Global Warming & Your Home – more linked than you think

2007 is supposed to be the year “Going Green” really takes off. If you look at previous posts, recycled materials for countertops and furnishings are hot, eco-friendly fertilizers for gardening will also be a trend. But that’s only part of the bigger “green” picture. In other areas, like global warming, big inroads will not and cannot be made until there is a paradigm shift in how we think about our homes. “Bigger is better” needs to be replaced by “small is beautiful”. But who’s ready for that? I’m not, not really, and neither is most of the public.

What does a new-home purchase have to do with global warming? Simple: Buildings are the largest source of the greenhouse-gas emissions that are causing global warming, and in the United States, half of building-related emissions are from houses.
– Katherine Salant, The Washington Post

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need to consume less energy. Simple yes?

The architects are doing their part by adopting the 2030 Challenge, aiming to reduce fossil-fuel consumption through progressive design strategies, energy-saving materials and construction techniques.

But architects don’t design the specs for 92% of residential homes. Builders do the specs, following local codes that don’t address these issues at all. And builders will tend to include what the home-buying public will pay for …

And guess what folks? We’re just not ready to pay. In a recent National Home Builders of America study, only 17% of us would be willing to spend an extra 5% on a new home to make it more environmentally friendly. 50% liked the idea but weren’t willing to pay. The rest either weren’t going to let environmental issues factor into their home purchase or weren’t concerned about the environment.

What will we pay for? 3 words – more, more and more. More rooms, more windows and more space (higher ceilings) – all of which increase energy use and fuel global warming.

So that’s how global warming and your home are more linked than you think. Read more at The Washington Post.

Ohio Remodelers are real ladies’ men

Professional Remodelers of Ohio is out to charm the ladies. This year, the RemodelOhio Show has undergone a bit of makeover, changing it’s name and shifting focus from DIY products and services to connecting homeowners with professional remodelers. In particular female homeowners, who are taking a more active role in deciding who to hire. In the words of PRO executive director Brenda Callaghan, “… women are becoming a stronger voice in remodeling. They want their homes to be nice, and they want to work with a professional.”

To that end, this year’s show caters to the ladies by having:

  • a female spokesperson (local broadcaster Robin Swoboda)
  • a soap star (Aiden Turner of “All My Children” fame), and
  • hair and makeup makeovers on the “Remodel Yourself” stage

in addition to more conventional seminars on kitchens, decorating, custom decks, and adapting your home as you age.

Did I mention the hot tub full of firefighters raising money for charity? No?

Well you have to give credit where credit is due. Ohio Remodelers have big cojones. It’s a bold move, I just hope it doesn’t alienate all the guys out there.

RemodelOhio runs Thursday Jan 25 through Sunday Jan. 28 at the International Exposition Center. Remember ladies, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland. ;)

Read the source article New focus at remodeling show by Melissa Herbert on

An Electrical Safety Primer – Fuses, Breakers, GFCI and AFCI

Came across an interesting article on Gilchrist Electric’s DIY Electrical Wiring Help blog that’s well worth reading.  The original article was Circuit breakers for electrical safety by Ms. Builder in The Clarion-Ledger.  You should also read Gilchrist’s post as it clarifies some points related to UL and National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements for breakers that may not be clear in the original article.

6 Interior Design Trends for your Home 2007

Everybody’s got a forecast or prediction for decorating and design in 2007. Here is CNNMoney’s list:

  1. Trim in bolder, deeper tones
  2. Engineered stone countertops
  3. The wrought iron fence
  4. Glass tiles over ceramic
  5. Your refrigerator or freezer in a drawer
  6. Recycled or unusual woods

View the full photogallery and details on Nice!

Warm winter means savings for Homeowners, work for Contractors

What is the deal with the weather this year? It’s been a highly unusual winter in the midwest and northeast with temperatures routinely in the 50s and 60s. And whereas this has been bad for ski resort operators and people in the snow removal business, it’s been good for homeowners and the home improvement industry overall.

My first thought – is this the global warming we keep hearing about? Uh, that was fast. But that’s not it. The cause of all this balmy weather is El Nino and a jet stream that is so far north that it is locking out the cold arctic air that usually sweeps into the U.S. from Canada – to quote CBS Early Show meteorologist Dave Price.

This “lack of cold air” has translated into big savings on heating bills, gasoline, car upkeep, and winter clothing – so far.

It has also been beneficial to the Construction and Home Improvement industries. Home Depot reports that sales of concrete, lumber, and roofing materials are up because contractors are still able to work when normally it wouldn’t be possible. They’re taking advantage of the weather to remodel, do additions, build garages, etc.

It still remains to be seen how long this will last. As the cliche goes the weather can turn on a dime. So enjoy it while it lasts folks and take a moment to think about our neighbours on the Plains and in the Southeast.

Win your very own Hardware Store, a million dollar value

Yep.  You can win an entire hardware store, thanks to the good folks at Ace Hardware.  And not for just shopping in either.  If you win, you’ll actually have to work there and be nice to people.  The joys of ownership.

I joke but this is a serious contest, which will give one aspiring entrepreneur who has the right combination of skills & savvy the opportunity to own and run his or her own hardware business.

“Successful contestants will demonstrate a combination of business and sales expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and home improvement knowledge, as well as a true commitment to helpfulness.”

Judging for the competition will take place in New York and Chicago but the actual store location will be in Houston, Texas or an “alternate location at Ace’s discretion”.

You can enter the contest any time in January (2007) by going to  Read the full press release on

Go Green for 2007 – Resolutions from

You can be good to the environment and be good to yourself at the same time according to the folks at Concrete tips for saving energy, detoxing your home, and recycling are among the “resolutions” you will find in their annual list.

Read Green Resolutions: Live Green in 2007.

The team at puts out a free e-newsletter with tips for living green with useful information on green foods, restaurants, home and garden products, day trips, and healthy and sustainable living, currently with a focus on the Chicago area.

More Hot Home Improvement Trends for 2007

Forecasters have seen the color of 2007 and the color is “Green”. Homeowners will be buying more “green-friendly” furnishings and accessories this year as well as growing more organic gardens. Other trends include minimalist, natural colors for the home, more home automation, and bigger, badder home theatre / media rooms.

Read more from the experts in Trend forecast. Categories: House & Home, Gardening, Collecting, Birding, Home Improvement & DIY.

Hot Home Improvement & Decorating Trends for 2007

“Home-furnishings retailer ShowPlace Direct has identified some of the top decorating and home-improvement trends for 2007, based on polls conducted with U.S. interior design firms and furniture manufacturers. On the hot list: hardwood floors — especially bamboo — still reign, blue decor and furniture to capture the still popular “cottage look,” flat-screen TVs, screened-in porches or sunrooms, and energy-efficient faucets.
– Bonnie Britton, Indianapolis Star”

Read Sizzling ideas for 2007 on – New Online Homeowner Advice Community

There is great value in sharing and learning from the Home Improvement & Renovation experiences of others – it’s the raison d’être behind

And then I stumbled on a press release for which embodies this very concept.  Fate? Kismet?  “Hundredth Monkey Effect”?  Whatever it is, it’s all good for us homeowners!

The message: “Where homeowners help homeowners.  Find out how to make the most of your home and share the lessons you’ve learned from past projects.”  From the “tag cloud” on the forums page, hot topics are kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, cabinets, countertops and the discussions range from DIY “how to” questions to dealing with contractors etc.

The site is currently in Beta so when you go there, you won’t find a lot but it would be interesting to go back in a few months and see how it’s doing.  I’m putting it on my list … 

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