: Carbon (home energy and transportation); Food; Housing; and Goods and Services. From the answers you give, the quiz calculates a sustainability index that is graphically shown by how many planet Earths it would take if everyone lived like you.
There are also suggestions on how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle.

If you would like a free consultation about changes that can be made to your home or office to
"green it up", I would be happy to talk about some specifics with you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Living Better in Sonoma County--the Coast

The microclimate of the Sonoma Coast provides great recreational opportunities and gorgeous views, as well as its own particular challenges for home maintenance and improvement. Some of the issues mentioned in previous articles, like orientation of the building to take advantage of passive solar benefits, and controlling excessive moisture, apply here. Beyond that, the Coastal wind and corrosive salty air can wreak havoc on a home that has not been put together or maintained properly.

Wind-driven rain can find ways to enter a building causing damage to the structure and interior. Special care and methods (that would be considered extreme elsewhere) must be taken when installing windows, flashings and exterior siding and trim to prevent troublesome leaks. Having learned the carpentry trade in this environment as a young apprentice, I became aware early on of the unique problems one can encounter when building at the Coast.

The only metals that perform well as fasteners and flashings are stainless steel and copper...forget about galvanized steel anywhere near the Coast. This is because of the highly corrosive salty moisture in the air near the ocean. These materials are costly to purchase, but take no longer to install and are well worth the expense to prevent problems later.

There are two projects at the Coast featured on my website .