Friday, May 31, 2013

Renovation, Repair and Painting Programs Brought to You By the EPA

Although the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule does not apply to homeowners renovating, repairing, or painting their own homes, do-it-yourself projects can easily create dangerous lead dust. Protect your family and home – set up safely, control the dust, and clean up completely.
Follow these safeguards to prevent lead dust from spreading throughout your home:

Work Safely

  • Remove all furniture, area rugs, curtains, food, clothing, and other household items until cleanup is complete.
  • Items that cannot be removed from the work area should be tightly wrapped with plastic sheeting and sealed with tape.
  • Cover floors with plastic sheeting.
  • If working on a larger job, construct an airlock at the entry to the work area.
    • The airlock consists of two sheets of thick plastic. One sheet is completely taped along all four edges.
    • The plastic sheet is then cut down the middle.
    • The second sheet is only taped along the top and acts as a flap covering the slit in the first sheet of plastic.
  • Turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems. Cover vents with plastic sheeting and tape the sheeting in place with tape.
  • Close all windows in the work area.
  • If disturbing paint, when using a hand tool, spray water on lead-painted surfaces to keep dust from spreading.

Get the Right Equipment

It is important to get the right equipment to protect you and your family from lead exposure.
  • NIOSH-certified disposable respirator with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter (N-100, R-100, or P-100).
  • HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner. Regular household vacuums may release harmful lead particles into the air.
  • Wet-sanding equipment (e.g., spray mister), wet/dry abrasive paper, and wet sanding sponges for "wet-methods."
  • Two buckets and all-purpose cleaner. Use one bucket for the cleaning solution and the other bucket for rinsing. Change the rinse water frequently and replace rags, sponges, and mops often.
  • Heavy-duty plastic sheeting and heavy-duty plastic bags.
  • Tape. You will need tape to completely seal the plastic sheeting in place.
  • Protective clothing. To keep lead dust from being tracked throughout your home, wear clothes such as coveralls, shoe covers, hats, goggles, face shields, and gloves or clean work clothes and launder separately.

Follow Good Work Practices

Plan for and complete a home renovation, repair or painting project using lead safe work practices .

Consider Hiring a Certified Lead Abatement Contractor or Inspector

Anytime you cut into surfaces painted with lead paint, even if the paint is covered by layers of newer paint, you risk creating hazardous lead dust. You can reduce the risk of lead exposure in your home by hiring a certified lead inspector to check to see if there is lead paint in the area of your work. If there is lead, then you may want to have a trained and certified lead abatement contractor perform an abatement to remove the lead from the area before you begin work. Try a company such as Incredible Renovations. Incredible Renovations is not just a home renovations company, they are a "one stop shop", with all the in house expertise required to complete the job from start to finish. "On Time and On Budget."  

Consider Hiring a Certified RRP Contractor

When you think you may have lead paint, it may be best to hire a trained lead-safe certified RRP contractor. These contractors have been trained in special methods to minimize dust and clean up thoroughly to reduce the chance of lead contamination.
SOURCE: EPA

Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Houston Home Show June 8-9 Reliant Center

June 8-9, 2013 – Reliant Center Hall D

The New Home & Remodeling Show features the latest in New Construction trends as well as the finest in Remodeling techniques for any upcoming home improvement project.

Mission

REASONS TO EXHIBIT:

- Over $100,000 worth of media value
-Generate immediate sales.
-Develop qualified sales prospects.
-Generate mailing list leads.
-Renew relationships with current customers.
-Introduce new products or services.
-Enhance your brand awareness.
-Create product awareness.
-Drive customers to your website or location.

Company Overview

Show attendees can take advantage of this "one stop shopping opportunity" to meet industry experts one-on-one and compare exhibitors to find the expert that will best suit their needs.

Once again, there will be a show stage with professional demonstrations, classes to attend and access to the industry's finest professionals to answer the remodeling & building questions of any attendees!

Description

DATES & HOURS
Saturday, June 8: 10am - 6pm
Sunday, June 9: 11am - 6pm

ADMISSION
Adult: $9
Senior: $7
Children 12 & Under: Free

PARKING
All Day Parking: $10

LOCATION
Reliant Center Hall D
Houston, TX 77054

FOR MORE INFORMATION
http://www.associationevent.com/Houston_...
https://twitter.com/HomeHouston
http://houstonhomeshow.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

EPA Protects Americans from Exposure to Formaldehyde



WASHINGTON
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed two rules to help protect Americans from exposure to the harmful chemical formaldehyde, consistent with a Federal law unanimously passed by Congress in 2010. These rules ensure that composite wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States meet the formaldehyde emission standards established by Congress.

