Sorry for the campy headline, but with the torrential rain and wind outside, I was thinking about rainwear even though I’m writing about concrete.  Concrete?

Ummm…Yay?

Well, it may not be as sexy a subject as…say…closets, but just like every home rehab project, you have to start somewhere.  And even in your choice of concrete, there’s an opportunity to go eco.

Here in California, home of the Quakes (not just the soccer team), any major home rehab or remodel will likely include some foundation and seismic upgrades to make the home more earthquake safe.

Los Gatos Earthquake Damaged House

Some of these things are simple, like bolting the home to the existing foundation so that it doesn’t slide off the foundation in a major temblor (like the poor historic home above in Los Gatos after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake).  Another easy fix is something called cripple wall bracing – just adding 2×4’s and simple plywood panels between the vertical studs on top of the foundation to minimize side-to-side tilting or twisting.

Cripple Wall Bracing and Bolting

…but if you’re going even farther and actually upgrading the foundation (i.e. replacing an old brick foundation or a weak concrete foundation) or doing an addition that requires a new reinforced concrete foundation, you can make the eco choice by specifying something called Fly Ash Concrete.

Fly AshFly ash is a by-product of combustion in coal-fired power plants.  It’s non-combustible and, until recent years, was mostly directed to landfills.  But fly ash also has some great qualities that allow it to be used to replace a portion of the Portland Cement in concrete.  Creating Portland Cement generates significant greenhouse gasses, so eliminating some of it reduces impact on global climate.  Fly ash concrete also has some great properties…like:

  • It requires less water than standard concrete
  • It has better long-term strength than standard concreteand, best of all…
  • It costs the same or less than standard concrete!

Wakin' Bacon Alarm Clock

Just like I say about the Wake n’ Bacon Alarm Clock…

“What’s not to like?”

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