Sustainable, Green Building For Life

August 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM | Posted in A Conscious Life, Be An Eco Warrior Now, Be Careful With Contractors, Best Practices in Business, Build Green Save The Planet, Conscious Lifestyles, Conscious Lifestyles Radio Show Blog, Consumer Choices, Deforestation of Virgin Forest in Alberta, Do Something, Earth Friendly Business Ethics, Eco Living and Lifestyle, Eco Warriors, Economy, Environment, Environmental Stewardship, Health, Killing Our Planet For Oil, Save our Wild Lands, Save Wildlife, Sustainable Business Economics, Take Back Your Wellbeing, Time For A Revolution To Save Our Natural Planet, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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The Insulated Concrete Forms [ICF] and Structural Insulated Panels [SIP] and Straw Bale building materials are strong, forever-lasting, sustainable methods of building that creates healthier homes that are better insulated, sound-proof, and eco-friendly to live in.

Why has America been so slow in adopting these incredibly fast, easy forms of building?

Our old growth forests are disappearing. “Stick frame” building is a post-war “cheapie” style of building that is totally unsustainable. Douglas Fir Forests are being destroyed for this heinous building method that really needs to be outlawed in order to re-direct our building methods to ones that are both more durable and sustainable.

The indiscriminate clear-cutting of short-sighted and greedy lumber companies along with the foolish behavior of our bribed Elected Officials has put our air quality, and the future of all life on the brink.

Did you know that these egregious Lumber companies have lobbied Congress to have YOUR Federal Land “clear cut” for their own profits? Did you also know that these Lumber companies are allowed to walk into the Forest with Guns and ammunition and kill off any wildlife that happen to be grazing or living their lives in the very Forest that your tax dollars are supposed to be protecting?

Clear cutting kills birds, deer, wolves, baby animals of all kinds, and it kills our air quality. The forests are our “Lungs” of the Earth, and we cannot have Oxygen without them.

Wood is not something that should be creating the shell of a home. We need to be using better materials that don’t mold, catch fire, or create havoc on the Earth’s last remaining Forests.

ICF’s and SIP’s are the answer. They are faster to build and the incredible beauty of a Green Built home is unmistakable. The FEELING you get when you are inside a Green built home is also unmistakable. You feel at peace, happy, and you can breathe without taking in fumes from off gassing toxic materials used in most homes by uninspired and uneducated contractors.

My Guest on this weeks show for August 18, 2012 was Author and Educator David Johnston. He is one of America’s top Green Building experts and has written four books that are easy to read and a delight to learn from. Green living is both fun and easy once you know where to get the information you need to create a sustainable, beautiful home and community.

Check out David’s web sites at www.greenbuilding.com and www.whatsworking.com

You can also get all of the manufacturers of Green Products [literally from “A” to “Z”] from a think tank called “Building Green” based in Vermont. They publish online Guide called the “Green Spec” Directory, and this is a MUST HAVE Guide on where to buy Green Building Products, pricing, etc. Check them out and join them at www.buildinggreen.com

David made many great points in our conversation this week on HOW to Green Build, and certainly on how to locate and hire an honorable, knowledgeable and competent Green Contractor.

Don’t waste your time with people who are not educated on Sustainable living or building methods. This will only lead to an uphill climb for you, the homeowner, and your dollars are best spent with the good people who have the foresight and motivation to build cleaner, sustainable, healthier homes for their communities.

Children are highly susceptible to off-gassing of toxins. Pregnant women are, too. The elderly, and anyone who is under stress or immune compromised. People who think they are healthy can be struck with an auto-immune disease that seems to come from “nowhere” after being exposed daily to toxic building materials. Allergies, to ADD/ADHD, to learning difficulties, to fatigue and the numerous other modern dis-eases that way too many people suffer from are all able to be traced back to toxins INSIDE the home [and not to mention the ones you cannot control the minute you step outside.]

Natural Clay Plaster walls are brilliant. They come in all kinds of colors, and will release “Negative Ions” into the air, creating a healthier indoor environment. Negative Ions are cleansing and very healing to the body. It is exactly what is released in a Thunder Storm and Rain Storm. It feels good to just be around when you are in a home that has used natural paints, clay plaster, milk paint, clay paints, and natural glues/adhesives.

There really is no excuse for not seeking out such amazing ways of cleaning up the environment.

Starting at home is what I have preached on my show for quite some time. When you start to clean up your home by the consumer choices you make, you will be motivated and even passionate about cleaning up the Environment in which you live.

