Solar powered attic vent fan

In the remodel of KDNK Carbondale Community Access Radio’s building we converted the sealed attic into a ventilated attic. This allows us to raise the insulation level to R49. Typically, adding ventilation to an attic that originally had none includes either; cutting in gable vents, cutting in several thru-roofing vents or cutting in ridge and soffit vents. Thru-roofing vents,  ridge and soffit vents are expensive and they required cutting through perfectly good roofing to install. The building did have a window in the gable that could be converted into a louvered vent, but cross-ventilation was still a problem. The solution came from a fortuitous coincidence. The building was once occupied by the international solar technology educators; Solar Energy International. SEI had left a couple of old solar panels in the attic that just happened to be exactly half the height of the gable window. I realized that two solar panels and two 24×24 louvered vents would fill the space left by the window’s removal. Two solar panels would provide more than enough power to run a DC fan large enough to vent the attic for moisture reasons- plus the fan could lower the temperature of the attic in the summer! This is what it turned out like (paint to come in the spring). The controls are 120 AC single-pole cooling thermostat and dehumidistat wired in parallel; so the fan comes on if it gets too humid or too hot.

KDNK attic vent outsideKDNK solar ventsolar vent controler

 solar powered attic vent fan


LEED for Homes and Construction Waste Reduction in the Roaring Fork Valley














Confluence Architecture is consulting on a LEED for Homes project on Missouri Heights between Basalt and Carbondale Colorado. The team is trying to maximize the diversion of Construction Waste.  Unfortunately, in the rural Roaring Fork Valley, we don’t have robust resources for recycling of construction waste.  Our best resource currently is Pitkin County Landfill. They will take all non-treated wood and process it for compost.  This includes wood with glues such as OSB, TJI’s or glu-lam cutoffs.  They will also process all mixed recyclables, cardboard, and metal.  A good second source is the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store which will take usable construction scrap.  Beyond these sources a project team needs to get creative.

Facilities that take ceramics, EPS insulation and PEX and ABS piping are in the Denver area at Eco-Cycle Center and other locations.  We are debating with viability of collecting a truck load of these materials to transport to Denver.  If there are other construction projects in the area that have an outlet for these materials or would like to partner with us on a Denver run, let us know with a comment here.

We have not found a good source for insulation cutoffs (XPS, polyiso, and fiberglass batt) or TPO roofing cutoffs.  Nationwide Foam and other large companies are not interested in our small and out of the way quantities. If anyone has any tips- let us know.

On the top of my wish list for 2013 is more manufacture take back programs like Armstrong, Sika Sarnafil, and ACH foam.  These manufacturers provide a relatively easy source for return of construction cutoffs or used materials.  I wish this were more the rule than the exception! Also wishing for some local waste handling companies to step up and partner with some Front Range recycling companies for Roaring Fork Valley construction waste.  Maybe MRI will be able to provide more of this service with their new Waste Transfer Station in Carbondale.