Archive for September, 2015

Say Aloha to Saving Energy!

Recently I’ve spent another vacation in Hawaii. This was not my first trip there, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve visited Hawaii. I got married on the sandy “Shipwreck beach” area of Kauai, barefooted Hawaiian style, and I know there will be many more trips there. It is just a magical place, a true paradise on earth. I believe I’ve seen everything an avid traveler can see on every island of Hawaii. At least I thought I did. This time there was something new that caught my eye and it was not nature’s beauty.

Who Doesn’t Like Free Money?

There is a little known aid to homeowners who want to make their homes safer in a devastating earthquake. But hang in here, because it’s a loooonnnggggg explanation.
One of the safest places in an earthquake is your own wooden, one-story house. There is very little chance that somebody in a single family wooden home will be killed in an earthquake. The reason is that these types of homes are pretty flexible. They move but regain their shape, more or less, after an earthquake. Older houses are built on concrete footings with concrete walls, (so called stem walls) and the wooden structure – beginning with the first wooden member the so called “mud sill” or today’s technical term, the “sill plate” – sits on top of this concrete. The term “mud sill” comes from the old way of building this particular member. In the old days concrete contractors called concrete “mud” and laid the first horizontal 2×6 wooden member, the sill, into the wet “mud” where it made a very strong bond by penetrating into the wood while the concrete cured. They did not connect this “mud sill” at all to the concrete footing with any type of steel hardware. The result is that these types of homes have been excessively damaged in earthquakes as early as the San Francisco quake in 1906, as well as subsequent earthquakes.