Formaldehyde is used in adhesives to make a wide range of building materials and products. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause adverse public health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation, other respiratory symptoms and, in certain cases, cancer.

“The proposed regulations announced today reflect EPA’s continued efforts to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals in their daily lives,” said James J. Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once final, the rules will reduce the public’s exposure to this harmful chemical found in many products in our homes and workplaces."

In 2010, Congress passed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, or Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which establishes emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directs EPA to propose rules to enforce the act’s provisions. EPA’s proposed rules align, where practical, with the requirements for composite wood products set by the California Air Resources Board, putting in place national standards for companies that manufacture or import these products. EPA’s national rules will also encourage an ongoing industry trend towards switching to no-added formaldehyde resins in composite wood products.

EPA's first proposal limits how much formaldehyde may be emitted from hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the United States. The emitted formaldehyde may be left over from the resin or composite wood making process or be released when the resin degrades in the presence of heat and humidity. This proposal also includes testing requirements, laminated product provisions, product labeling requirements, chain of custody documentation, recordkeeping, a stockpiling prohibition, and enforcement provisions. It also includes a common-sense exemption from some testing and record-keeping requirements for products made with no-added formaldehyde resins.

The second proposal establishes a third-party certification framework designed to ensure that manufacturers of composite wood products meet the TSCA formaldehyde emission standards by having their composite wood products certified though an accredited third-party certifier. It would also establish eligibility requirements and responsibilities for third-party certifier's and the EPA-recognized accreditation bodies who would accredit them. This robust proposed third-party certification program will level the playing field by ensuring composite wood products sold in this country meet the emission standards in the rule regardless of whether they were made in the United States or not.

More on Formaldehyde Proposals:
http://www.epa.gov/oppt/chemtest/formaldehyde/index.html
More on EPA’s TSCA Work Plan chemical effort: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/workplans.html

SOURCE: EPA

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Technology Helps Prevent Missed Cell Phone Calls While At Home

Renny Bluetooth Home Ringer Offers Unprecedented Range, Reaction & Reliability
 
It's a problem that happens all too often to cell phone users nationally - an important cell call at home goes unanswered because a phone ringtone is turned off, the phone is out of reach, or it is muffled in a pocket, briefcase, drawer or car. Now, a first of its kind Bluetooth ready "home base ringer" called Renny is ringing out the old and ringing in the new. Renny is designed with patented technologies never used before to help make sure cell phone rings get heard - and calls get answered.
 
There are other wireless Bluetooth answering speakers on the market, but while those units are basically voice/sound amplifying speakers, Renny from Olens Technology is more of an all-inclusive "home base ringer" station - the first ever to hit the market. Renny combines the best of both worlds by fixing what is wrong with those similar cell phone answering products and offering aspects that the others currently don't.
What makes Renny different? http://olenstechnology.com/rennycompare/
 
The Renny Home Ringer works anywhere in a home or office by automatically connecting wirelessly to any mobile phone within a 200 foot line of site range - the longest in its category. Even if a phone is on silent or vibrate Renny will pick up the call and even announce who is calling via its SilentSync technology. The unit allows anyone to answer the call, select ring tones, and even stream music from a smart phone to its powerful loudspeaker using 3D Digital Dynamic Bass technology. Renny also comes equipped with a built-in quality microphone with high-sensitivity and hands free function for clear voice call answering and communication. Unlike other systems, Renny offers a DualSync technology that allows up to 2 mobile phones to be connected at once.
 
Other products on the market cannot be used as a reliable full-time home ringer station because they automatically shut off after the phone is out of range for 10 minutes and they tend to experience multiple interference issues when the phone is used in certain parts of the house. While other speaker products must be turned on or off when you want to use them, the rechargeable Renny is always on and ready and works unnoticeably in the background until it is needed. Other speaker products serve as the default audio source for all call functions and steal the signal every time they connect causing dropped or lost calls to the speaker. Renny connects and disconnects repeatedly without any interference when the phone is in use and automatically selects the correct audio source to use during all calls via its AutoLinx technology.
 
A Renny demo video can be seen here: http://www.rennyringer.com
 
The Renny is also more affordable than most other brands selling for $129.95 at: http://www.rennyringer.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Good News For The Remodeling Industry


With the economy taking a downfall the last couple of years, the remodeling industry took a significant hit because homeowners were not spending any money on remodeling projects.

Adam Bakir, General Manager of Incredible Renovations said, "Luckily this year we are seeing the remodeling industry take a turn for the better."

