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sourcebook for new construction, remodeling, landscaping & real estate

Useful Local Info for anyone building in the area

Provided as a SUPPLEMENT to the Northern Kittitas County Tribune headquartered in Cle Elum, WA

Services for: - Cle Elum - Roslyn - Suncadia - Ronald - Easton - Snoqualmie Pass - Thorp - All of Kittitas County

All Under One Roof ...

Central Washington Home Builders Association

“Today’s ideas, old time quality”

CRAFTSMAN OUTPOST 418 East First Street • Cle Elum, WA


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Larry Scholl Direct: (509) 674-9352 Fax: (509) 674-9799 Phone: 1-888-649-2965 and (509) 674-4495 Email: John L. Scott 114 West First Street, Suite A Cle Elum, WA 98922

EXPERIENCE AND TRUST • 30-year, local expert in the real estate market, specializing in recreational, investment, and retirement properties • Knowledgeable of county codes, financing, market trends, comparable market values, short sale and foreclosure markets • Experienced negotiator on behalf of clients; Certified Negotiation Expert • Skilled coordinator of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and tests; clients experience stress-reduction through effective, full-service support • 90% repeat customers attest to exemplary service; highest level of client referrals from satisfied buyers and sellers • Personal website, links to buying and selling information and instant changes in Kittitas County listings • Notary Public; Certified/Bonded by National Notary Association

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2010 directory of services ASPHALT, PAVING & ROADS Calvin Beedle Excavating, LLC .............33 Columbia Asphalt ..................................31 K&S McCann Trucking, LLC ..................25 Norm Cook Enterprises, Inc..................17

BUILDING MATERIALS & HARDWARE Bator Lumber.........................................23 Center Line Art Works.......................2, 35 Cle Elum Hardware & Rental ..................6 Craftsman Outpost ..................................2 Harper Lumber Company......................29 Marson and Marson Lumber, Inc. .........37 Matheus Lumber Company, Inc ............38

BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS Central WA Homebuilders Assoc. .........21 C.F. Arends & Company ........................22 Frisinger Fine Framing LLC...................27 Magnolia & Associates, LLC .................29 MF Williams Construction Co., Inc ........21 Nine Pine Developments, LLC ..............27 Paradise Mountain Log & Timber ..........19 Senger Construction, LLC .....................20 Sunrise General Contractors, LLC ........23 TRS Construction, LLC .........................20

BULK FUEL SUPPLIERS A-1 Petroleum & Propane .....................17

CABINETRY Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.......................2 Mike Eger Custom Cabinetry ..................8

CLEANING ClearView Window Cleaning .................25 MM Wood Restoration & Protection ........6

CONCRETE, ROCK & GRAVEL All American Waterproofing, LLC ..........22 Central Nursery, Inc...............................31 C.F. Arends & Company ........................22 Columbia Asphalt ..................................31 K&S McCann Trucking, LLC ..................25 Norm Cook Enterprises, Inc..................17

DECKS & PORCHES Bator Lumber.........................................23 C.F. Arends & Company ........................22 SunSetter Retractable Awnings.............13 Sunrise General Contractors, LLC ........23

DESIGN AND CONSULTING Central Nursery, Inc...............................31 Magnolia & Associates, LLC .................29 MF Williams Construction Co., Inc ........21 Montgomery Building Design LLC.........15 Nine Pine Developments, LLC ..............27 Paradise Mountain Log & Timber .........19 SC Design .............................................20 Stone River Engineering Co..................25

DOORS, WINDOWS & MILLWORK Bator Lumber.........................................23 Center Line Art Works.......................2, 35 Harper Lumber Company......................29 Issaquah Glass......................................25 Marson and Marson Lumber, Inc. .........37 New View Window Works ......................33 Northwest Door & Millwork......................2 Pioneer Door, Inc...................................13 TouchQuotes Door/Millwork Software ...34



Issaquah Glass......................................25 Magnolia & Associates, LLC .................29 Mike Eger Custom Cabinetry ..................8 Northwest Marble & Terrazzo Co.............4 Sears .......................................................8

Container Systems Storage ..................33 Store ’N More ........................................25

