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RE: T4 versus T5 in undercabinet fixtures. (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: davidr on 03.29.2007 at 06:15 pm in Lighting Forum

What Jon says was true years ago, but not any more. "Cool white" was often used (and still often is) to refer to the old halophosphate phosphor T12 lamps, which had low CRI (in the 60 range or less). These do yield rather unpleasant light and poor color rendering.

"Warm white" also used to refer to modified halophosphate lamps. Often these had even lower CRI than the cool white lamps, in the 40s or 50s. These did an absolutely horrible job on colors.

However, modern T8 lamps have a blend of 3 types of rare earth phosphors. This gives a much better light and a wide range of color temperature (CT) and color rendering index (CRI).

You can get T8s in 4100K color temperature with high CRI (82 or so). These have a somewhat chilly light but it's much improved over the dreary light from the old T12s. They still feel like living under a perpetually cloudy sky, but at least the color rendering is better. They're incredibly bright, BTW.

The 3000K T8 lamps with 82+ CRI produce a very pleasant warm light which blends well with incandescents. The pinkish cast of old warm whites is gone, and color look good and warm under them. They're so far ahead of the old warm white that there's no comparison.

When buying T8 lamps, look at the product code on the lamp. It depends on the manufacturer, but most adhere to this convention. You'll usually see something like "F32T8/741" or "F32T8/830." There may be some other letters in there, but what you're concerned with is the last 3 digits (after the slash).

The first digit designates the CRI, the last two stand for the color temperature. Thus an 830 lamp is 82CRI, 3000K and a 741 lamp is 74CRI and 4100K. You usually want the first digit to be as high as possible, and the last two are more a matter of taste.

I use 830 lamps in living spaces, and 835 or 735 lamps for the cellar and garage. If you're fitting out an artist's studio or a laundry room, you might want 850 or 865 (bluish-tinged daylight).

There are also a few very high (90+) CRI lamps available. Osram-Sylvania and/or Philips (sorry, don't recall which) make 930, 950, and 965 types. These are fairly expensive and usually have to be special ordered, but they should produce excellent color rendering.

Hope this helps.


good info on undercabinet lighting
clipped on: 06.17.2009 at 07:30 pm    last updated on: 06.17.2009 at 07:31 pm

Finally - Elizpiz's Finished Kitchen

posted by: elizpiz on 03.25.2009 at 12:04 pm in Kitchens Forum

Well, here it is I am finally posting my finished kitchen. A quick "before and after" full album linked below.

So, before....

View from basement stairs

And after...

The beautiful Horsefeathers bookshelf

Some background and few details:

Our house is almost 100 years old and as such, the original kitchen was quite small about 9x10. We have an unusually shaped lot, and the shape allowed for us to be able to knock down an exterior wall and build out. Here is the original floor plan:

Original floor plan

I love to cook but for all of my adult life I have never cooked in a kitchen that was bigger than 9x10. I've never had a dishwasher before, unless DH counts (we didn't have one in my family home either) and the efficiency in our "zone" came from being able to reach everything because the space was so darn small!

The objective was to make the kitchen look like it was always there, with more up to date appliances. To achieve that, we had the cabinets hand painted and distressed and chose heritage colours. We used reclaimed oak planks for the island countertop; the hardware is a combination of hand forged cast iron from England and finds from architectural salvage. Countertops and the main sink are soapstone.

An imperative was to find a home for my 300+ (and counting) cookbook collection. We achieved that through clever cabinetry and the acquisition of a beautiful old hutch.

But most of all, we wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the house, and it really is. I can honestly say that we don't sit in the living room anymore!

We started the project in May and it was completed in December. The past few weeks have been spent getting the finishing details (stools, etc). Along with the kitchen, we rewired the house, excavated down to a new laundry room, added storage, repainted everything, redid the bathroom in the basement etc etc... It was a house reno disguised as a kitchen addition.

We didn't work with a designer - the ideas were ours, brought to life by our GC - and primarily me spending *hours* right here with all of you dear GWers. So THANK YOU for all of your generosity, your advice, your wisdom and your passion for all things TKO I wish I could throw a giant GW party to give you all a big hug!

