Thursday, February 26, 2009

Garage Doors, Pillars, and Solar Pipes

The garage doors were installed recently and we were pleasantly surprised to see that their color matched the house color scheme nicely and so we will not have to paint them.

The pillars in the front of the house were finally out into place. They will be covered with stone along with the entranceway around the front door. Posts will run from the top of the pillars to the porch covering.

A minor setback occurred when we realized the solar water heater pipes had not been insulated before the sheetrock went up. So we cut out the sheetrock where we needed to and the plumber came in and insulated the pipes with closed cell tubular insulation. The pipes need to be insulated or significant heat loss will occur as the water travels back and forth from the tank to the solar collectors on the roof. Over the next several days, sections of copper piping will be added and the tanks and panels installed. Look for those pictures soon!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Exterior Painting Progress and Sheetrock Installation

As you can see, the exterior painting is moving right along...
That's Shelby and Maggie in front of the house.

And the sheetrock is being installed at a fast clip. This is the rear upstairs bedroom.

This is the master bedroom downstairs.

This is the kitchen. You can also see the entrance to the pantry
and the stairs leading to the second level.

This is a view of the great room area, including the kitchen.

Maggie and the builder, Jay Rogers, on the rooftop terrace discussing the railing.

As you can see, the metal roof is on the covered porch. This is looking through
the window in the rear upstairs bedroom.

The painters have even made their way around to the rear of the house.

We just love how the colors are turning out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Switzer Green Home Inspires Prize-Winning Green Idea

Building a green home gave me an idea that I thought was worthy of entering the New Ideas for a New Carolina contest. But who would have thought that I would win the grand prize...yeehaw!

Here's the press release from New Carolina, also known as South Carolina's Council on Competitiveness:

Electric Wall Outlet That Saves Energy Wins New Ideas for a New Carolina Business Ideas Contest

Charleston, SC – Electric wall outlets to save energy was the grand prize winner in the New Ideas for a New Carolina business ideas contest, which were announced February 11 at the ThinkTEC Innovation Summit in Charleston. Mike Switzer of Richland County won the grand prize with his idea of installing electric wall outlets in new construction and replacement markets that would eliminate wasted energy. Essentially, if an appliance isn’t in use the outlet would shut off. Switzer won $5,000 seed money, a scholarship to FastTrac entrepreneurial training programs and access to a Dream Team of Mentors to help cultivate his idea.

“We are so pleased to support South Carolina’s up and coming entrepreneurs and their innovative business ideas again this year,” said Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA. “SC Launch is proud to be associated with the New Ideas contestants– and we are eager to see them succeed and help build an even stronger knowledge base in South Carolina.”

Winners were chosen in four categories based on the idea’s viability, innovation/vision and profit/revenue potential. There was also a Wildcard category chosen by co-owner of the Charleston RiverDogs Baseball team and “Director of Fun”, comedian Bill Murray and Mike Veeck, President of the RiverDogs. Each category winner received $2,500 to cultivate their idea and a scholarship to FastTrac. The honorable mentions in each category received $1,000.

Winners and Honorable Mentions in each category include:


Winner: Michael S. Kitchen, Charleston County - Minimally invasive placement of orthopedic instrumentation with minimal damage to tissues and structures.

Honorable Mention: Robert J. Wolff, Lexington County - Clean2Touch, antimicrobial products for commercial use in public places.

Software/Information Technology:

Winner: Vickie Waller, Dorchester County - Website that offers search and find functions with ratings and availability of boat captains in the United States.

Honorable Mention: Ron Fulbright, Spartanburg County – EmA is a network appliance for seniors designed for email and photos only.


Winner: Mike Switzer, Richland County - Electric wall outlets for the new construction and replacement markets that eliminate wasted power usage.

Honorable Mention: David E. Witter, Anderson County - Lower cost solar grade silicon for photovoltaic energy systems.

Environmental Sustainability:
Winner: Andrew Epting, Richland County - Palmetto Solar, a solar sail that utilizes the forces generated by photons to turn a turbine within a partial vacuum to produce clean and renewable electricity.

Honorable Mention: Dannie B. Hudson, Dorchester County - A dual fuel homogenization system that reduces residual fuel consumption 2% to 5% and NO, SO2 and CO2 more than 90 percent.

Wild Card category:

Winner: Bryan Pierce Bowers, Jr., Charleston County - BikeBack, small, weatherproof GPS technology to track and retrieve a bicycle if it is stolen.

Honorable Mention: Ron Fulbright, Spartanburg County – Spockets, add pockets to any item of clothing using a magnet backing.

About New Ideas for a New Carolina: In its fourth year, South Carolina’s New Ideas for a New Carolina Business Idea Contest consists of the New Ideas Dream Team, a coalition of representatives from SCRA’s SC Launch!, New Carolina – SC’s Council on Competitiveness, FastTracSC, ThinkTEC and other organizations around the state. Ideas are judged by South Carolina leaders from angel capital groups, businesses, non-profits, government entities and educational institutions. For more information visit:

And here is a short video from WCIV TV4 in Charleston taped before the winner was announced:

Needless to say, I was shocked (no electricity pun intended).

We'll keep you posted!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sheetrock has Arrived!

The truck arrived recently with the sheetrock. When the sheetrock is up, we will really feel like the house is becoming a home.

At the same time the sheetrock is going up, the metal roof continues to be installed and the painter is painting the exterior.

In case you were wondering, this is the pergola that is on the old clubhouse at the University Club (now the Cobblestone Park Golf Club). We will be taking it down before the clubhouse is torn down so we can keep it out of the landfill. It will be cut in two with half going on our rooftop terrace and the other half at our brick patio in the back yard.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Painting Has Started and First Blower-Door Test

Painting has finally started. The painter first painted this small section of the garage to show us the colors so we could decide if we still wanted those colors. And we loved them! The shake shingles in the gables are being painted Cedar and the vertical lower siding is Mountain Pine with the trim in Mystic White, all from Olympic.

On Tuesday, Claude St. Hillaire, the LEED inspector from Home Energy Group performed a preliminary Blower-Door Test to check the air-tightness of our house. Another one will be performed after the sheet rock is finished. Here is the report from our builder:

Home Energy Group did the blower door test on Tuesday afternoon. As a builder, it was quite an informative exercise. This should be done on every house.
The basic SIPS performed quite well. The panel to panel, the wall panel to wall, and the wall panel to roof panel connections were all fairly tight. There were a few areas that had some leakage, but all can be repaired. The majority of the spots that had some leakage were the areas where the SIP panels that formed the walls of dormers rested on the roof framing, where beams were cut into the SIP panels, and the door that was cut into the attic space above the garage. The testing agent was very thorough and as he went around he marked the few spots that needed to be filled/foamed. We'll get these areas repaired prior to hanging sheetrock. All-in-all, it is a tight house and will be very energy efficient.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Richard J. Rogers P.E.
2324 Devine Street
Columbia, SC 29205

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