Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SFI Lumber

The “building green” movement is one of the most significant efforts in helping to protect our environment. The
Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. is proud to be a strong partner in the movement by certifying more environmentally
responsible building materials than any other standard.
Here are just a few of the reasons why SFI certified wood fits squarely within the goals of Green Building rating systems.

On January 1, 2007, a new, fully independent organization, the SFI, Inc. was created to direct all elements of the
SFI® program.
The multi-stakeholder board of SFI, Inc. is now the sole governing body over the SFI Standard and all aspects of the
program, including chain of custody certification and labeling, marketing and promotion. SFI, Inc.’s board members
represent environmental and conservation organizations, public officials, professional and academic groups, independent
logging professionals and forest landowners.
u Broad Support:
The SFI program enjoys support from more than two dozen conservation groups, organized labor,
family forest owners, scientists, universities and public agencies. The SFI program does not rely exclusively on annual
foundation funding or grants and has the support and funding infrastructure necessary to ensure an economically viable
program into the future.
u Independent Audits:
SFI, Inc. requires auditors to be accredited by an independent third-party. The SFI program
sets the standards for certification and auditor qualifications but does not accredit auditors. The SFI program requires auditors
be accredited by an independent body, such as the American National Standards Institute. SFI Audit Procedures and
Qualifications require that audited organizations be in full compliance with the SFI Standard at the time of the audit.
u Independent Assessments:
Numerous independent, unbiased, science-based studies comparing the SFI and Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) programs have shown the two programs to be nearly identical when it comes to on-the-
ground performance. These studies have been conducted by respected organizations like Metafore, The Pinchot Institute,
and ProForest (for the UK Government). The UK Green Buildings Standard fully recognizes the SFI program as does the
official UK government procurement policy.
The Japanese government’s procurement policy requires the government to purchase wood and wood products that are
harvested in a legal and sustainable manner. This policy recognizes SFI certified products as meeting those criteria. In
addition, Japan’s green building system, Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency, fully
recognizes SFI certified products.
u Label and Chain of Custody:
The SFI program has a comprehensive Chain of Custody and labeling program that
includes percent content labels for those who choose to use Chain of Custody (CoC).
u Internationally Recognized:
The SFI program has been internationally recognized by the Programme for the Endorsement
of Forest Certification (PEFC). www.pefc.org
u Abundant Supply:
The SFI program is the largest forest certification program in North America, with more than 133
million acres independently certified. Eighty-five percent of wood panel products and 50 percent of dimensional lumber
products in the United States are produced by SFI program participants. This means the SFI program can provide
a reliable source of materials for those in the green building market.

Recognizing wood from the SFI program and other credible certification systems will expand
sustainable forestry and green building practices worldwide.
“The Sustainable Forestry Initiative”, “Growing Tomorrow’s Forests Today”, “SFI” and the SFI logo are registered marks associated with the SFI program.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Phase II- Framing

We are trying to use FSC certified woods for framing:

What is FSC?

In the days leading up to and following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, world attention was focused on the challenges faced by cultures around the globe as demands on their natural resources increased. Poverty, disease, land use change, climate change, and pollution all continue to threaten our resources and the stability of cultures worldwide. The challenges at Rio remain largely unmet. However, the conversations that occurred there contributed to one solution — the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Driven in part by the failure of an intergovernmental process to agree on a global forest compact, and the compelling question — what is sustainable forestry? — loggers, foresters, environmentalists, and sociologists came together in the first General Assembly to form the FSC in 1993.

The Forest Stewardship Council was created to change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. This impressive goal has in many ways been achieved, yet there is more work to be done. FSC sets forth principles, criteria, and standards that span economic, social, and environmental concerns. The FSC standards represent the world's strongest system for guiding forest management toward sustainable outcomes. Like the forestry profession itself, the FSC system includes stakeholders with a diverse array of perspectives on what represents a well-managed and sustainable forest. While the discussion continues, the FSC standards for forest management have now been applied in over 57 countries around the world.

In 1995, FSC-US, located in Minneapolis, MN, was established as the national “chapter” of FSC.

It's purpose is to coordinate the development of forest management standards throughout the different biogeographic regions of the U.S., to provide public information about certification and FSC, and to work with certification organizations to promote FSC certification in the U.S.FSC-US has a national presence through the work of its Board of Directors, members, staff, and regional standards coordinators.

The FSC's international headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany. FSC has contact person and national offices in more than 40 countries, creating a global FSC network. For more information on FSC at the international level, please visit www.fsc.org.