Top notes (feel free to contact me if you have questions):
Soapstone counters
Custom cabinetry
Liebherr fridge
TurboChef double ovens
BlueStar cooktop with centre grill
Modern-Aire hood
Walker-Zanger backsplash
Miele Excella full dishwasher
FP Dishwasher Drawer
Kohler faucets: potfiller, main sink, prep sink
Hardware perimeter cabinets: Whitechapel
Hardware island and fridge: architectural salvage from Old Good Things in NYC
Bar stools from America Retold

Fair warning my album has lots of pix I just couldnt bear not to include the details.


Here is a link that might be useful: Elizpiz's Kitchen Slideshow


clipped on: 04.30.2009 at 07:13 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2009 at 07:14 pm

finished build blog?

posted by: pdessena on 04.29.2009 at 01:12 am in Building a Home Forum

I read a post that referred to a "finished build blog" but don't know how to find it. I found a finished kitchens blog on blogspot -- is there one for finished homes too? I am looking for photos for inspiration. Thanks so much.


clipped on: 04.30.2009 at 02:56 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2009 at 02:56 pm

best energy saving building techniques

posted by: ynottony on 06.10.2008 at 05:37 pm in Building a Home Forum

We are almost ready to build and I have some questions about the latest building materials that are being used. Mostly full sun on our lot, want to know if the sealed crawlspaces and the spider/ cellulose insulation is a definite money saver? there are few builders using these methods in our area. Is the radiant barrier roof sheathing and good bet. I am trying to absorb all of the info on this site as I know energy prices are going to climb soon, and I do not mind the expense knowing I will be paid back in the long run


clipped on: 04.30.2009 at 01:29 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2009 at 01:30 pm

RE: best energy saving building techniques (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 06.11.2008 at 09:12 pm in Building a Home Forum

the draping of the radiant barrier..can you explain that?
Is it a mojave desert & evaporative cooling application?

In my hot humid climate energy costs are low to me, but higher to others who are not so lucky with their utility company. (I call us 'captive ratepayers'..LOL!)
I think the biggest mistake we make here is oversizing of hvac systems. Just hard to shop for hvac when your bids range 2 to 4 ton difference on bids. Consumers need an apple to apples comparism in bids.
That aside..
Build it tight ventilate it right. A tight house is more energy efficient, cost less to heat and cool.

From the slab up air sealing should be a part of the plan.
Sill seal under sole minimum a double bead of caulking.
We use solid sheeted corners with a 1/2" foil sheathing board..and 1" foil sheating board over the rest of the studs. Once this is attached, seams are taped and holes are foamed & sealed as they are made. This is our first defense for water management, and it also improves the air barrier and provides a thermal barrier.
If tyvek is used ( not necessary behind sealed foam sheathing) it is located on the studs..before the foil/foam sheathing.
A lot of people here solid sheet the houses with plywood
which is a great idea. many solid sheet to the interior..I like it, and strength is the same.

Windows ..any brand... Ufactor of .35, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of .35 these are the minimum numbers and hold true for all climates. In northern climates a low e coating will refelct heat back into the home, in southern climates it will reflect the heat out. Location determines the location of this low e coating.
If the window has low e..but the frame is aluminum..the shgc goes up to .69 these are windows that will condensate.

Insulation...again in my climate an R15 in a 2x4 is fine.
I never tell my clients what type of insulation to buy. I don't like the cost & in many cases the application of foam insulation..and frankly haven't really seen that foam houses test better than well sealed homes with conventional insulations.
Install of insulation is the key.
(I'm sure you home owners will be sick of hearing that soon!)
Flashing of windows, doors, roof valleys..all of that stuff is critical to good water management. Setting up your wall's lines of defense now is reasonable cost & worthwhile the time to educate to get it done correctly.

Recessed lights...ICAT insulation contact air tight ONLY!
There should be a law about those IC cans somewhere..each IC (non airtight) recessed can is equal to 1' of uninsulated attic. And the crap that enters homes with these cans is unreal!
think about the insulation you install in the attic around these cans (and any opening from the attic into the conditioned space). The air is sucked from the attic when the hvac system is running and the air from the attic is filtered through the insulation around the hole...

Bath fans should be sealed at the cut in the sheetrock..this is often another big humidity issue here.

All fans & vent hoods should be vented to exterior.

