Friday, November 11, 2011

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector in Your Home. It's The Law!

New law requires carbon monoxide detectors in all California homes

By Victoria Guida - McClatchy Newspapers

 FRESNO, Calif. — When Jason Sanders unwittingly bought a carbon monoxide detector instead of a smoke detector, he didn't know it would one day save his family's lives.

A year and a half later, Sanders and his wife brought their newborn child home from the hospital to their Turlock, Calif., home and turned on the heat. Days earlier, they had gotten the air ducts fixed, but the repairmen had forgotten to reattach the intake on the heater.

The house filled with carbon monoxide — an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas — which was soon detected by the device Sanders had accidentally bought.

"We would've been dead within minutes if it wasn't for the carbon monoxide detector," Sanders said. "It saved our lives."

A new California state law inspired by such incidents goes into effect. All single-family homes with a gas, oil or coal-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage are required to have a carbon monoxide detector. Multifamily homes have until Jan. 1, 2013.

Failure to comply with the law could mean a fine of up to $200, but owners will have 30 days to correct the problem first. Craig Tolmie, division chief for CalFire and Fresno County Fire, said at a news conference Wednesday that the fire department will not be "knocking on doors," but he hopes people will comply voluntarily.

The price for not installing a carbon monoxide detector could be much bigger than the fine. In January, four members of an Oakhurst, Calif., family died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a generator in the basement. Among the dead were two girls, ages 8 and 10. The house did not have a detector.

Fire officials say detectors should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area, as well as on each level of a home.

A detector should be certified by a recognized third-party testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories, and must be approved by the state fire marshal.

Detectors are available at improvement retailers such as Home Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware or Walmart. They generally cost between $15 and $45, depending on the features.

While detectors installed in newly constructed homes must be hard-wired in to the house, devices for existing homes can be battery-operated or plug in with a battery backup. Devices that operate as both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are also available.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is produced by burning fuels such as gas, oil, wood or coal. Upon inhalation, the gas enters the bloodstream and decreases the ability of blood to carry oxygen to vital organs.

Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness or headaches.

Because people cannot smell or see it, it is often referred to as "the silent killer," meaning people may not know they are being poisoned.

Land Park Neighborhood Special:
Fugina Construction will professionally and properly install a Carbon Monoxide Detector in your home for $39.99.
Email or call 916/215-9293 today for an appointment.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Preparing for Winter

10 tips to help you prepare your home for winter:

1) Furnace Inspection
•Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
•Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.

2) Get the Fireplace Ready

•Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
•If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.

3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

•Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
•Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
•Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
•If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.

4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

•If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
•Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
•Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
•Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.

5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment

•Drain gas from lawnmowers.
•Service or tune-up snow blowers.
•Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
•Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.

6) Check Foundations

•Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
•Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
•Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
•Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
•Secure crawlspace entrances.

7) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

•Some cities require a smoke detector in every room.
•Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
•Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
•Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
•Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

8) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

•Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
•Drain all garden hoses.
•Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
•Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
•If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.

9) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

•Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
•Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
•Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
•Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
•Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

10) Prepare an Emergency Kit

•Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage.
•Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book.
•Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
•Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
•Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Sunset Lake Tahoe Idea House

The Ultimate Sierra Retreat. The Sunset Lake Tahoe Idea House takes its design cues from the breathtaking scenery that surrounds it.

Rugged yet sophisticated
Bringing nature into our homes is one of the best things about living in the West. The Sunset Lake Tahoe Idea House―located in a scenic, meadow-oriented setting in Truckee, California―is full of earthy materials and textures, colors inspired by the ever-changing landscape, natural light from every possible angle, and walls and windows that blend with the outdoors.

Overhead, woven strips of reclaimed redwood define the dining area and visually connect to the kitchen.

Vaulted ceilings of reclaimed fir decking and beams add spaciousness while still feeling intimate; the board-formed concrete walls are surrounded by warm wood on the floor, ceiling, and window trim.

Open-air shower
Bathing outdoors is the height of mountain living, especially when done in a rugged style. With its rough natural textures in concrete and stone, this two-person outdoor shower, tucked under the overhang off the master bedroom, provides a thoroughly invigorating alpine experience.