Monday, November 16, 2009





2434 Lincoln Blvd , Venice CA 90291



Sunday, November 8, 2009

Going Green On the Cheap! by Nicole Falco from Biomonde

Can’t afford a Prius right now? Solar panels too expensive? Does going green seem like something to put off for when our good old economy bounces back? Does it feel like going green costs too much green?
Well it shouldn’t. We can go green on the cheap. Let’s shift our focus and wallets over to low-cost, low-tech, but hi-efficiency and resource saving products and practices. Green efficiency saves you money. Green products and practices save your health. And as a bonus – it saves the planet too!
For example: replacing ordinary incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents or LED bulbs results in huge cost savings and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. But what’s the problem? We are not making the switch. According to Glenn Croston’s book, 75 Green Businesses, “ only about 6% of US homes are using them.” The point is that going green is easier and less expensive than we think. What other cheap things can we do right now?
-Install a programmable thermostat (costs only $100 bucks, if you are anything like me -you can do a lot worse shoe shopping online)
-Get low-flow, low-cost showerheads and faucet aerators installed (retrofitting is always cheaper than replacing fixtures, your water bill will shrink)
-Seal up air leaks (why install solar panels when your home may not even be energy efficient? And watch your electric bill go down…)
-Change air filters (get someone to do it for you three times a year – it saves energy and $$$)
-Insulate your water heater with a special inexpensive blanket created for this (big energy reducer for now, in the future you can invest in a new energy star approved heater)
-Install water filters – makes that tap water nice and tasty (won’t need to buy bottled water)
-Swap out your current cleaning service for a green cleaning service – or swap out the products under the sink for green ones (your indoor air quality will improve)
Sounds good for the wallet and planet? So what’s the other problem? We have no time. I have a confession to make – I am one of the 6% of people who have energy efficient bulbs installed. How? I have no time: I work in fashion and write for a living. The answer: my husband is a certified green consultant and green property manager. I have a unique and very convenient situation for going green: my husband identifies what we can do within our budget, and then he does it himself for us!
Since all of my friends and neighbors are in the same “no time, no money boat” – I encouraged him to create a new green service for them – supplying and installing low-tech, low-cost products. This makes energy and resource efficiency an easy and affordable thing to achieve.
The timing could not be better – the U.S. government just unveiled the “Recovery through Retrofit Report”. Why should we care about that? Because our homes produce twice the greenhouse gas emissions than our cars! The report adds, "Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40% per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually. Retrofitting existing homes also has the potential to cut home energy bills by $21 billion annually.” That sounds like money in our pockets.

The reality is that all of us can go green on the cheap and with no time. All you have to do: find local services that can provide and implement low-cost, low-tech, high efficiency and resource saving products in your home or business. Let them do the rest.

Nicole Falco writes for Biomonde, a green services company. Biomonde is headed up by the only federally trademarked green consultant in San Diego and Brooklyn, NY. Biomonde both supplies and installs affordable green products and technologies that save money by maximizing efficiency. Going green is now in everyone’s reach! As a bonus - our business and residential clients receive a cool sign to display their conservation efforts to the community! Check out our website at www.biomondegreen.com.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lending to others-Giving Back

We have had so many issues with getting a construction loan for our build that I wanted to help others to realize their dreams and so I just made a loan to someone in Nigeria using a revolutionary new website called Kiva (www.kiva.org).

You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.

The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Lovelyn Osahon in Nigeria. They still need another $425.00 to complete their loan request of $800.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). Help me get this entrepreneur off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Lovelyn Osahon too:


It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build a
sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.

Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.


What others are saying about www.Kiva.org:

'Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.'
-- BBC

'If you've got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you've now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.'
-- CNN Money

'Smaller investors can make loans of as little as $25 to specific individual entrepreneurs through a service launched last fall by Kiva.org.'
-- The Wall Street Journal

'An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity...All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.'
-- Entrepreneur Magazine

Saturday, July 25, 2009


How do we make concrete green?

Concrete: A Green Building Material

The most popular buzzword in construction today has also pervaded almost every other aspect of modern life: green. Whether it is applied to building, living, or eating, everyone is attempting to reshape their habits in an environmentally friendly manner.

Contractors, who must always attempt to respond to new consumer demands in order to maintain a competitive presence, are struggling to change their building practices and integrate green design into their business. However, one of the most commonly used building materials is one of the greenest options available!