More and more homeowners are remodeling their homes to keep up with the latest and greatest trends of the season.


"We have seen an increase in the types of projects people are undertaking," said Bakir.

As a result of so many houses in foreclosure or short sale, according to the housing industry, homebuyers are now able to get good deals and spend more money fixing them up by remodeling them.

"Two years ago, Incredible Renovations might have just remodeled a kitchen for a client, but this year, more and more clients are choosing larger projects such as a first floor renovation in addition to a kitchen and bathroom remodel, Bakir said.

Houston homeowners are remodeling their homes to make them more functional by opening up rooms, creating more space, adding customized features to solve problems and making energy-efficient improvements to reduce waste and save on energy bills. Eco-friendly remodeling helps the homeowner leave less of a carbon footprint and therefore making them pleased that they are contributing to the environment.

"More clients are keeping their homes rather than fixing what has to be fixed and moving on. We are pleased that the remodeling industry is taking a turn for the better," said Bakir.

Regardless of the size of your next home remodeling project, please contact Incredible Renovations, TAB (Texas Association of Builders) Remodeler of the Year 2012 for a free consultation today at (713) 532-2526 or visit them at www.incrediblerenovations.com.

 

 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Staying Safe From Asbestos


What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil.

Where Can I Find Asbestos?

Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.
Asbestiform tremolite, CaliforniaAsbestiform tremolite, California
Where asbestos may be found:
  • Attic and wall insulation produced containing vermiculite
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics
  • Automobile clutches and brakes

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reducing, Reusing and Recycling Materials at Home

Practice the three R's: first reduce how much you use, then reuse what you can, and then recycle the rest. Then, dispose of what's left in the most environmentally friendly way. Read the tips below and explore the Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste

Incredible Renovations strongly believes in reducing, reusing and recycling materials. 

  • Reduce:
    • Buy permanent items instead of disposables.
    • Buy and use only what you need.
    • Buy products with less packaging.
    • Buy products that use less toxic chemicals.
  • Reuse:
    • Repair items as much as possible.
    • Use durable coffee mugs.
    • Use cloth napkins or towels.
    • Clean out juice bottles and use them for water.
    • Use empty jars to hold leftover food.
    • Reuse boxes.
    • Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
    • Participate in a paint collection and reuse program.
    • Donate extras to people you know or to charity instead of throwing them away.
  • Recycle:
Learn more:
Recycling and properly disposing of materials:
SOURCE EPA

Thursday, May 16, 2013

IBHS Shares the Importance of State Enactment and Enforcement of Modern Building Codes


 During Disaster Safety and Mitigation Week (May 13-19) – which is part of National Building Safety Month – the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is touting the importance of state enactment and enforcement of modern building codes.

“Severe weather events cause billions of dollars in property damage and economic losses every year,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “The supplementary disaster aid is designed to incentivize states to do the right thing by adopting and enforcing strong building codes, which would help their citizens, businesses and communities during the recovery process following a disaster.
“We know that modern building codes would significantly improve our nation’s safety and resilience over time, which ultimately will reduce taxpayer costs from natural disasters,” Rochman added.

Last week, the federal Safe Building Code Incentive Act (SBCIA) was introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1878) and Senate (S. 924). The SBCIA provides qualifying states with an additional four percent of funding available for post-disaster assistance if they utilize nationally recognized model building codes. Specifically, states would need to adopt and enforce the International Residential Code (IRC) from either of the most recent two updates (2012 or 2009).  

Twelve states currently would qualify for the additional four percent in disaster aid under SBCIA: California, New Jersey, District of Columbia, New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, Utah, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan and Washington. A number of other states could qualify with relatively minor changes to their building code systems.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) commissioned a recent study to specifically examine the impact of the SBCIA and states adopting and enforcing statewide building codes. The study, which focused on hurricane and wind damages, revealed that since 1988, $125 billion in FEMA grant funds have been issued related to natural disasters. If buildings exposed to these disasters had been built to model codes, the study found that disaster aid could have been reduced by nearly 20 percent, or $13 billion.

During post-disaster field investigations, including one conducted following Hurricane Charley, which struck Florida in 2004, IBHS found that homes built to modern codes with increased wind resistance were 40 percent less likely to be damaged and the repair costs were 60 percent lower.
“By encouraging the adoption and enforcement of strong building codes through measures like the SBCIA, lawmakers can save lives, promote long-term fiscal stability, reduce public sector response and recovery costs, protect the environment, and create a more resilient society.”

About the IBHS - IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What It Means to Be a Green Shopper


Everything you buy affects the environment, but some choices are better than others.