Rustic materials
Board-formed concrete and a stone floor accentuate the rugged outdoor theme.

To learn more about the Sunset Idea Homes log on to:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fugina Construction designs and remodels a 1930's Art Moderne Home in Land Park

See our advertisements in Inside The City and Inside East Sac.

Check out the June issue of Home Matters "Streamlined Style" A 1930's Art Moderne house gets a very modern update. Designed and remodeled by Fugina Construction

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


2011 Builder Magazine Concept Home is a paragon of efficiency and full of “good things”

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 11, 2011) - Representatives from KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) and Builder magazine today unveiled the KB Home GreenHouse™: An Idea Home Created with Martha Stewart. The innovative and expertly-designed net-zero energy home is the 13th in Builder Magazine’s Concept Home series tradition that annually showcases an impactful and interesting new concept in homebuilding during the industry’s premier trade conference, the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS).

With the IBS set to begin tomorrow, the project partners hosted members of the media during a special event at the home. Members of the media were among the first to tour the KB Home Greenhouse and participated in a question and answer session with Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; Jeffrey Mezger, president and chief executive officer of KB Home; and Boyce Thompson, editorial director for Builder magazine.

“We’re excited to open this year’s home for tours,” said Boyce Thompson. “The KB Home GreenHouse embodies the Concept Home philosophy of bringing together some of the best minds in the business to create a project that has broad appeal, incorporates innovative new products and ideas and will serve to educate other homebuilders.”

Attendees were impressed with the elegantly traditional exterior, free flowing and inviting interior as well as the home design’s ability to bring the outdoors in via a telescoping patio door that spans the length of the kitchen and leads to a spacious lanai.

“We were happy to be a part of this project with KB Home,” said Martha Stewart. “It allowed us to build on our already successful partnership by creating the ultimate ‘green’ home that is not only environmentally friendly, but also beautiful, functional and affordable.”

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the KB Home Greenhouse achieves a new dimension of environmentally friendly building for KB Home; it is the company’s first net-zero energy home, meaning it is intended to produce more energy than it consumes over the span of a year. As such, it has been labeled as a “Maximized Energy-Efficient Home” by the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, the home has been recognized with a variety of other green building achievements, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense® qualifications, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) for Homes Platinum rating and Environments for Living® green certification.

“In creating the KB Home GreenHouse, we were able to combine our industry-leading position in environmentally friendly building with our reputation for innovation," said Jeffrey Mezger. “With an established track record of building all ENERGY STAR homes in our new communities, we took this opportunity to go above and beyond and built a net-zero energy home that incorporates new ideas and technologies, including a real-time energy monitoring system and a solar thermal water heater, that we believe will one day be standard in all new homes.”

KB Home was recently recognized as the #1 Green Homebuilder for the second consecutive time by Calvert Investments. Participation in experimental projects like the Builder Magazine Concept Home was one of many criteria used by the firm in its evaluation of sustainable practices in the homebuilding industry.

New Homes in 2015 Will Be Smaller, With a Touch of Green

By: Stephani L. Miller

Architects and builders think new homes will continue to shrink under the driving forces of demographic shifts and other influences.

According to a recently released survey by the NAHB, residential architects and designers, home builders, and others involved in the new home construction sector believe that the home shrinkage phenomenon of the recession years won't be reversing as the economy regains steam, but is actually here to stay. The sentiment among the majority of respondents to the NAHB's "The New Home in 2015" survey is that the average new home will continue to shrink by as much as an additional 10 percent—to about 2,152 square feet—by mid-decade.

Smaller footprints and greener features ranked at the top of the trend list among survey respondents, with 74 percent saying homes will get smaller and 68 percent saying homes will get greener in 2015—far surpassing the other trends the survey evaluated: more technology (29 percent), greater accessibility (20 percent), and more outdoor living features (10 percent).

