Glass and Windows – Trends in Residential Architecture

Since the recession came to town a few years back, residential architects have report mixed messages in the last two years as to what homeowners are looking for in residential design features. While there is an interest in energy savings among those wanting new homes, financial challenges remain the largest single hurdle to utilizing some of these innovations in new home construction.

You can almost guess some of the trends dating back to early 2011. Smaller sized homes probably top the list for newly designed habitats. The McMansions have given way to much smaller environmental footprints with an eye to more efficient use of space. Also, the box design has re-emerged and architects are busy trying to give an old shape new life. Open floor plans are favored over lots of small rooms. The single most desired feature is incorporating more natural light into living spaces.

To obtain more light naturally means only one thing-large windows. Here is a product that is somewhat baffling. While new home builders are shying away from solar panels and tankless water heaters due to price concerns, glass manufacturers have managed to hold on to a slight edge in consumer interest despite these other down turns. Even those who sell glass for residential use admit that their product is not cheap, but this hasn’t deterred consumers.

Anderson Window Glass is now producing a pane that has an aluminum dioxide coating that sheds dirt and eliminates water spots. When you have glass walls that may reach two stories, these innovations are very important. It’s a problem to look out on a beautiful vista and see only the residue of last night’s rain.

Privacy and security remain of concern when your house walls are made of glass. Hunter Douglas now has glass which is outfitted with solar energy sensors that can automatically raise and lower blinds in response to the amount of sunlight being detected. Many homeowners in this situation use landscaping to provide privacy as well. Lutron Electronics has taken this concept a step in another direction with an Iphone app that can remotely control the movement of window shades.

Where glass was once an architectural “no-no” due to its low energy efficiency and  attendant  difficulty of causing interior damage from sunlight, it has moved into the ranks of  being a staple of modern green building. Commercial builders have obviously embraced glass with steel construction for many years now and they are seeing the financial upside of the latest glass products. For many companies, this wasn’t as much of a green decision as it was an economic  one.

When we think of building our dream home, it is worth remembering that economics, evolving attitudes and generational differences play an important role in how those dreams manifest themselves. Smaller homes with big glass walls seems to be of architectural interest to many people. As glass continues to improve as an innovative and energy-wise product, it is likely that more and more of us will be able to let the sunshine into our lives.
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Life after Fossil Fuels

There is a lot of talk about replacing fossil fuel use with other forms of renewable energy. The discussion, though worthy of discourse, has become somewhat simplistic in the process. Fossil fuels out today and wind power in tomorrow; fossil fuels out today and solar panels in tomorrow. Of course, if the answers were that simple, we wouldn’t need so much discussion, would we?

Unfortunately, these conversations become cloaked in politics and partisan points of view. There are few sources that just present the facts about our planet’s dicey environmental situation . Information presented as fact is often clouded by editorial layers much like the proverbial onion.

David McKay is a British physicist. He likes to say that he is “pro-arithmetic.” Reading his book or watching  his interviews suggest that his perspective is “by the numbers” and not much more. Numbers, however, can be quite sobering in and of themselves. Dr. McKay’s numbers point to very real physical limitations in terms of the production of power.

He uses his own country, Great Britain, as an example of a country in dire need of more land in order to fully power its needs. Currently, 90% of the UK’s energy supply is from fossil fuels. His arithmetic points to the need for 20 to 25 percent of Great Britain’s landscape to be devoted completely to growing corn for bio-fuel and land for the creation of wind farms and solar panels. It begs the question of where would all the people displaced in this process live?

Thinking of renewable energy as a replacement for fossil fuel use in the world in these stark terms should give us pause.  It is certainly a novel way to teach us about environmental science and usually the science of math is something the world can agree upon to a large extent.  Based on his own research, Dr. McKay strongly favors big actions that make a lot of difference.

He is not against us as individuals lowering our thermostat and switching off the lights when we aren’t in the room, but his focus is on the big picture of world energy consumption. Renewable energy includes wind, solar heating, solar photovoltaic’s, biomass, hydro, tide waves and geothermal energy.  Considering these sources, you then have to take into consideration their availability. In countries like England, solar energy is not terribly efficient due to weather patterns while the Sudan would be perfect to capture large amounts of uninterrupted solar energy nearly every day of the year.

This leads us to the question of future alliances and conflicts. Will countries be eyeing each other’s landscapes to lease large tracts of land for growing corn or soy beans?  Will the balances of national power someday be based on how much sunlight a country receives or prevailing wind patterns it experiences as opposed to pure military might? Or will Imperialism once again rear its’ ugly head for the purpose of securing the energy futures of a few nations.

There are very few countries in the world today that possess all of these forms of renewable energy. The world’s consumption of energy is moving toward the British model  where significant portions of each country would need to be devoted entirely to energy production of one kind or another, if fossil fuel use is abandoned.  Then the question of how to transport these renewable forms of energy comes into play; the process is not as simple as filling a tanker full of oil.

While many of us aspire to a life after fossil fuels, it is important to be a bit careful about what we are asking.  Simplifying the answers may be good for bumper stickers but they can trick a national psyche into an “if only” mentality; if only we didn’t rely so heavily on oil and gas, life would be grand.
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Installing Car Window Tint Video

So you’ve decided to take matters into your own hands and tint your car yourself. A wise choice, not least if you’re trying to save cash.

DIY car window tint installation isn’t rocket science when you know what you’re doing but if you’ve never done it before, then you’ll no doubt appreciate the installation tips in the video below.

Cart Window Tint Installation at a glance:

 Required Tools

-Lil Chizler

-Hard Card

-Gasket Jammer

-Baby Shampoo

-Spray Bottle

-Distilled Water


    1.Clean Windows
        @Fill your spray bottle with a quart of distilled water, adding 1/4 teaspoon of Baby Shampoo.
        ASpray the window with the cleaning solution you concocted above and wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth or paper towel until it is spotless.
        BWith your Lil Chizler, scrape off any persistent spots of dirt or grime.

    2.Apply Film
        @Use the gasket jammer to fully remove the weather gasket lining the window.
        ASpray the inside of the entire inside surface of the window, as well as the sticky side of the window film.
        BBefore applying the window, roll down the window very slightly so that there is a gap between the window top and doorframe.
        CApply the film to the window, making sure to tuck the bottom edge under the bottom window gasket with the jammer.
        DAt this point the film should be flat against the window and able to move along the surface thanks to the wetness beneath. Carefully adjust the window film to match the outline of the window.

    3.Remove Water
        @Wet the window film once again to eliminate friction while squeegee-ing the water below the film using a hard card.
        AMake sure to squeegee from the center outwards, removing all the bubbles along with the water.
        BOnce the water and bubbles are removed, fully roll down the window and re-insert the gasket.
        CImmediately after inserting the gasket, roll the window back up and leave the window fully closed for roughly 3 days to cure.
More Tinting Tools are here: http://www.tintingtool.com/

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