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Kyle’s Kitchen: PCBC

by Sustainable Kyle on June 24, 2011 · 0 comments

in Miscellaneous Schmidt

On Wednesday I got the opportunity to check out the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, PCBC, for the first time.  The Moscone Center was jam-packed with an impressive variety of tradespeople advertising their product.  Despite this, Sir Helmut was tripping pretty hard about how few people there were (and sober, no less!).  Apparently, PCBC has been struggling with attendance for the past couple years since the economy went south.  The numbers aren’t out for this year’s conference, but this article discusses past attendance issues the conference has had in previous years.  Nevertheless, I was introduced to a lot of new, innovative products at PCBC that I’d like to share with you:

  • Cabinets: Executive Cabinetry has come out with a line of cabinets, “EcoFriendly.”  This product is certified to the highest GreenGaurd standard: Children & Schools.  The cabinet is made with FSC certified wood, and finished with water-based products that emit zero Formaldehyde.
  • Insulation: Owens Corning has released a new insulation product that is also GreenGaurd Children & Schools certified.  Their pink EcoTouch insulation also helps prevent indoor air pollution by being Formaldehyde free.
  • Solar water hearing: The Velux solar water heater was something I found particularly innovative.  This is an Energy Star qualified system that should drop energy consumption for heating your water by 50-80%.  I really liked this system because it could be installed in conjunction to a skylight you could use for your bathroom.
  • Roofing: I’ve never really thought to use recycled rubber and plastic to roof a home, but EcoStar has provided us this service of sustainable roofing with a line of tiles made out of 80% post-industrial recycled materials.  I saw for myself at PCBC that these products look almost exactly like the tiles or wood shake they emulate.  This roofing is warrantied to last 50 years.  This product is recyclable, so once that time is up just toss them in the blue bin.


An insulations is an insulating resistance to heat transfer is what is called its R-Factor. The thicker the insulation, the higher the R-Factor, the more energy efficient the application. Not the most interesting part of a remodel. But a major factor in consuming less energy, saving money and soundproofing. In the walls we chose blown cellulose and shredded phone books. Blown cellulose is not right for every application, so in addition to that we also used recycled cotton (Blue Jeans). This gave us an R-Factor of ? In the Ceilings we utilized blown foam. It is rigid and fills every nook and cranny. It has an R-Factor approaching 40 and is fire resistant.

Even in relatively mild climates like ours, in San Francisco, a properly insulated home can have a massive impact on efficiency. Less energy to hear means less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced. If an average home pumps out 12-15 tons of CO2 per year, good insulation can lop 2-4 tons off that. If the house gains another 20 years of life from this remodel, that means 40 tons at a minimum not shot into the air.

I expect this home to love much more than 20 years and the total carbon savings to be more then 2 tons per year.

Formaldehye Free Insulation

One huge advantage of blown cellulose, shredded phone books and recycled cotton products is that they contain no Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used in most modern insulation and it can leech into the air and has the potential to make you and your kids sick. It is one of the main pollutants that made the survivors of Hurricane Katrina sick after they were relocated to cheap, poorly build trailers produced from formaldehyde-based products.