The Point’s Picks for January 20th

Now that the holidays are over and everyone’s down to business again, what better thing to do than publish our first weekly summary of the New Year? So with no further ado, here, once again, is our hand-picked, curated summary of attention grabbers from this past week (and maybe even a week or two prior):

On Birmingham Point

We published postings on our complete design of a Golden Ratio workbench and hockey puck bench standoffs. Each are used together and can serve many purposes, but the biggest challenge facing us right now is the restoration of a huge number of historic windows, and that’s where this gear will first be put to use…as soon as that bench actually gets built, that is.

LEED Habitat Project

I’ve been following Sean Lintow’s LEED Habitat effort on SLS Construction’s HTRC blog. The entire series of articles to date can be found at this link. Not only is this an interesting and significant project, but these articles are a first hand account by a conscientious and expert builder.

Whole Lotta Push Ups

I’ve also been following Alexandra Williams and her sister Kymberly in the Patriot Push-Ups Challenge, in which they do 212 push-ups a day, for a total of 6347 push-ups, in honor of each fallen U.S. service member of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Frankly, I fear Alexandra’s doing all these push-ups just to give me one good butt kicking…and probably soon! :-)

The HAL 9000 Thermostat

There was much buzz this past week about the Nest learning thermostat, its pros as well as its cons, as many folks are beginning to install them and put them into service (apparently, the HAL 9000 meme has already been widely used in this context — which is really too bad, because I was certain that I’d been the first and only).

John Nicholas wrote an indepth account of his own experiences in installing his Nest thermostat on his Efficient Energy Savers blog. We’re looking forward to his forthcoming impressions of its operation over the next week or so.

A related critique of the Nest thermostat was also published by Green Tech Enterprise. A number of the comments on this article are particularly insightful.

And also on a closely related note, EnergyVanguard published a guest blog post entitled “The Case Against High Thermostat Setbacks“. Another post arguing in favor of setbacks is forthcoming.

‘Tis The Season

John Nicholas also published an interesting account of inferring building envelope issues (air sealing and insulation) by observing patterns of frost formation on roof tops. Last winter, when it seemed to snow absolutely everywhere, both EnergyVanguard and SLSConstruction likewise wrote quite a bit about this same topic, but in terms of snow melt patterns. Not a bad way to while away the time on a cold winter day!

Electrical Safety

Fluke Thermography published this excellent application note on electrical safety, “Ten Dumb Things Smart People Do When Testing Electricity“. A critically important topic, and certainly a must read.

Historic Homes

Stratford Patch reported a new series by the Old Stratford Neighborhood Association on historic homes in Stratford, Connecticut. This is my home town! So I’m very much looking forward to this series.

Tree Hugger published a great article last week entitled: “Embodied Energy And Green Building: Does It Matter?“. Yeah, I think it matters a great deal. The concept of embodied energy justifies the preservation and continued use of older buildings and homes, and links preservation to global sustainability. Unfortunately, many folks out there who are all too anxious to tear down an old building and replace it with a newer, “greener” building, really don’t get this point.

That’s it!

Here’s to a great weekend. Everyone stay warm, but also try to get out there and enjoy the snow if you get some!

Mansfield House, Ansonia, Connecticut

The Rev. Richard Mansfield House, ca. 1700, Ansonia, Connecticut

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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4 Responses to The Point’s Picks for January 20th

  1. Thanks for the pick, John! I’ll let Alexandra do some pushups for me, too.

  2. John Poole says:

    Thanks! And…I’m scared now! The “Super Manly House”, as you call it, actually has a few secret passages running through it (seriously), making it possible to evade pursuing butt kickers!

  3. John Poole says:

    Hey, play nice! You’re harshing my mellow blog! :)

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