Did You Know?
Since your parents were born, the amount of trash each American generates has doubled.*
“Green purchasing” means buying smart. Shop with the environment in mind—that is, buy products that help conserve natural resources, save energy, and prevent waste. Green purchasing can also mean not buying things you don’t need. By educating yourself about the products you buy, you can make a difference in protecting the environment.
Green purchasing involves learning about all the ways that a product can affect the environment during the course of its “life cycle”—from the materials used to manufacture it, to how you use it, to what you do with it when you’re finished with it—so that you can make smart choices.
Use the tips and resources in this brochure to make yourself an educated consumer.
Shopping Tips
Buy smart. Take some time to think before you buy something—maybe you don't really need it. Maybe you can think of an alternative to buying a product, such as renting a DVD instead of buying it or sending a free e-card instead of a paper birthday card. Shopping with the environment in mind will conserve resources, prevent waste, and save money.
Buy durable products. Instead of buying disposable products, which are wasteful, buy things that will last a long time, such as rechargeable batteries and reusable plastic mugs for drinks.
Avoid excess packaging. Look for products that have less packaging, or buy in bulk—you’ll have less to throw away. You can also buy items with packaging that can be reused or recycled.
Buy used. Buying things that have been used before means that your purchase doesn’t use more resources or energy. If the item is still reusable when you’re through with it, then the next person to use it is not using additional resources either. You can find authentic retro clothes, room accessories, and even sports equipment at your local thrift store. Shop online or at local stores to buy used CDs and books.
Share with friends. Another way to save resources and energy is to swap with friends and family instead of buying brand-new products. Maybe you and your friends like the same video games. Why not share your games instead of each of you owning the same game? Or maybe you can rent the game first to see if you really want to own it.
Buy energy-efficient items. Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when buying electronics such as TVs, CD players, DVD players, and computers. ENERGY STAR is a program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products.
Did You Know?
For every 42 notebooks made with 100 percent recycled paper, one tree is saved.*
Buy recycled. Buying items made with recycled-content materials means that fewer natural resources, such as trees, were used to produce the products. Products made from recycled paper, plastic, and other materials are usually easy to recognize in the store—just read the labels. Try starting with school supplies. Many stores carry recycled notebooks, pens, and other products.

How do my purchases make a difference?

Did You Know?
Young people spend or influence the spending of $300 billion a year, or about 1 in 3 dollars spent.*
Buying “green” lets companies know that you care about the environmental impact of the products you buy. Why would a big corporation care what you think? Because your current and future purchasing power is extremely important to them. In fact, companies spend $12 billion a year marketing their products to you.* Shopping “green” sends a message to the companies—that you care about the environment, and you’re not afraid to use your buying power to prove it.
Did You Know?
67 percent of parents buying a new car base their decision on advice from their kids, who are not even old enough to drive.*
Your purchasing choices affect what your parents buy. Your parents buy groceries and other items based on your likes and dislikes, and they might even buy a car input from you and your siblings. Your friends also listen to what you have to say when they decide what to buy. Use your influence to help others shop smart and protect the environment.
SOURCE EPA

Friday, May 10, 2013

Home Construction and Renovation Industry Vital to Nation's Economy

Homes have significant environmental impacts beyond energy and climate change. Water use and water resources protection is another critical concern. Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population nearly doubled, but in that same period, public demand for water more than tripled.

Homes use far more water than other types of buildings, and opportunities abound for cutting water use through simple strategies like upgrading faucets and fixtures, and changing landscaping and maintenance routines.
         
The home construction and renovation industry is vital to our nation's economy, and it generates countless opportunities to create markets for green building materials and practices that utilize recycled materials and/or use less toxic ingredients or components. If you are building a new home or renovating your home, you now have a wide range of greener options in construction techniques and materials, appliances, lighting, flooring, countertops, furnishings, paints and finishes, and several other aspects of construction.
         
Households generate a significant amount of waste, which has a big impact on the environment. This site provides information on recycling opportunities and insights into the reduction of home waste generation. This site also provides information on recycling construction and demolition debris during renovation, and buying recycled products to 'close the loop'.
Finally, homes are a place where we spend significant amounts of our time on a daily basis.

As such, it is very important to have a healthful home environment, including good indoor air quality.  The EPA provides information on how to enhance the healthiness of your home as you explore the process of greening your home.
            
Not only can a greener home be more energy and water efficient, it also can have a reduced carbon footprint, be less expensive to operate, and be a healthier place to live. But it's important to understand that not everything advertised as green always succeeds in meeting these goals.  The EPA will help you navigate your way through the green claims you encounter.