Wire penetrations, stove vents, all penetrations into the conditioned space should be sealed.

hvac..what do I say here??
load calculation. pay for it. make sure that everyone bids it the same. buy the most efficient system you can comfortably afford.
Make sure that ducts are mastic sealed.
if you locate ducts in the attic they should be suspended with a 3" duct strap.
Return air chases should be sheetrocked and sealed air tight.
Supply boxes mastic sealed to sheetrock ceilings.
Duct take offs on the plenum should be mastic sealed.

Oversized systems cost more to operate, wear out sooner, and do not remove humidity. Bigger is not better!

Heat pumps are more efficient than elec strip & a/c.
Gas units are effieicnt..up from 80% to 96+%. A/C or HP should be at LEAST 14 seer.

If you can put your heating system in the living space you are a step ahead of the game..but if you can locate the ductwork in the conditioned are miles ahead!
This is a planning stage step. But in the long run..its worth it. Mostly I see these in homes of commercial hvac contractors..they understand!

Put the marble countertops in next year & invest in the things that will last that you will not as easily upgrade later.

I'm a firm believer in testing the home & the ductwork for leakage. Having a ton and a half of ductleakage to the attic is not efficient! Also testing the home allows you to find leakage sites that may have been missed. Most can be addressed, and should be by the builder.
If the house falls/tests that the air changes are less than
,25 (ach per air hour) fresh air should be introduced into the house. HRV ERV barometric damper...
Many new homes are consitered 'tight' but are not. You don't know until you test. Everything else is a guess.

I really think that performance based contracting and energystar are where we are headed. We are going to have to do something!

Remember Codes exist for good reasons, but they are still the legal minimim safety allowed by law.

best of luck to everyone!

Oh and buy Joe Lstrburik's (sp?) builder's guide for your climate. I'm on my second copy of hot humid climates!


Excellent info
clipped on: 04.30.2009 at 01:19 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2009 at 01:20 pm

RE: blown cellulose vs. foam insulation (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 02.21.2009 at 04:23 pm in Building a Home Forum

This is what I would do sharron.
install on exterior of wall 1/2" rigid closed cell insulation boards on corners over 1/2" plywood, 1" foam insulation boards on all walls. tape all seams, nail with proper nailing patterns, repair any holes before exterior cladding. if you are using a brick exterior opt for the foil foam faced sheating boards, foil will act as radaint barrier behind air space of brick.

These sheating boards are air and water barrier. if housewrap is used install it next to studs under foam boards. (note that is from local utility company's energy design is not necessary but was put in to appease housewrap mfgs)

Near where I live is an insulation company that installs
rockwool in the walls and does an exceptional job. BIBS is
a nice system, even batts will perform much better since air barrier and insulation boards are stopping air flow thru the insulation from the exterior.

Install drywall with air tight drywall approach,
make sure sill plates (sole plates) are sealed when in framing stages.

Pay attention to potential air leakage sites and seal the
leakage areas up.

If you use foam..and this is what I get from conversations with building scientists for our cell on rooflines. Also walls under floors and attic floors. open cell.

foaming the roofline will help with duct leakage issues..I'm sure you are putting your system in the attic..
another one of those really stupid things we do!
If you choose not to foam the roofline..mastic sealing of ductwork, sealed return air chases, and supply boxes should
be done. (I think is should be done reguardless)
tight homes are more efficient, and thus require less tons of hvac.

this is a problem you may encounter in your dealings with the hvac industry. Bigger is not better.
Bigger costs more upfront, costs more per month to operate and does not dehumidify.
build it tight..ventilate it right.

we have been building homes here for 10 years that I know of with the foam sheating boards, long before foam became flavor of the week. we are achieving .25 air changes per hour and occasionally less. In cases there ach is less than.25 filtered dampered fresh air is brought into return side of hvac system allowing clean, measured, dehumidified air to enter the house when needed.
if you go this route and decide on another method of adding fresh air energy recovery ventilators are for our climate.

Oh and recessed lights (my pet peeve) insulation contact air tight only ICAT not IC. It is all about controlling air flow. IC cans leak like sieves and pull unconditioned air and insulation particles into homes.

