REHAU ECOAIR in California

I write a lot of letters to suppliers around the world. Right now European technology is cutting edge when it it comes to insulation and resource efficiency. REHAU makes the ECOAIR, a large diameter ventilation system that uses the cooling properties of the earth to either pre-cool summertime air, and likewise warm up air in the winter time. Structural insulated panels are so well sealed, a requirement is continuous mechanical ventilation for human health.

“I would like to purchase the REHAU ECOAIR innovative ground-air heat exchanger. Who is my local distributor in Los Angeles CA area? I am developing a super insulation residential project that could utilize the ECOAIR system. If the system is available, please e-mail ordering and pricing information. Thank you.”

Premier Building Systems Bid Letter

After many months of making drawings, it’s that time to get a project bid!

“It’s been a very long time since I contacted you on a SIP addition project. Do I continue to go directly through PBS or my local distributor to order my panel project? Over the past year, several of the products I have patiently waited for have became legal to use in the City of Los Angeles, gaining their LARR numbers. The last item I was waiting for, PEX plumbing, became legal on 1 August 2009, so now I can continue my addition project.

The scope of the project has also grown, as the original idea has grown in size requiring a new estimate.

The drawings may not emphatically state it, but these are the dimensions of Premier panels I would like to use:

3-1/2″ core thickness wall SIP walls
9-1/4″ core thickness roof SIP walls
9-1/4″ core thickness floor SIP walls

If there are any details that are missing, let me know, and I can make corrections quickly. Not included are drawings detailing electrical chases and skylights in the roof panels, an extra horizontal communications chase in some of the wall panels, and placement of vertical electrical chases for switches and receptacles (standard 16 inch receptacle chases and 45 inch switch chases from floor please include where possible, but I also need a chase at 20 inches from floor for ethernet, cable TV, and telephone on certain walls).

I look forward to Premier’s new 2009 estimate. It’s still best to correspond through e-mail, as I am away from the voice phone frequently. I am working with a new window manufacturer, and the exact window rough opening on several of the triple mullion is not set (RO is currently 8”0″ x 2”0″) and may change before the shop drawings. The Roof panels will have skylights, not included in these preliminary drawings. There are no outstanding issues this year that will delay this project. Thank you for all your help.

I was looking over my drawing and did some surface calculations, that may help you give me an estimate in my SIP project:

3-1/2″ core wall panels, 1948 square feet
9-1/4″ core floor panels, 770 square feet
9-1/4 core roof panels, 542 square feet

These numbers are gross wall/floor/roof dimensions devoid of window or door cuts or skylight holes. Thank you for taking the time to get me another estimate for my project.”

Serious Windows and Doors Bid Letter

When a budget is no object, why not price out the most energy efficient North American windows?

In my next project, I am specifying either the 725 or 925 SeriousWindows along with EcoRock. My second choice in materials had been Marvin Integrity Windows and GP DensArmor Plus wall panels. It seems that your products are in demand across the nation, so I don’t know your lead times. From the PDF information on the site, the products look great, but I need the technical information to introduce these products to by building team. Here are some of my questions:

1. I am interested in casement and awning style windows. I have two project in development. A single family structural insulated panel (SIP) addition in North Hollywood, CA (20 windows) and a energy retrofit (2×4 stucco construction) in Lancaster, CA (15 windows). From the public information, it seems that every product is a one off custom fit, but does Serious Windows make standard sizes? If so, I need the specifications sheet with Rough Opening dimensions, NFRC measurements, Egress measurements, factory mullion combinations, and hardware and screen options.

2. Lead Times. I anticipate the SIP project to get going in October 2009, but construction documents and permits finished almost immediately. The retrofit is in development for a late 2009 start.

3. Do you sell your windows directly or through local distributors? Who is my distributor for both Serious Windows and EcoRock?

I will put together my order to the best of my ability and get it to you, and if the Serious Windows products fall within my budget, we’ll go ahead and schedule a meeting to see the products. I hope to get you a list of windows by next week. We’ll work from there. Thank you.”

Year in Review and New Year Preview

By this time, if my planning schedule was accurate and blogged about, I should have been in phase three of my home addition, but other issues prevented that project from starting. Two products that I wanted to use on this project were announced, but not yet through the arduous Los Angeles building and safety review. Living in earthquake country, and under a well formed bureaucracy, innovation is squashed, or takes many thousands of dollars to persuade city engineers that products are viable. The two interesting products form the basis of the foundation and the structural members of the home, so basically everything. I had already settled on using structural insulated panels (SIP’s) to build the home, but the previous technique require much material handling machines like forklifts, front reaching cranes, and a teams of laborers. that’s the old way of building. I want to build a home with one or two people. It can be done!

The first option is Apex Block. This product, around for a few years, made LA approval on 1 November 2008, and would require a complete redesign of the structure, but when complete would only need grouting with cement for insulation and stability. The second option is the modular housing system (MHS), approved 1 December 2008. Both are lighter in assembly, as the foam Apex Block are extremely lightweight, and the extruded aluminum of the MHS system is manageable. The venerable choice remains Premier Building Systems tradition heavy SIP. What better way to decide which to use, but by having each one go head to head in a bidding war! I’ll let you know the outcome in February 2009, when in earnest I begin again.

First I am going to the International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas to research some interior fixtures and lighting design packages. It’s easy to look on the web, but a much different experience to view the finishes and touch the products. It will be cheaper to get a room in Vegas for a night than drive a couple hundred miles to showrooms around Los Angeles, hoping that they have the product I want to see and touch. that show runs 20 – 23 January 2009, so that is my final check list and then the construction!

Have a wonderful 2009. I will be busy. It has to start out of the gate at full gallop, and this time I hope to finish the race, and not have to scratch out like in 2008. make 2009 your green year, where you climate change contribution is half of 2008. We all can do it.

Vacupor Availability in North America

Several insulation materials on their way to affordability are coming to market slowly: Aerogels and vacuum panels. If I could afford such materials, it would make building much more efficient for the smallest wall thickness.

“With much interest I have been following the Passiv Haus advancements along with Solar Decathlon home entries in Washington DC, and both of these projects share in common the use of Porextherm Vacupor NT-B2 VIP products. In my next project I would like to use your VIP panels, but do not know if there are any distributors in the North American area?

My next project would require 150 square meters of 25 mm thickness VIP to cover the exterior walls of a small two story residence. I have seen the Porextherm panels in use at the Waldsee BioHaus in Minnesota, and as their concern is low winter temperatures, In the deserts of the Los Angeles area, where temperature are regularly 46 degrees C for months, we need to manage cooling instead of heating, at a similar temperature differential.

Any information you can give me in ordering products, finding a distributor, or arranging direct importation for the manufacturing facility, I would be greatly appreciative. My project begins construction this autumn 2008, so I have three months to acquire the VIP materials.

I am building a residential addition in the city of Los Angeles (LADBS), where they have rigorous building and safety regulations. For any building product, LADBS usually requires an ICC report, commonly referred to as LARR (Los Angeles Research Report). Have you had success in the introduction and installation of these products in Los Angeles?”