Green Building 101

October 19, 2010 at 3:21 PM | Posted in Be Careful With Contractors, Build Green Save The Planet, Conscious Lifestyles, Conscious Lifestyles Radio Show Blog, Earth Friendly Business Ethics, Eco Living and Lifestyle, Eco Warriors, Environment, Environmental Stewardship, How To Remodel/Build Green and NOT Get Ripped Off!, Organic Gardens for Residential and Commercial Building, Permaculture, Sustainable Business Economics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Where do you start? You want to save the environment, you want to live like you actually care about the forests, the rivers, oceans, the air, and all living beings….

My show on October 18th was a lively and informative discussion on where to start first with any green project, and what NOT to do in any home related project.

1.) Do your own homework. The one reference book you cannot live without in any Green/Eco-friendly project is “The Green Spec Directory” from www.buildinggreen.com. Check it out, and learn as much as you can as a consumer. The more you know, the more you will be empowered to be an active voice for your environment.

2.) Build smaller, more thoughtful spaces. You can have a beautiful, spacious feeling home that does not have to have a huge, monolithic footprint… and you can save the environment by choosing [insisting on] NO wood for the framing– which rapidly deforests our last remaining natural habitats– AND to insist on a plan that includes sustainable practices in water management, natural [indigenous] landscape plantings, LED lighting and HVAC systems and appliances that are efficient, ecologically healthier. Insist on Solar for your hot water and even as your primary source to power your entire home and energy needs. Why not? The technology is here. The tax incentives are FINALLY here, and now there is no excuse. Geothermal is a good choice, and was the only choice I had a few years ago for my home, but it is expensive to install. The up side is the efficient system and the radiant floor heat is divine.

3.) The challenge: To find QUALIFIED, experienced, LEED Certified professionals to make your dreams of a Green home come true. This is a big challenge that cannot be taken lightly. The top, progressive, forward thinking Contractors now have LEED certified professionals on staff, and will have previous projects to show you. Also, look for a LEED Certified Architect to start with. But don’t leave all the decisions up to anyone but yourself…. learning about green materials and practices is totally fun, and you can start to be an important partner in this project that YOU are the CEO over. Never hand over full control to anyone other than yourself.

4.) Visit other green home projects and families that have actually Green built. Talk to other people. Get the lay of the land on what to do, and what not to do… I could personally spend days on end talking on my radio show about the tricks that I endured from every scoundrel who told me that they wanted “to learn green building” but had no intention of honoring my ecologically sustainable wishes once they were on board. Be vigilant.

Solar Shingles


The oil and gas industry has managed to destroy our natural environment with no one to stop them for longer than most of us have been alive.

It is time to let our voices be heard in Washington that we are not going to tolerate big tax breaks for this heinous industry. The “back room deals” with our elected officials who have allowed themselves to be corrupted, and the exemptions from the “Clean Air and Clean Water” Acts for the oil and gas industry is totally wretched.

What is the point in having such skeleton laws that do little to protect our water and our air? ALL life is dependent upon these two things…. and the worst polluters on this planet are EXEMPT from them!

Sabine Schoenberg suggested that people who have not yet converted to Solar or Geothermal should start to use “Biofuels” that are now available for the oil/gas furnaces and boilers.

Sabine also warned about the much touted “CFL” light bulbs. She warned that NO ONE should be buying these because they contain MERCURY and are damaging to the environment. The Department of Environmental Protection needs to re-evaluate this lightbulb, and it should not even be manufactured any longer.

Instead, invest in LED light bulbs. They are expensive, but they last for more than 20 years!

I believe that everyone can take action in the small choices we make, too.

Buy only recycled paper products. There is no excuse here. There are “luxury” feeling paper products for your bath and your kitchen. No one should think it’s okay to deforest our last remaining virgin forests for their own convenience. How ignorant.

Like everything in life, there is a “high end” and a “lower end” to products that you can buy. The good quality recycled products are here. Demand them.

Your office paper, school paper…. all paper should be labeled “100% recycled” when you make a purchase.

You can now also easily get bio-degradable trash bags. Whole Foods sells them and so does Home Depot! The other retail grocers need to catch up on this concept. The plastic bags are ruining our planet. They are made from petroleum products and never degrade.

As always, thanks for reading my blog for Conscious Lifestyles.

It’s time. Take action.