Concrete fits many of the requirements for environmental responsibility. Here are some of the reasons why concrete can be an excellent choice for use in green design.

Why is Concrete Green?

The main tenets of green and sustainable design are reduce, reuse and recycle. The goal is to reduce the negative impact, or “footprint,” that we as a species have on the earth. Concrete is an important option available to consumers looking to use green materials in their new homes, additions or updates. One of the most important factors is that cement, the main component of concrete, is made from the most common mineral found on earth: limestone.

Limestone is crushed to create cement powder. Also, since limestone is so common around the world, it can generally be harvested and processed locally, which reduces the amount of resources needed to transport the cement from the plant to the construction site. In addition, cement can be made or partially comprised from waste products from various production processes such as fly ash, silica or slag.

How Concrete Reduces the Carbon Footprint

Concrete acts as a natural insulator, or better said, helps to adjust to environmental conditions. Concrete retains heat, which can significantly help with homeowner's heating and cooling needs. It can absorb warmth from the sun in the winter months and retain the heat inside, while keeping in the cool air in the summer.

In addition, concrete walls tend to be airtight, and thus, minimize drafts that traditional building materials allow into the building. This alone can reduce heating and cooling costs significantly. Finally, natural concrete is lighter colored and reflects more light than many other surfaces. This is especially valuable in close building situations, such as cities, where dark surfaces can absorb heat and artificially increase the local temperature.

One of the most popular features of concrete is its durability, which is also one of the main factors in its being a green building material. Sustainable building and living emphasizes long-term solutions and products over cheap, short-term products that will be thrown away and add to the waste management issues that already exist. Concrete can last for many times longer than conventional building materials, such as wood or drywall. It is very resistant to common causes of deterioration in homes such as insect activity, rot, rust and even fire.

Overall, concrete can offer many homeowners the sustainable option they want, while giving them the cost effectiveness and structural strength they require. Contractors, meanwhile, may find that they are already employing more green business practices than they had ever imagined.

Pollie Gautsch San Diego Green Homes cell- 858-344-5905 fax- 760-454-4673 www.sandiegogreenhomes.com

Monday, June 29, 2009


We attended the Dwell on Design Exhibition in Los Angeles and saw many great manufacturers and services providers of green products. http://www.dwellondesign.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=12&Itemid=244

Noteworthy exhibitors were:

ECO STUCCO- http://www.ecostucco.com/

KOHLER- http://www.us.kohler.com/savewater/home.htm

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Asbestos information- Safe alternatives

San Diego Homeowners Striving for Green Living

Living in the 21st century, many cities are adapting to the new green paradigm, updating old homes and buildings to suit the needs of a healthier environment and home. With a growing amount of education and technology in eco-sustainable resources, the state of California is leading the way towards a green paradigm of building and construction.
It is important to take note of the consequences of improper building materials and environmental degradation. As citizens of Earth, we are obligated to nurture and sustain this planet.
Known for a large industrial history, California’s economy has had success in areas such as ship-building, mining and power generation. These industries found many usages for asbestos, as the material has fire and heat resistant qualities. Utilized in homes as a form of piping and insulation throughout the 20th century, asbestos manufacterers were aware of the corrosive effects of the substance, but continued manufacturing it anyways. This obsolete building material can easily be replaced with green methods of insulation that can even reduce annual energy costs!

Many homes, buildings and public facilities built prior to 1980 may still contain asbestos and other hazardous materials. In many instances, the best action is no action at all. Disturbing asbestos in good condition may cause its fibers to be released into the air. Prolonged exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can potentially lead to the development of related lung ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of asbestos cancer that accounts for three percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States. Due to the fact many mesothelioma symptoms are similar to less serious ailments, Diagnosis of mesothelioma is one of the more difficult tasks physicians encounter.

Go Green in the Home

“Green” home modifications will help save on energy costs and provide tax credits, but some of them may even be better for your health.

Recently, congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Included in this act were extensions to the tax incentives placed for energy efficiency in 2005, as well as new credits for homeowners who remodel or build using eco-sustainable methods. Some of the measures that are eligible for tax credits include added insulation to walls, ceilings, or other part of the building envelope that meets the 2009 IECC specifications, sealing cracks in the building shell and ducts to reduce heat loss. Storm doors paired with U-factored rated wood doors are also eligible.