It's interesting to note, however, that the green features cited as most likely to be included in new homes in 2015 are largely the most cost-effective methods for achieving energy and resource efficiency. Survey respondents indicated that low-E windows, engineered wood components (joists, beams, and trusses), water-efficient fixtures, and Energy Star Home ratings are likely features.

"According to our experts, consumers are really looking to reduce their energy costs. When they say 'green' that's what they mean: reducing the cost of heating, cooling, and running their house," says Rose Quint, assistant vice president for survey research, NAHB Economics and Housing Policy. Because other, potentially higher-performing energy-saving features cost more up front and have longer payback periods, and because mortgage financing is still so tight, many of the other features that would increase the green quotient of a new home fall further down on consumer wish lists, according to respondents.

It's not just economics and energy costs driving the size reduction in new homes, the survey found. Consumer expectations and preferences also are shifting. Homes no longer hold the equity they once did, and homeowners no longer view their residence as an investment that will fund their retirement or help them upgrade to a larger home, according to Quint. Also a driving force toward smaller houses is the population of aging baby boomers seeking to downsize.

As earlier housing trend reports have indicated, the NAHB survey found that single-purpose or special-function rooms (media and hobby rooms, mudrooms, dining rooms) are far less likely to be included in the new homes of 2015. The great room is again on the rise, combining a house's main living and entertaining space, workspace, and cooking/eating space. It was ranked the most likely room to be included in the average new home in 2015. The only area deemed likely to grow in the next five years, according to the survey, is the family room. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents said the living room will merge with other spaces, while 30 percent said it will vanish altogether.

"People have become more realistic about their needs, and they're going to base their purchases on needs rather than wants and lifestyle preferences," Quint says. "A house becomes less expensive when you take away walls and combine multiple living spaces into one room. It also allows for a sense of greater volume within a shrunken footprint."

Interestingly, while more universal design features were deemed only somewhat likely to be included, survey respondents' comments indicated that accessibility will be planned for in more subtle ways than creating a house that's fully accessible at time of sale. Rather, the infrastructure to ease future accessibility retrofits and renovations will be provided in new homes of 2015—which incidentally will play an increasingly important role in the remodeling industry.

Read more findings from "The New Home in 2015" report on

Friday, March 4, 2011

Green Depot Acquires Ecohaus

Deal adds three West Coast stores to NYC-based green building materials dealer.
By: Craig L. Webb

Green Depot, which dubs itself the nation's biggest building material dealer specializing in environmentally sustainable building products, grew even larger Monday when the New York-based company announced it has acquired Ecohaus, a similar operation with locations in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, Ore.

The deal creates "the first one-stop supplier for green building materials with a nationwide footprint for distribution and delivery," Green Depot said in a news release. The move comes 15 months after Green Depot established a Chicago beachhead with the acquisition of Greenmaker Supply. (Related story)

Green Depot currently has 10 showrooms in the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn; Boston; Manchester, N.H.; Albany, N.Y.; Long Island, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia; Newark, Del.; and Chicago. It also serves customers through its website and claims 33 warehouse distribution centers as a result of its relationship with the Marjam supply house. (Related story)

Established in 1992, Ecohaus "has been a pivotal player in the industry, introducing eco-friendly products to consumers and working with innovators in the field to bring high-quality, sustainable products to market," the announcement stated.

"Our core values and passion align completely," said Green Depot founder Sarah Beatty. "By joining forces with Ecohaus, Green Depot is strongly positioned for continued growth throughout America. We’re delighted to combine resources and work together to achieve our shared vision for a diverse, sophisticated Green supply chain--and a sustainably thriving America."

Ecohaus CEO David Silverglide said the deal builds on the West Coast's well-known appreciation for green products and "opens up promising new avenues to feed the demand for affordable, healthy, and sustainable product solutions across the country."

While the earlier deal with Greenmaker Supply called for that company to keep its name, the Chicago store eventually was renamed Green Depot. In contrast, Ecohaus' website already points to Green Depot's and it appears clear that the West Coast stores will take the Green Depot name.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Buyer Survey Says: Smaller Homes With More Open Spaces

Consumer preferences are examined in the latest studies conducted by the NAHB and Better Homes & Gardens.
By: John Caulfield

The trend among buyers favoring smaller homes with open and multifunctional rooms continued in 2010. But subtle changes in tastes, combined with ongoing shifts in household occupancy, could give alert builders and their product suppliers new opportunities over the next few years, as the housing market recovers and home buyers get back in the game in larger numbers.

