New Ultra-white Paint Reflects to Cool Buildings Even in Bright Sunlight

Scientists have developed a white paint that cools below the temperature of its ambient surroundings even under direct sunlight. Their research, published in Cell Reports Physical Science journal, demonstrates a radiative cooling technology that could be used in commercial paints, could be less expensive to manufacture, and that passively reflects 95.5% of sunlight that reaches its surface back into outer space. In contrast, commercial “heat rejecting paints” currently on the market only reflect 80%-90% of solar irradiation and cannot achieve below-ambient temperatures. Continue reading

Timing Your Construction Project

As with many things in life, the timing of your construction project can be critical to its success. Construction tends to be a seasonally-driven industry, with the prevailing goal being to avoid breaking ground during the winter rainy season. This is not a hard-and-fast rule of course – there are notable exceptions which we will discuss. To best understand the ins-and-outs of project scheduling, this article will outline the design process, from selecting your design team, to how permit processing can impact your project schedule, to ball-parking how long it takes to build a construction project. Continue reading

Pros & Cons of Metal Roofing

Due to recent wildfire events, given its fire-resistant qualities, we’ve seen a surge of interest in metal roofing. If you are considering metal roofing for your new or existing home, it’s very important to weigh the pros and cons of metal against other more common roof materials, such as asphalt, wood, and tile. This article offers a close look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of steel, aluminum, and other metal roofing. Continue reading

Casas Em Movimento Solar Homes

Casas Em Movimento, a project from a Portuguese firm, means Moving Houses. The idea behind the project is to turn a house into an architectural sunflower that rotates in order to maximize the amount of solar energy it receives. This technology was developed at the University of Porto, Faculty of Architecture. Continue reading

Concrete that Generates Light

Phosphorescent Concrete Could Light the Way Home
Imagine a future when, as dusk turns to night during a long drive, the darkening highway begins to glow in soft hues of blue and green to illuminate the path ahead. Such a possibility could become reality after the creation of light-emitting cement. The novel material could provide lighted pathways for cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians without using electricity. Continue reading

Recover and Rebuild: Expedited Building Permit Processing in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Planning Department indicates that it is committed to an expedited and streamlined process, to ensure that our community can rebuild as quickly as possible. The Department indicates that the immediate first step is for it to conduct Assessments regarding basic infrastructure and property status before an Owner can begin planning for rebuilding. County staff, in coordination with Cal Fire, are in process of assessing public and private infrastructure and are working hard to assess properties as quickly as possible. Continue reading

Gypsum Plaster : Advantages and Disadvantages

Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of Calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4:2H20). It is widely used as a fertilized, in sculptures and as plaster material. Gypsum is a chalk like material and is very light in weight. It is available in crystalline form in nature. In recent years, the construction sector has witnessed a number of new trends, technology advancements and innovations across applications, all aimed at making construction faster and delivering higher performance. Gypsum although a much older material than the cement & sand plaster has rarely been used extensively in construction industry. Now a days, Gypsum has proved to be a miraculous material aiding interior construction due to its properties. Continue reading

What is Thermally Modified Wood Decking and Siding?

There are many types of thermally modified woods. In general, the thermal modification process makes woods more stable, more rot resistant and longer lasting.  There are many thermally modified woods species and different thermal modification processes.  Thermally modified wood is an environmentally friendly high-performance option to consider for decking and siding projects. Continue reading

Exceeding the WUI Code: Home Design in Wildfire-Prone Areas

Recent fire events in California have caused many homeowners to embark upon better understanding ways to defend their homes and property against the risks of wildfire. California’s building codes (CBC) currently prescribe certain requirements for homes built within the Wildland Urban Interface, or W.U.I. Yet in many instances homes, even new homes built to current CBC standards were destroyed, leading many constructing within the WUI to ask themselves if they should build in excess of current codes. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Exterior Cement Plaster

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Exterior cement plaster (stucco) is an exterior finish consisting of portland cement, sand, mixed with water to form a workable plaster. Admixtures may be added to for various purposes including workability. It’s advantages include utility, relatively low first cost, and minimum need for maintenance. Plaster can be a desirable facing material: hard, strong, and most of all, fire-resistant.
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