For more information:  www.epa.gov

BBB Winner of Distinction: Congratulations Incredible Renovations


On May 8th, the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation honored BBB Accredited Businesses and Charity Members that maintain a superior commitment to ethics, overall excellence, and quality in the workplace at the 2013 Awards for Excellence event.

Houston remodeling company, Incredible Renovations, located at 5814 Winsome Lane was among the winners of distinction.

"We are honored and pleased to be acknowledged as BBB Winner of Distinction for 2013," said Adam Bakir, General Manager of Incredible Renovations.

Incredible Renovations is not just a home renovations company, they are a "one-stop-shop," with all the in-house expertise required to complete the job from start to finish.

"We are the only remodeler in Houston with this capability, and that is why we can give you our solemn promise that every job we undertake is "On Time and On Budget," Bakir said.

BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by: 
  • Creating a community of trustworthy businesses
  • Setting standards for marketplace trust
  • Encouraging and supporting best practices
  • Celebrating marketplace role models, and;
  • Denouncing substandard marketplace behavior

For More Information: www.incrediblerenovations.com

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Tips


When choosing materials to improve or remodel your home, try to buy recycled products. Using recycled products helps reduce the amount of material going to landfills. Flooring, insulation, plastic lumber, woodwork, shingles, and many garden/lawn products are made from recycled materials.

If your house or apartment was built before 1978, it is likely to still have lead-based paint on walls and other surfaces. Lead in the environment is especially harmful to children and pregnant women. Before you begin any paint removal or remodeling projects, be sure to test for lead. You can hire a professional to remove it or do it yourself. If you do it yourself, spread tarps under the work area, don't work on windy days, and collect and dispose of your paint waste in a licensed sanitary landfill.
Buy carpet made from recycled drink bottles (polyethylene terephthalate fiber). This recycled-content carpet is durable, resists moisture and staining, and requires no additional chemicals for its manufacture. Visithttp://www.ecoproducts.comExit EPA for more information.
Install properly insulated skylights or larger windows to allow more natural light into your home. You will help reduce the amount of energy and electricity used to light your home.
To help save landfill space, donate reusable old cabinets, doors, plumbing fixtures, and hardware to a local charity or building materials reuse center.
Contact your local household hazardous waste collection facility for instructions on safely disposing of harmful waste products and materials, such as empty aerosol paint cans, leftover paint and thinners, used solvents and paint chips, unused garden products like fertilizers and pesticides, and household chemicals.
Reuse old milk jugs, coffee cans, or other plastic containers to hold paint, cleaners, or other supplies. Be sure to label and date these containers properly, and store them safely away from children and pets.
Reuse or recycle leftover cement, gravel, and sand whenever possible. Try not to mix up more fresh concrete or cement than you can use in a day.
When your home is undergoing major landscape renovation, try to conduct grading and excavating projects when chances of rain are minimal to prevent erosion and contamination of run-off water. Cover excavated materials, dumpsters, and stockpiles of asphalt, sand, and yard clippings to prevent contaminants from getting into storm drains.
Earth Day (April 22) is a good time to start your spring cleaning. Properly maintain home appliances and keep them clean to help ensure that they will run at peak efficiency. This also saves electricity, which conserves resources and reduces global warming. Remove lint and dust from your refrigerator coil and freezer. Clean up lint around your dryer, furnace, and any vents leading to or from them. Also, change or clean the filter in your air purifier or furnace.
For spring cleaning chores, try to use durable items such as mops and reusable rags or sponges. When using household cleaning products, be sure that you only use the amount you need, and that you read and follow the manufacturer's directions for use and disposal.
Cool, dry fall days are a great time to paint both the interior and exterior of your home. Properly store any unused paint for future use, donate unused paint to neighbors or charities, or turn in your used paint to a waste collection facility for recycling.
If you have a tile roof, check it thoroughly for cracks or missing tiles, and use roofing made from recycled rubber or plastic to make repairs.
Replace old insulation with insulation made from recycled paper, glass, and other recovered materials.
Check your heat pump or furnace and change the filter or make repairs if needed. Properly maintaining your furnace will conserve fuel by keeping it running efficiently and preventing leaks.
Before rough winter weather sets in, remove screens from windows and doors and put up storm windows. Strong winds, heavy rains, and extreme cold can all damage your screens and ordinary windows, and send them to landfills before their time.
Check caulking around windows and do touch ups to conserve energy and natural resources.
When you're stuck inside on a rainy day, clean out your closet and collect the old clothes and toys for donation to a charity or your next garage sale.
Source: EPA