Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted to my blog in about a month. September was challenging for me. I had high hopes for it to be a time of high productivity, but apparently it was not meant to be. The month started out promising: little scheduled travel, few deadlines, and several projects needing attention that I was excited about. It started going downhill almost immediately. I acquired a low-level virus, the flu, or something else that made me sluggish and uncomfortable, that sapped my strength and motivation, but did not debilitate me enough to seek medical attention. Just as I was working my way out of the malaise, my laptop crapped out on me.Computers Save So Much TimeA trip to the computer store confirmed that the patient was terminal with no hope for resurrection. A replacement computer was about a week away, so my very helpful independent computer store was nice enough to give me a loaner, an old but working laptop. After about eight hours of data restoration work, I was back in business with some limitations and missing only a few documents that were skipped in my last backup. Finally back to work, with the month almost gone, I slowly began to gain some momentum. A week later the new computer arrived. After another marathon session of data restoration with everything seeming to work fine, I turned it off and went to sleep.The Blue Screen of DeathThe next morning, just before I headed out the door for a long drive to inspect a house for a client, I fired up the new machine and got the blue screen of death. AHHHH! I threw it in the car, and stopped by the computer store to find out they don’t open until 10AM. Off to my meeting. Later I stopped back by store on the way home in the early PM. We spent about an hour diagnosing the problem, and they decided that they needed to work on it for a while. Luckily, they were able to fix it without losing any of my data, and my computer was ready by the end of the day. I kept both computers running for another few days until I was confident that the new one would actually work. After about a week, I returned my loaner with reasonable confidence that I now have a truly functioning computer. Out of all this, I have finally decided to take the advice of several good friends as well as my children and switch to a Mac, probably sometime before the end of the year. After a 20+ year relationship with PCs, it’s time to move on.Green Building Misinformation AboundsBut enough of my tribulations. I will wrap up with a brief comment on a presentation I saw recently. At a local Remodelers Council meeting, an industrial hygienist and air-quality expert told us about controlling pollutants on job sites to protect both staff and home occupants. The information was reasonably interesting and the speaker was clearly qualified and experienced in the area. He pointed out that he was one of the few people in his field who actually worked on single-family homes. What really got to me was his discussion on fresh-air ventilation. His position was that he preferred homes that had high infiltration rates because then he didn’t have to worry about active ventilation systems.Definition of Stress: Resisting the Urge to Choke the Living Daylights Out of Someone Who Desperately Deserves ItRepressing my natural urge to start yelling at him, I waited patiently until he was finished and, as politely as possible for me, pointed out that using uncontrolled infiltration for fresh-air ventilation was a bad strategy, both from an energy and an indoor-health standpoint, and that it was dangerous to promulgate this particular position in the industry as it runs counter to the very heart of green building. Unfortunately, he was not to be swayed, and I didn’t have the energy to start a fight. Luckily, the event was not that well attended, so his damage was minimized. While I do appreciate that this gentleman has a strong background in air-quality issues, I find it very frustrating that he completely missed the air quality/infiltration/energy efficiency connection, and just strolled merrily along with his restricted view of homes. Green building is so multifaceted that it is critical to be able to look at it from every point of view in order to be successful. In his case, he was just one of those blind men checking out the elephant, each describing very clearly the part they were touching, missing the big picture by a mile.
What Happened to September?