March 15, 2010 Show: Thinking of a Remodel for your home? Don’t do anything without first checking out ConstructionCoach.com

March 29, 2010 at 2:23 PM | Posted in Be Careful With Contractors, Build Green Save The Planet, Conscious Lifestyles Radio Show Blog, Eco Living and Lifestyle, How To Remodel/Build Green and NOT Get Ripped Off! | Leave a comment
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“When someone shows you who they are…. believe them the first time.”
— Maya Angelou

My interview with Sabine Schoenberg, the founder of ConstructionCoach.com revealed just a few pitfalls that any homeowner could fall prey to…..

There are more “Lemons” in the building/contracting industry when it comes to home improvement than any other industry in America. No other industry has enjoyed so much power over the consumer, and causes more complaints to State Consumer Departments.

Our candid discussion talks openly about some of the horrifying trickery that my family and I were subjected to…. and how this is all too common in the home building/remodeling industry.

Preparation, and then more investigation is necessary prior to starting ANY project– whether ‘small’ or large scale– because the crocodiles are awaiting regardless of what kind of an economy there is, but especially when the economy is less about “spec building” and more about “homeowner related remodeling.”

Buyer Beware.

— Require Surety Bonds from ALL Contractors you do business with. This ensures the Homeowner that the company will stand behind their work, and if they don’t properly repair/pay for any damages, then the Surety Bond will pay the Homeowner.

— All consumers need to be aware that the local Building Department Inspectors are NOT perfect and the WILL miss some critical mistakes in workmanship. The local Building Departments are not liable for their own errors and omissions, so the homeowner MUST hire a qualified Owner’s Representative to double-check workmanship prior to any payments to Contractors are made. The homeowner is sadly left with the myriad of expensive fixes if important protective steps are not taken.

— Trust no one. Sabine Schoenberg explained in my interview with her that one of the most common complaints from homeowners who were badly duped is that they all said the contractor seemed “SO NICE” in the beginning of the project! Don’t trust glossy brochures, references on a piece of paper, slick talking, or manipulative [and very convincing] words to make you let your guard down. Often times, contractors have dubious past records and even criminal records.

— Never give in or “downgrade” your standards or requests. This is a big one to be aware of when it comes to manipulation. White Collar professionals in the building industry, such as Architects and Engineers, are all too often guilty of simply being too lazy to give the Client what they want…. so they either ignore the Client’s requests entirely or go through great lengths to convince the Client that they really don’t want the high standards that they are asking for. Don’t subject yourself.

— Sabine talked very squarely about how the Homeowner keeps hoping for the best when things are faltering and not going as planned. She advised that to stop the project and to re-evaluate and even take the steps to terminate a contractor who is not up to your expectations IS exactly what you should be taking action upon…. and sooner better than later. Sabine also stated that this is why you should always start a project with a qualified Owner’s Representative to oversee this process so that you, as the homeowner, are not subjected to the many twisted mind games that any given Contractor will play with the unknowing Homeowner only to ‘bide more time’ on the project when it is clear that the project needs and deserves better talent.

— Collecting on Judgements if you win against a Contractor for everything from Small Claims to Major Stuff: The truth is that a piece of paper is gratifying yet very expensive and time consuming to get. The bad Contractors know this, and are counting on you not bothering to take them to court. However, should you be motivated enough to do so, remember that MOST Contractors have no assets. If they do have assets, then they still refuse to pay and make you spend more money to continue to chase after them in order to collect on the Judgement. Tired yet? They are counting on this. Every State has a Department of Consumer Protection and usually has a limited amount of monetary recovery that is available for Legal Judgements. However, it is a whole lot easier to protect yourself from the very beginning. Get a local, qualified, honorable Owner’s Representative FIRST before you start hiring anyone. Then hire a qualified CONSTRUCTION Attorney to protect you and to write ALL of the legal contracts that protect YOU.

— Never give big deposits. Mike Rosa of MMR Contracting warned my listeners of this in my January 4th, 2010 show. Sabine repeated this warning.

— Assume that if you live in a nice, well-known area that the price for goods and services are going to be inflated. Don’t get duped. Protect yourself, and take the time to respect your time and efforts enough to get the proper “team” assembled before starting any project.

— Finding a good team is tough. Many people, both White and Blue Collar, masquerade as professional and qualified when they are not. Not everyone is even consistently good….. so homework on your part is the most important and time consuming part of the project. It’s worth it!

Visit http://www.constructioncoach.com and get educated, prepared and find the right person for your job who is qualified, honorable, knowledgeable, and worthy of your home!

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