EcoVative 2010: Building it Green in Portland

This weekend the Portland Built Crew (a force of one) spent some time at the Portland Home Builder’s Association green conference, EcoVative.

The show was an interesting blend of educational seminars, presentations, and vendor exhibitions. Classes spanned a wide range of subjects, including:

  • Building Super Energy-Efficient Homes Without Breaking the Bank
  • Porous Pavement Options
  • The Energy Trust’s Energy Performance Score (EPS)
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • High Performance Wall Systems

Overall, the curriculum was quite comprehensive. Attendees included veteran green builders, as well as those new to the industry. For builders looking to capitalize on the green building movement, this event presented an invaluable learning opportunity.

One of the great features of the show was the vendor exhibition hall. There were a number of manufacturers, as well as representatives from groups like Earth Advantage and Energy Trust. It was an excellent opportunity to talk one-on-one with industry experts.


In terms of prodducts, local supplier EcoHaus showed off some great paneling made from reclaimed glue-lam beams. This stuff was just gorgeous, and could be used for all sorts of architectural detailing. Anna from EcoHaus said that some customers were even using it for cabinet fronts.

Another interesting product comes from just down the road in Oregon City. EcoWarm is a hydronic radiant board system that takes the place of gypcrete or concrete as the substrate for PEX tubing. At the Live/Work project, we looked at a similar option from a company called “WarmBoard.” Ultimately, WarmBoard’s pricing was astronomically high and fell out of the running. EcoWarm is a similar product, but their pricing is unclear – the painfully bad website has some pricing info, but it’s frustrating for the homeowner. Hopefully, they’ll improve things as the company grows.

On a final note, I’d like to mention one of Portland Built’s Partners, Medallion Industries. Medallion brought several eco-friendly products to the expo, including fiberglass windows from Andersen, triple glazed windows from Atrium, and Serious Window’s advanced fiberglass offerings. If you’re considering new construction, LEED, or Passive House standards, take a look at the Medallion Website.

Fireplace Makeover

Over the last few months I’ve been working hard to update my 50’s fireplace. Nothing says “mid century” quite like those flat, red bricks.  The final product is the result of a custom mold, dyed concrete, and a dead-fall fir mantle from Mt. St Helens. You can see the finished result above – next I’ll post on how I tackled the project. Continue reading Fireplace Makeover