Published on July 30th, 2008 | by Philip Proefrock


Showing the Green Building Process

Philadelphia house renovation
What does it look like to build a house with lots of green features? We see pictures of the finished buildings, and we read about the features that make them green. We know about the importance of good insulation and reducing electrical loads and choosing efficient equipment. But what does it look like while it all goes together?

Building Green on Montrose offers a wonderfully in-depth view into the process of constructing a green home. The project is the product of a couple of architects, Christopher & Emily Stromberg, working on the renovation of a rowhouse in south Philadelphia to turn it into a modern, efficient, green home. They are building this project as a speculative property, rather than a home for themselves, so it avoids some of the quirky indulgences that other green homes sometimes include. All of this has to make sense and be justifiable for an eventual buyer for the house.

It is also a wonderfully modest 1600 square feet, well below the average new construction house, yet it will have 3 bedrooms, a den, and 2-1/2 baths. They plan to have the house for sale on the market later this year.

The process is being extensively documented, and provides lots of pictures as they carry out each step of the project. They also have included some of the architectural drawings, to show what the plans and elevations for the building look like, as well as to illustrate how some of the sustainable design strategies for the house work.

Montrose house ventillation diagramIn addition to documenting the ongoing progress on the project, Building Green on Montrose also discusses materials choices and selections, including bamboo and tile for the floors, countertops, and insulation. They discuss why they like particular choices and what they don’t like about others, and they weigh the various factors in choosing which is the most appropriate selection. For example, they like Caesarstone and Icestone for their countertops. Caesarstone is imported, but the basic slab comes ina size that is well suited for their project and will mean that there is little waste. But on the other hand, Icestone has received a Cradle to Cradle™ certification.

In the most recent entry, they have met with the LEED for Homes raters and were pleasantly surprised to find that what they thought was going to be a LEED-H Gold project is actually on track for LEED-H Platinum.

The range of information covered in Building Green on Montrose gives people who aren’t regularly involved with building construction a great insight into guts of a green building and shows the work as it progresses.  It’s a great resource for both green builders and would-be green homeowners alike.

Other green homes articles on Green Building Elements:
The Costs of Not Building Green
Living Green in the 21st Century
Adventures in Windows, Part 1

also, The Possibility of a Residential Green Roof (added 1 August 2008)

images from: Building Green on Montrose


Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) January 16, 1992 Byline: Paul Grondahl Staff writer If you stop to think about it, the humble domino has a rich and varied place in history. web site dominos coupon codes

It was a hooded 18th-century cloak; a 1950s theory favored by President Dwight D. Eisenhower,about the threat of chain-reaction communism in Southeast Asia; a popular game with variations known as draw, muggins, sniff and matador; a piece of rock ‘n’ roll with a group fronted by Derek, a popster named Fats and a song by Van Morrison with its refrain, “Lord have mercy.” Now, a new chapter in the history of the domino is about to be written.

It’s strictly for kids, it’s called “Duelling Dominoes” and it’s coming to the Children’s Museum at Saratoga. Holy, bones!

It has nothing to do with the dice- like game begun in 18th-century Italy using wooden pieces called bones, which are kept in a pile known as the boneyard.

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga version promises playful anarchy, complete artistic control and will indulge the childish impulse to knock down what has been painstakingly created.

The premise for the informal event on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. is simple: Kids can scoop up handfuls of dominoes, lay them out in crazy serpentine patterns and then set off the ripple effect that topples them all over.

“We think young kids will enjoy this. It’s our little experiment,” says Donna Tomb, a museum board member and organizer of the domino playfest.

So new is the museum’s domino concept that the bones – a total of 750 – are on order and will be yanked from their boxes for the first time by the kids.

Tomb figures the domino play will appeal most to elementary school- aged children between the ages of 5 and 11. “I don’t think toddlers would be able to create the kind of things we’re looking for,” she says. “We’re hoping they make some intricate patterns before knocking them all down.” Domino designers can work solo or bring along friends and make a team. These pint-sized architects of the bones will spill out of the museum’s office into the large foyer on the lower level at the Downstreet Marketplace, 454 Broadway.

Parents and passersby can watch from an upper-level balcony and listen to the clickety-click of the bones as they fall in succession. “It should be a great view for spectators from upstairs,” Tomb says.

Tomb’s 5-year-old son, Daniel, is being used as something of a domino guinea pig.

“My son likes playing with them,” Tomb says. “His grandfather is even starting to teach him how to play the actual domino game.” Parents who play dominoes will be on hand to explain the rules of the numerical game for those children who wish to try the real thing.

Not that the toppling of the bones is mere child’s play.

The World Domino Spectacular organizes domino feats that are charity fund-raisers as well as attempts at garnering a spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records.” In Poughkeepsie in 1979, Michael Cairney took 13 days to set up his world-record 169,713 dominoes. The bones took 44 minutes to topple, falling at a rate of 2 1/4 miles per hour – along the way launching a toy rocket, forming a large peacock, triggering 58 flag raisings, “walking” up a 7 1/2-foot ramp and triggering a mechanism that made a long distance telephone call phone.

That record was shattered in 1984, and in 1986 in the Netherlands 40 students working for five weeks set up and toppled a new world record 738,336 dominos. here dominos coupon codes

For the youngsters who show up for “Duelling Dominoes,” there will be nothing approaching that epic scale. Still, 750 dominoes is a lot of bones for young hands to build with.

The domino diversion is in keeping with the back-to-basics philosophy at the museum, a 1 1/2-year old grass- roots volunteer organization.

“We’re an interactive museum started by teachers and parents of young children,” Tomb says. “We try to give kids things to explore and be creative with.” Next month, the museum is kicking off a program of old- fashioned, low-tech games ranging from jacks and marbles to hopscotch and 7-up.

“We’re getting back to games kids played in the pre-Nintendo days,” Tomb says. “Parents tend to spend a lot of money on electronic toys like computer games and remote-control cars. Then the batteries wear out, they break or the kids get bored with them. The simple games are the ones that endure.” CAPTION(S):


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