Fresh surveys of consumer preferences, presented during a seminar on that topic at the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday morning, provided an in-depth look at what consumers are shopping for now and what they might be looking for in the future. While there were no eureka moments in the survey’s findings, they reaffirmed demographic factors that are influencing what is getting built these days and made clearer what features home buyers are seeking.

At the very least, consumers are approaching the home buying experience with a different attitude. “The sense of entitlement that people used to feel about having everything they wanted in their homes is being replaced by a sense of gratitude for things they already have,” says Jill Waage, editorial director of Better Homes & Gardens' Home Content Core.

Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research, laid the groundwork for this seminar by sharing projections about household formation and new-home construction. Projections of population growth—which is expected to rise to 322.4 million people in 2015, 336.8 million in 2020, and 422.6 million in 2050—suggest that demand for housing should remain vital. Over that time span, America’s Hispanic population will increase to 30% of the total, from 16% today; and people over 55 years old will account for 31% of the total, from 25%.

Houeseholds are getting smaller, too. One- and two-person households represented more than 63% of all households in 2010. And for the first time, married couples accounted for less than 50% of households, while unrelated adults living together increased to 6.2%.

In light of these statistics, the average size of a home completed declined last year to 2,377 square feet, from 2,438 square feet the previous year and 2,570 square feet in 2007. But Quint pointed out that the average size of a home started last year actually inched up a bit to nearly 2,400 square feet, although most of the bigger homes were started in the South and Midwest. “So this is by no means an phenomenon,” she said.

Quint shared new research in which the NAHB asked builders what they would be building in 2011. More than half, 52%, will build smaller homes, and nearly three fifths will build houses with less expensive price tags. Looking ahead to 2015, three quarters of the builders polled thought that single-family homes would continue to shrink (to around 2,152 square feet, on average); 68% thought they would be more energy efficient; but only 29% expect houses of the future to include more technology.

These builders expect that more one-story homes will be built, and more than half expect houses to combine living rooms with other rooms, with family rooms getting larger. (Thirty percent thought living rooms, per se, could vanish altogether). Among the features builders think more homes will include in the coming years are great rooms, low-E windows, double kitchen sinks, and programmable thermostats; indeed, a sizable percentage of builders expect more homes to be Energy Star rated.

However, 61% of builders polled expect the number of features offered as standard to decrease (compared to 32% who were asked the same question in 2007).

Waage followed Quint with a presentation that focused more specifically on the kinds of rooms and features buyers prefer, based on a survey, conducted last December, of 2,000 of her magazine’s readers who identified themselves as either planning to buy or remodel a home.

The survey found that buyers may have downsized as much as they’re going to, as 40% said their next home would be larger than what they live in today. Buyers are still looking for an affordable and energy efficient home with lots of storage space, but those criteria are slightly less important than they were for survey respondents in 2009.

Waage showed data that indicates buyers are taking a lot longer researching purchases and projects than they did only a few years ago. They are also prioritizing features, with efficient HVAC systems and appliances topping the list, followed by decks and patios, low-maintenance exteriors, and private backyards. They’re doing the same prioritizing for living spaces, with separate laundry, office, and storage rooms being most coveted.

However, don’t expect home buyers to overextend themselves: Better Homes’ survey found that 58.4% of readers polled are “extremely reluctant” to spend money they don’t have.

John Caulfield is senior editor for BUILDER magazine.

2011 Builders' Show Preview

12 green products from the residential construction industry’s largest event

The International Builders’ Show returns to Orlando, Fla., next week. As always, hundreds of manufacturers will be on hand showcasing new wares for the residential contractor, including an array of options for sustainably minded builders. Here’s a look at 12 green products that will be on display.

Click here for slideshow.