Most people are unaware to the fact that eco-friendly products can cut energy costs by 25 % per year. The U.S. Green Building Council conducted a study which estimated a new savings of $50-$65 per square foot for positively constructed green buildings. As education and technology of green sustainable practices increase, the numbers will continue to rise.

There is no need for any products used in construction to be made from asbestos, yet over 3,000 work and home-based materials still contain this toxin. Rather than expensive and mal-treated wood, interior walls can be made from steel and concrete, avoiding many of the problems associated with asbestos and other insulation methods. Green alternatives to asbestos include the use of cotton fiber, lcynene foam and cellulose. These green options have the same beneficial qualities as asbestos, minus the health deteriorating and toxic components. Many locations throughout the United States are swiftly changing their construction practices to suit the environment and the health of human beings.

“Credit to Paul James of the Mesothelioma Cancer Center for
submitting the article.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

california coastal commission

After two years of waiting we have finally made it through Coastal!

See below for our approval:

Application No. 6-08-86 (Gautsch & Matsui, Solana Beach) Application of Pollie Gautsch & Darryl Matsui to construct 2-story, 4,012 sq.ft., single-family home, 283 sq.ft. workshop, and 590 sq.ft., 2-car garage, with associated grading and landscaping, on 59,533 sq.ft. vacant lot, at 445 Holmwood Lane, Solana Beach, San Diego County. (EL-SD) [APPROVED WITH CONDITIONS, moved to Consent Calendar]

We still have some conditions to complete but as soon as we get the building permits from the City of Solana Beach we will be able to break ground.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Green Stuff used in our project



Heating/Cooking System: hydronic space heating

Active Solar - Solar (photovoltaic) electric power generation, solar hot water heating

Passive Solar – Skylights

Lighting: Low-voltage recessed cans plus florescent and compact fluorescent fixtures, daylight controls

Appliances: Energy Star appliances and front-loading high efficiency clothing washer

Insulation: formaldehyde-free insulation made from recycled jeans by Bonded Logic


Exterior Materials: Recycled siding, FSC certified lumber

Interior Materials: Recycled trim, doors and cabinetry, FSC-certified cabinets, concrete countertops, reclaimed materials used for flooring, High Efficient Ceiling Fans, Double-Pane windows, Fly ash concrete walls and floors, Low VOC paint, non combustible building materials


Bamboo sinks, Recycled Concrete Sinks, Vintage Reclaimed Furniture, Compressed Paper Countertops, Recycled glass tiles


Fixtures: Low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets


Waste Reduction: Recycled waste products, recycle job site construction waste, use recycled content

Recycling: Separated and recycled waste products

Construction Methods: Standard framing with FSC-certified cabinets, apply optimal value engineering


Plants: Native Landscaping

Rainwater Harvesting: Rainwater collection in cisterns

Irrigation: Weather based automated irrigation control system

Friday, February 27, 2009

1st Green Point Rated House in Solana Beach

We have submitted our final set of plans in the City of Solana Beach and we are going to be the 1st to be Green Point Rated in Solana Beach! So exciting. Green Point rating is a program through Build It Green www.builditgreen.org.

Residential Guidelines

Build It Green's Green Building Guidelines

Build It Green offers Green Building Guidelines for New Home Construction, Home Remodeling, and Multifamily Construction. The Guidelines' recommended measures were specifically developed to address climate and market conditions in California, are endorsed by credible third-party sources, and are backed by sound building science.

The Guidelines were developed and refined by a diverse set of residential building stakeholders including production builders, contractors, architects and designers, multifamily home developers, state and local government leaders, regional and national building-science experts, product manufacturers and suppliers, and green building advocates. In the past six years, numerous local governments have adopted and use the Guidelines.

GreenPoint Rated

GreenPoint Rated is a third-party verification system for the green building measures referenced in the Green Building Guidelines. GreenPoint Rated is an outgrowth of successful green building programs and resources that have been serving Californians since 2000.

The points in GreenPoint Rated correspond to recommended green building measures in Build It Green's New Home Construction and Multifamily Green Building Guidelines. Point values are assigned based on their benefits to the homeowner and the environment and reflect construction practices that exceed California's building and energy code requirements.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Solana Beach

Green Building Fair

When: Friday, February 27, 2009

Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Where: Fletcher Cove Park

100 S. Sierra Avenue, Solana Beach

Local experts on sustainable building and energy

Learn more about Build it Green and LEED

Latest building materials and design

Free Prize Drawings

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Solana Beach Green Building Fair

Friday February 27, 2009 from 1-4pm