Things that you should read up on are flashing windows..
the correct way. has good info.

btw you should read builders guide to hot humid climates
from good stuff.
also you can email joe with specific questions. I do it often.

best of luck.


Insulation in humid climate with web sites for info
clipped on: 04.30.2009 at 01:01 pm    last updated on: 04.30.2009 at 01:02 pm

Spray Foam Insulation= Can of Worms

posted by: mdev on 03.23.2009 at 03:23 pm in Building a Home Forum

Our little house is chugging along at a breakneck pace and this issue could throw a wrench into the schedule. We are scheduled to have 3.5" of spray foam (polyurethane) installed this Thursday, with a corresponding R-value of 28 and 38 for the exterior walls and roof, respectively.

My DH is really annoyed that the whole house isn't R-38, given the premium that we are paying for this type of insulation and I don't really blame him. Builder is saying there are diminishing returns if they make it any thicker and we have a vapor barrier at 3.5" anyway.

Can all the spray foam experts out there let me know if R-28 is something we should try to change or not? I think the house will be tight anyway so I'd prefer not to open this can of worms, especially since they are doing the work in 3 days. We haven't had any change orders and I don't want to initiate one now!

Thanks in advance...


clipped on: 04.30.2009 at 12:24 am    last updated on: 04.30.2009 at 12:24 am

Anyone put in a whole house Continuous Ventilation System?

posted by: longus on 11.12.2008 at 08:35 pm in Building a Home Forum

With today's tight house construction - is anyone putting in a continuous ventilation system to bring in fresh outside air?

Our HVAC contractor is quoting $550 to install the system. I found a Broan unit (MP280) that you can purchase for about $300 - basically you connect all of your exhaust fan ducts to it and it pulls air out ( I think you'll also need fresh air inlets)

Please let me know what you think and/or doing or NOT doing :)



clipped on: 04.29.2009 at 06:57 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2009 at 06:57 pm

A 4-Year Follow-up

posted by: kevin_5 on 01.16.2009 at 07:39 pm in Building a Home Forum


I see you are still here giving your knowledge so freely. You are a good man. I was here 4(5?) years back getting all the good advice as well. I am pleased to say that my house is fantastic. It has never leaked one drop, whether at the windows(I flashed them myself) or the basement(drain to sump as well as another drain to daylight). As a matter of fact, I made the contractors dig up our poorly installed perimeter drain and redo it. It had been buried in stone, and I unearthed it and saw what a disgrace it was, with cement inside the drain, junctions cut and smashed together, undulations that took it above the footing, etc. Our sump has gone off once, and that was this last summer when we got 10" in 24 hours. Our house is sealed so tightly(gaskets, caulk, spray foam insulation, sealed windows,etc.), and uses so little energy for its size that the gas company has called to see what the heck is going in. I love it. So, here is my "post of appreciation" for steering me in the right direction in so many ways with my build. I love my house.



clipped on: 04.29.2009 at 06:49 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2009 at 06:49 pm

Foam Insulation Yes or No?

posted by: sallen2008 on 08.01.2008 at 07:13 pm in Building a Home Forum

I would love to hear your opinions on foam insulation. I have heard it is about 20% more but the return is very quick through reduced heating cost, etc. What do you think?


clipped on: 04.29.2009 at 05:06 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2009 at 05:06 pm

No house wrap? HELP

posted by: twogirlsbigtrouble on 02.11.2009 at 04:54 pm in Building a Home Forum

So, now that the framing is done and our windows are in, its time for siding. Well, we didnt realize our builder doesnt use house wrap. He says he puts a moisture barrier behind the drywall and doesnt like house wrap because the house cant "breathe". We talked to another builder when we were interviewing who had the same feelings and didnt use house wrap. So, my DH is installing the siding and he is tempted to go buy house wrap and put it up there. Normally I guess the house wrap should go on BEFORE windows. So, our question is.... Do we need house wrap and if so can we still put it up without causing problems? We live in NE Ohio if that makes a difference.

Thank You! We have been really struggling with what to do here.


clipped on: 04.29.2009 at 04:54 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2009 at 04:54 pm

Insulation dilemma

posted by: hickoryhusker on 04.20.2009 at 03:34 pm in Building a Home Forum

My first regret during the home building process is not insisting on all exterior 2x6 walls. As it stands now, some of our walls are 2x6 (or even 2x8; on the two-story parts) but over half are 2x4 exterior walls.

