Add drywall to the growing list of toxic imports from China. Today a report from the largest investigation in the history of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has cited 10 Chinese manufactures as sources of sulfur-laden drywall found in thousands of homes constructed in the United States between 2005 and 2009, when a post-Katrina building boomed created a run on drywall and forced builders to seek out new suppliers.
A new update from John B. Carnett, PopSci's staff photographer who is using the latest green technology to build his dream home. Read more Green Dream posts here
It's been a long winter. Once the structure was complete, we started putting on the skin—a mixture of 100-year-old hemlock siding, white cedar shingles and a metal roof. All in all, I'm thrilled with the way it's coming together, and hope to be moving to interior work soon. The only serious snag? See that plastic over the window holes?
With an unexpected lack of snow making skiers' lives miserable at this year's Olympics, Vancouver is smartly following the trend of going greener than the Olympics before it. Carbon offsets and recycling bins are as old school as a 720 on the snowboard half pipe, so the Canucks had to get a bit more creative to ensure the 2014 games in Russia take place in a world where snow still falls over Sochi in February.
I can't believe it, but the entire box is now up. All the wall and roof panels have been installed. As you may recall the second floor was a bit of a learning curve for everyone, but when it came to the last level, everything went together as expected. LightShip Group, the firm making the panels, took all the field experiences that we had with the first install, went back to the shop and turned out 100 percent perfect panels for my third floor walls and roof.
We recently installed the panel roof system over the kitchen area and hit the first of our inevitable early-adopter glitches. The roof panels are 11 inches thick and much heavier than the wall panels, as they have much more embedded steel to carry both my green roof and the snow load here in upstate New York. The things are dense and required a serious effort for two to carry around. Even with all that beefiness, the engineer asked me to put a horizontal steel beam through the middle of the room for added support. The panels were supposed to meet at the beam and fit seamlessly together. The key words there: supposed to. Read on for the reality.
One of the most unique things about my green home is the walls: instead of a standard "stick-frame" construction, I'm using special insulated panels from a company called Kama-Eebs, which have all sorts of advantages in efficiency and heat retention.
Even though I spend most of my time thinking about geothermal heating systems and backyard solar plants for my green home, in the end, a house is a house; holes must be dug, foundations must be laid, steel delivered and erected, and so on. Here's a look at our progress in that less glamorous but wholly necessary department.
Next week I'm going to build the primary steel staircase for the house. Over the last 24 hours the design has changed more than three times. It's not that I don't know what I want, it's just that I have a crazy architect, Timon Phillips, and an even more crazy friend, Vin Marshall, who engineered and designed what I'm calling the "mouse tower" concept and will be welding it with me. (Lesson one of a DIY build: If your friends are as nuts as you are, nothing in your home is going to be normal or easy.)
There are two ways to react to global warming: you can fear it, or you can embrace it. Architect Koen Olthuis of Dutch design firm Waterstudio chooses the latter. His Citadel apartment building, part of a larger water-management development project called New Water in the Netherlands, is the first floating apartment complex in the world.
Polaris has just introduced an electric version of the Ranger 400 side-by-side. This is very exciting to me. As you may remember, I'm the guy who built a rather non-green jet turbine side-by-side, but 114 dB does get old after a while.