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Archive for June, 2010

The EPA recently announced that it will extend the deadline for firms to obtain lead certification and training.  Here are the two main points from their announcement:

Until October 1, 2010, EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the RRP Rule’s firm certification requirement.

For violations of the RRP Rule’s renovation worker certification requirement, EPA will not enforce against individual renovation workers if the person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by not later than September 20, 2010, a certified renovator class to train contractors in practices necessary for compliance with final rules.  Renovators must complete the training by December 31, 2010.

Even though Gaspar’s obtained our training earlier this year, we heard that it was hard for many firms to get the necessarily credentials by the original deadline of April, as there were more firms that needed training than there were trainers.

If you are an owner of a pre-1978 home and are planning to remodel, it is important that you get the affected area tested for lead.  In the event that there is lead present, especially if there are children or pregnant women who come into your home, it is vital that you work with someone who knows how to contain the dust and debris that come from working in that area.  Gaspar’s is a certified Lead-Safe Renovator in the Seattle area.  If you are outside of this area, you can find certified firms here.

To learn more about lead, its effects and the recent rule, visit the EPA’s page here.

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This is a 2 part series in which we will share with you options for using recycled-content countertops for your kitchen and bath remodel.  Gone of the days of ugly recycled countertop materials.  We are in a new era of innovative products that rival – and sometimes surpass – the sophistication of granite.  Whether your space is modern, traditional, or contemporary, there is a sustainable countertop option that is sure to steal the show.

We have compiled an exhaustive list of eco-countertops and there are new products coming on the market often.  Since we remodel in Seattle, we have ranked them in order of closest to Seattle so that our local readers can make an informed decision about the transportation element of the product’s sustainability.

RECYCLED PAPER/WOOD

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Richlite

  • Content:  50% corrugated cardboard to 100% FSC certified recycled paper depending on color. Some are FSC certified.
  • Manufactured in:  Tacoma, WA
  • Material source:  Unknown
  • # of colors:  7
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website:  http://www.richlite.com/countertop/
  • Notes: We have had this product in our showroom kitchen on Capitol Hill for 4 years now and have been very happy with it.   We’ve had it refinished once (which makes it look brand new) although many people prefer to keep the patina that it gets over time.
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    Paperstone

  • Content:  100% FSC certified recycled paper and water based phenolic resin with cashew nut shell binder and pigment.
  • Manufactured in:  Hoquiam, WA
  • Material source:  Unknown
  • # of colors:  13
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Website: http://www.paperstoneproducts.com/
  • Notes:  Created by the same people who created Richlite.  We used Paperstone Mocha in the above left picture.  Click here to see more of this Gaspar’s kitchen remodel.
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    .Eco-Top

  • Content:  50/50 blend of FSC certified post-consumer recycled paper and rapidly renewable bamboo fiber.  Bound with 100% water-based system.
  • Manufactured in:  Tacoma, WA, Wisconsin, Texas, California
  • Material source:  Close to manufacturing.  Bought from nearest paper facility.
  • Recyclable?  Unknown
  • # of colors:  10
  • Waste during manufacturing:  All leftovers and edge trimmings go to Recovery One.
  • Website:  http://www.kliptech.com/ecotop.html
  • Recycle-Top

  • Content:  100% post-consumer reycled curbside paper and corn-based 30% organic resin
  • Manufactured in: Tacoma, WA
  • Material source:  Bought from nearest paper facility.
  • # of colors:  3
  • Waste during manufacturing:  Unknown
  • Notes: This product is so new that it isn’t even on the manufacturer’s website yet.  It will be available some time in 2010.
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    With so many models, options, settings and spaces, choosing the right appliance can be dizzying!  Fret not, for Gaspar’s has just the man for the job.  Smiley, from the Bellevue Albert LeeStore,  is our go-to appliance guru and we’re pulling him in for our weekly appliance column to answer all of your questions.

    Do you have an appliance question?  Leave a comment here or email lauren@gaspars.com. Here are this week’s questions:

    There are rumors that induction cooking is better than gas. Is this true?

    Induction is a great cooking technology, and we will be seeing more and more of it.  As far as it being better than gas, it does exceed it in two ways.  It is more energy efficient, and it does heat up faster than gas.  An induction cooktop is 70% more efficient than gas, and 20% more efficient than electric at getting energy for heating into the cookware.  That means that not only will the cooktop use energy wisely, but it will also have your food done quicker because of it. – Smiley

    I’ve seen a dishwasher that has two compartments that run individually. Can you tell me more about that?  Are they as efficient?

    Dishwasher drawers have been around for awhile now, and they do offer great design characteristics, as well as better energy efficiency.  The drawers are the same size as a regular dishwasher, and even come in single drawer configurations.  The full size unit has two drawers, and utilizes two independent motors.  Which means you can run just one drawer at a time, thereby effectively using half the power and half the water.  Another bonus to the design is that you could run two different cycles at once too.  So, they can be very efficient when using just one drawer, but are about as efficient as other energy star models when the full system is being used and both drawers are washing.

    Do you want some personal assistance and some one-on-one time with a local appliance expert?  You can visit Smiley at the Bellevue Albert Lee store.  Click here for a map and directions.

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    We remodel a lot of condos in the Seattle Area to be beautiful, functional retreats.  Many of these spaces are moderately small and call for appropriately-sized furniture.  A great place to find smaller-scale furniture is at Del-Teet in Bellevue and we suggest you check them out if your space is petite.  Even better?  They are having a one month sale starting June 18th where sofas will be 15-35% off!

    Can’t wait until then to start scoping out the inventory?  Click here for a map on how to get there.

    – Lauren

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