We live in a windy area in western Iowa, so I am wanting to seal the house up as tight as possible. My regret comes from the fact that I will not be able to get the r-value that I want with a 2x4 wall (at least I don't think so). I would like R-18-20.

We looked into closed cell foam, but the bid was $26k compared to around $6k for celluose...just too high. I don't see us getting our money out of that one. We're getting another bid, though.

I want to blow something in, but I'm not sure what the best option is at this point. Open cell foam? What kind of seal do you get with the open-cell? I'm concerned about cellulose "settling" after installed. Blown-in fiberglass?

Should I do a combination of insillations? Closed cell for an inch or two, then fiberglass batts? I like the fact that the closed cell adds strength on the walls. Or, should I look at putting one type of insulation in the walls and something else in the attic? Heck, I am even considering furring (sp?) out the walls to get to 2x6 level. I am also looking into the airtight drywall approach to help seal the house up.

What about the attic? We're planning on R-49 there.

I wish I would have just done 2x6s, but now I've got to make the best of it. Thanks in advance for any help/advice you can give.


clipped on: 04.29.2009 at 04:44 pm    last updated on: 04.29.2009 at 04:44 pm

Our kitchen is finished - with LED lighting

posted by: bayou_cityzens on 12.24.2008 at 04:31 pm in Lighting Forum

We would like to share the final results of the lighting choices for our kitchen renovation project. This was a project that took two years for planning and two months to execute. The planning went back and forth between designs that required lots of demolition and designs that were basically a refreshing of the original kitchen. We ended up somewhere in the middle. There were also changes going on in the neighborhood (tear-downs of older homes for new McMansions;) we wanted to make sure that what we did would still have value.

Although infrequent posters, we did spend a lot of time in this forum. We did almost all the designing and planning ourselves; basically any other outside help that we had came from the members of these forums; whether they knew it or not; was invaluable.

We had seen the Cree LED lighting a couple of months before we were ready to begin; that totally changed my ideas about what we wanted to do. In researching this product, we came upon I have posted previously about how wonderful these folks are; they were invaluable in their assistance. We ended up getting under-cabinet LED lighting from them as well.

The majority of the lighting in the new kitchen ended up being LED. We have 6 Cree LR6 ceiling fixtures and LED under-cabinet lighting. The exceptions: there are two tiny spots that are not LED; one over the sink and one over the pass-through. There are a couple of cabinets with glass doors and shelves; these have interior xenon lights. There is also a halogen fixture over our dining nook; this is a duplicate of a fixture in our formal dining room. We had two of these in our previous residence; one had been sitting in a closet for 10 years. We are happy that we got to put it to use finally.

If you'd like to see the lighting as installed, we've given the link to the full picture gallery of the renovation project, which is pretty well annotated. We hope that you enjoy them.

If anyone has any questions, we'll do our best to answer.

Happy Holidays!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Kitchen Pictures


clipped on: 04.28.2009 at 07:52 pm    last updated on: 04.28.2009 at 07:52 pm

My favorite lighting links

posted by: jon1270 on 11.15.2006 at 08:13 am in Lighting Forum

Since I set about planning the lighting for my recent kitchen remodel I've spent a lot of time reading everything I could find on lighting design. It's been a bit of an obsession. Anyhow, I thought it might be appropriate to share the better online lighting design resources I've found.

Lighting Design Lab has all sorts of good stuff, including an Articles page with stuff like Eric Strandberg's Residential Ramblings.

Randall Whitehead's Top 10 Lighting Tips are worth looking at. His is the best of the lighting books I've read.

This site has another nice selection of short articles on general lighting design.

The California Lighting Technology Center at U.C. Davis has resources that focus on energy-efficient lighting, including the very nice Title 24 Residential Lighting Design Guide

If you're confused by some of the terminology, this lighting glossary might help.

Lastly, I found this PDF on Reflector lamp photometrics very helpful when learning to understand the most important properties of the bulbs used in the ubiquitous recessed can.

I hope these are useful!


clipped on: 04.28.2009 at 07:27 pm    last updated on: 04.28.2009 at 07:27 pm