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Fire Risks Not Limited to Spray-Foam Insulation

Posted November 2, 2011 4:40 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: GreenSpec Insights, Riversong's Radical Reflections

Spray foam is only one of a number of building products and methods which increase the risk of catastrophic fire loss (and potential loss of life).

[Editor's note: After asking him to pen his series of 10 Riversong's Random Reflections on our blog earlier this year, we asked Vermont builder Robert Riversong back to discuss fire safety issues in residential construction. Riversong is a volunteer firefighter. Enjoy! – Tristan Roberts]

A Builder/Firefighter's Thoughts on Fire Issues in Residential Construction and Remodeling

There has been some media and regulatory attention given lately to auto-ignition of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation during the application process. [Editor's note: see Massachusetts Fires Tied to Spray Foam Incite Debate.]  While the SPF industry has, understandably, reacted defensively to this development, there are legitimate reasons for caution and concern.

Fire Risks Not Limited to Spray-Foam Insulation

Posted November 1, 2011 3:56 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: GreenSpec Insights, Riversong's Radical Reflections

Spray foam is only one of a number of building products and methods which increase the risk of catastrophic fire loss (and potential loss of life).

[Editor's note: After asking him to pen his series of 10 Riversong's Random Reflections on our blog earlier this year, we asked Vermont builder Robert Riversong back to discuss fire safety issues in residential construction. Riversong is a volunteer firefighter. Enjoy! – Tristan Roberts]

A Builder/Firefighter's Thoughts on Fire Issues in Residential Construction and Remodeling

There has been some media and regulatory attention given lately to auto-ignition of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation during the application process. [Editor's note: see Massachusetts Fires Tied to Spray Foam Incite Debate.]  While the SPF industry has, understandably, reacted defensively to this development, there are legitimate reasons for caution and concern.

How to Get the Shelter We Need, and Nothing More

Posted July 15, 2011 11:07 AM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

Not only can the earth no longer afford our petrochemical picnic cooler McMansions fueled by coal, oil, gas and nuclear power, but also, our psyches can no longer tolerate such exaggerated encapsulation.

[Editor's note: This the tenth and final piece in a set of reflections by Vermont builder Robert Riversong. Links to the other nine articles are below. Enjoy, and let us know what you think! – Tristan Roberts]

Water in Buildings: Part Science, Part Magic

Posted July 6, 2011 3:31 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

Given how complex we've made our modern residential structures, it takes a hero to delve sufficiently into the mysteries of physics to confront and overcome the adversaries of heat, air and moisture and to transmute them into allies.

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts] 

Designing Homes That Live Off Current Solar "Income"

Posted June 30, 2011 1:02 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

In the last 200 years, humankind has chosen to live off the "principal" of Earth's core natural resources, not the "interest"--solar income. Here's how we can move forward with home designs that get us on a sustainable path.

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts] 

When designing for comfort, remember perception

Posted June 22, 2011 1:39 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

Designers and builders often consider bodily comfort when creating living spaces and mechanical systems, but we should not neglect psychological comfort--our perceptions have a measurable effect on our sense of physical comfort.

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts]

The Building Envelope: Our Third Skin

Posted June 8, 2011 12:05 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

Our clothing is our second "skin" and our home's envelope is our third "skin." Each must be semi-permeable and able to breathe. This puts my philosophy of building at odds with much of the so-called "green" building movement, which relies heavily on non-breathing, non-natural and ecologically harmful plastic.

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts]

Choosing foundation materials: A subconscious decision?

Posted May 30, 2011 8:13 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

We design a house from the inside out and engineer a house from the top down, but we build a house from the ground up. What are the most environmentally sensitive, durable materials?

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts]

Is our approach to green building an "appropriate technology"?

Posted May 25, 2011 10:51 AM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

Almost every technological "solution" has created a new set of problems which it was assumed would be solved by further advances in technology. How is green building different?

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts]

Materials: The Macrobiotics of building natural, healthy and durable

Posted May 18, 2011 3:51 PM by Tristan Roberts
Related Categories: Riversong's Radical Reflections

 

What used to be called the "bricks and mortar," or the material building blocks, of our homes are the ingredients we use to assemble a structure which we intend (or should) to be sound, healthy and durable. But what, precisely, do we mean by those descriptors?

[Editor's note: Robert Riversong, a Vermont builder, continues his 10-part series of articles taking design and construction to what he sees as radical or "root" concerns. Enjoy--and please share your thoughts. – Tristan Roberts]

3. Materials – the Macrobiotics of building: natural, healthy and durable

What used to be called the "bricks and mortar," or the material building blocks, of our homes are the ingredients we use to assemble a structure which we intend (or should) to be sound, healthy and durable. But what, precisely, do we mean by those descriptors?

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