Insulated Concrete Forms… Who Knew?

The construction industry has evolved over time based on consumers desires and price constraints. Tucson has not been immune to these shifts and in recent years we have seen a strong interest to have green building products and efficiencies incorporated into our clients custom homes. This desire for a green and efficient home has led many to question the conventional construction methods that have been used for decades if not centuries or longer. One product that was developed in the 60s and 70s is making a resurgence now. Insulated concrete forms or ICFs are a type of building material that is typically used for exterior walls. ICF blocks are stacked to create a continuous form that is filled with concrete to create a strong and well insulated exterior wall for the home. In our industry these blocks are referred to as Grey Blocks and White Blocks. In my opinion both types of block have there benefits and drawbacks. Below is a description of the pros and cons of each along with some examples: Grey Block: Grey blocks are great because they are typically made from post consumer material. This keeps non-biodegradable Styrofoam out of the landfills which is always a plus. Grey blocks are also very easy to shape and mold giving a flexibility in design that is harder to achieve when using a white block.  The cons that we have found using grey block is that they don’t have precise dimensions. They can very by 1/4 inch in some cases making it difficult to stack and align. Another issue with grey block is it does not have any furring strips to attach...

Get $2,000 To Help Save A Resource… Why Not?

What a waste! You see the storm clouds rolling in for another thunderous monsoon downpour and you are excited that your plants are going to get some much needed water. To your disappointment though, as quick as the rains came, the water has washed away. From the sky, to your roof, to the ground, and off to the washes. There must be something we can do! The City of Tucson is hosting a water harvesting workshop for City of Tucson water customers. This workshop teaches you about the principals of water harvesting and ways you can implement a water harvesting program on your property. Better yet, It qualifies and teaches you about the great incentive program that offers up to $2,000 back to you when you install a water harvesting system (half the cost of the system for systems up to $4,000). I went to the workshop and learned a lot about the best practices for a long lasting reliable system. If you are interested in this program give us a call (520) 975-4504 or (520) 297-9643  and we can talk to you about it to see if it’s right for you. We can also design and install these systems for you to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck! Be sure to like and share this blog so your friends can take advantage of this excellent opportunity! Please like &...

A Wealth of Ideazz: Houzz.com

Hello everyone! I wanted to let you all know about a great new website out there that helps prospective clients find design ideas for future projects. The website is houzz.com. Hayes Construction, Inc. has a page there that features some of our past jobs. This website helps our clients because they can create an idea book that lets them bring all the designs they like into a central location. We can then access that information and have a better understanding of the style our clients are looking to achieve. I suggest you take a look at the website and start an idea book of your own; even if you don’t have a project in mind yet. This is just another way that Hayes Construction, Inc. is creating a better experience for its customers. If you find this website appealing please like this blog post so others have a chance to check it out. Thanks! Please like &...

Tucson Green Construction – Grey Water Harvesting and Recycling

Water can be classified in three distinct categories; drinking water (white), sewage (black), and “in between” water (grey). This “in between” water is water that comes from the laundry machine, dishwasher and shower/bath drains. This water, although polluted, is not considered to be dangerous for recycling. The use of grey water in irrigation is used most commonly. Below is a list of some of the benefits of recycling grey water for irrigation: Reduced impact on ground water Reduced water bill More lush vegetation Replenished aquifer Less impact on existing infrastructure (sewer/septic) As you can see this type of recycling can directly affect the environment in a positive way. It is important to remember though; harmful cleaning chemicals should not be used if you use this type of system do to their negative effects on vegetation and wildlife. And grey water should not be used for plants intended for human consumption. If this all sounds good to you, your next question should be, “how can I get started”? Well, to retro fit a grey water recycling system to your house you must have fixtures that are located on the perimeter of your house, such as a laundry machine on the porch or a dishwasher on an outside wall. Tapping into these drains would be easy and cost effective. The other option would be to include it on any future construction. When the idea of grey water recycling is brought up early, in the design phase, all grey water lines can be plumbed to accommodate a recycling program. This simple low cost design modification can end up saving you money and...

Tucson Green Construction – Rastra Blocks

Rastra is an insulating concrete form (ICF) used to make walls for buildings. Its main components are concrete and thastyron which  is a mixture of plastic foam and binder which are subsequently molded into blocks. The main components of rastra are cement, water and expanded polystyrene. Rastra blocks come in different sizes, and can be easily cut with woodworking tools to form the desired shape. These blocks are commonly attached together with clamps or glue to form a grid-like system. Rebar is then used to reinforce the blocks and the grid is filled with concrete. Rastra has important environmental considerations in that up to it contains up to 80% postconsumer and postindustrial plastic. The products low weight reduces transportation pollutants. Rastra has many advantages that include: Reduction in noise. Fire resistance Rodent proof Termite proof If you’re ready to explore how Rastra can be used in constructing or remodeling your home call Hayes Construction today (520) 297-9643. Please like &...

Tucson Green Building – Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters, or solar domestic hot water systems, can be a very cost effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use (sunshine) is both clean and free. Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t. Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank. Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications: 1.  Flat Plate Collector Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed flat-plate collectors which are usually used for solar pool heating have a dark absorber plate, made of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure. 2. Integral Collector-storage systems Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which preheats the water. The water then continues on to the conventional backup water heater, providing a reliable source of hot water. They should be installed only in mild-freeze climates because the outdoor pipes could freeze in severe, cold weather. 3. Evacuated-tube solar collectors They feature parallel rows...