LANDSCAPE & NURSERY Central Nursery, Inc...............................31 Harper Lumber Company......................29 Valley Turf ................................................8



AC/DC Electric ......................................21 Cabin Creek Electric .............................35 Cle Elum Hardware & Rental ..................6 Harper Lumber Company......................29 Maximum Electric LLC ............................8

Rinehart Ranch .......................................8

EQUIPMENT SALES & RENTALS A-1 Petroleum & Propane .....................17 Burrows Tractor, Inc...............................27 Cle Elum Hardware & Rental ..................6 Container Systems Storage ..................33 Harper Lumber Company......................29 Sears .......................................................8 Swiftwater Tractors, LLC........................15 .......................................22 Tumwater Drilling & Pump, Inc ..............19

EXCAVATING Calvin Beedle Excavating, LLC .............33 C.F. Arends & Company ........................22 K&S McCann Trucking, LLC ..................25 Norm Cook Enterprises, Inc..................17 RMD Excavation....................................35 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC...........33 Sunrise General Contractors, LLC ........23 Vezzoni Logging ....................................23

FLOORING Perma Color Interiors ............................22 SuperFloors .............................................2 Woodriver Hardwoods .............................2

FURNITURE Mountain Elegance Home Furnishing .....7 Rustik Kreations ......................................2

HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING Central Heating and Air .........................20

HOME SHOWS Kittitas Valley Tour of Homes.................21 Tour of Homes (Yakima County) ...........21


TRUCKING Calvin Beedle Excavating, LLC .............33 K&S McCann Trucking, LLC ..................25 Norm Cook Enterprises, Inc..................17 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC...........33 Vezzoni Logging ....................................23

METAL WORK Center Line Art Works.......................2, 35 Pioneer Door, Inc...................................13

MOLD PREVENTION & WATERPROOFING All American Waterproofing, LLC ..........22 Mold Solutions NW..................................9


VEHICLES Bud Clary Toyota of Yakima...................17

Cle Elum Hardware & Rental ..................6 Harper Lumber Company......................29

PRINTING, NEWS & OFFICE SUPPLIES Northern Kittitas County Tribune .....31, 34 Ruby’s Printing ......................................23 Tribune Office Supply & Printing ...........39

REAL ESTATE Kittitas Valley Tour of Homes.................21 Larry Scholl – John L. Scott Real Estate ......3 Tour of Homes (Yakima County) ...........21


Did you miss out on ADVERTISING in this year’s Builders’ Guide?

Contact us by March 1st for the 2011 edition phone 509-674-2511 or e-mail: UPPER KITTITAS COUNTY BUILDERS’ GUIDE 2010

WELL DRILLING Tumwater Drilling & Pump, Inc ..............40

WOOD RESTORATION MM Wood Restoration & Protection ........6

2010 Upper Kittitas Co.



High Country Outfitters/Camp Wahoo!..31

Deanna Plesha • Paige Berrigan


Lyn Derrick • Jim Fossett • Janie McQueen

The Pastime ..........................................29



Mountain Elegance Home Furnishing .....7 New View Window Works ......................33 Perma Color Interiors ............................22 SuperFloors .............................................2

UTILITIES Inland Networks.....................................34 RMD Excavation....................................35 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC...........33



TRUSS & BEAM Marson and Marson Lumber, Inc. .........37 Matheus Lumber Company, Inc ............38

Claffey’s Painting .....................................9

Energy Detective Agency ......................33

Insulation Services LLC ........................25

TIMBER & LAND CLEARING Calvin Beedle Excavating, LLC .............33 Loggin’ Larrin.........................................15 RMD Excavation....................................35 Scott Equipment & Hauling, LLC...........33 Vezzoni Logging ....................................23

JM Stoneworks ........................................2 Northwest Marble & Terrazzo Co.............4 SuperFloors .............................................2

All Around Underground, Inc. ................22 Calvin Beedle Excavating, LLC .............33 C.F. Arends & Company ........................22


SURVEYING & ENGINEERING Columbia Northwest Engineering............8 Stone River Engineering Co..................25

CONTENT DESIGN TEAM Casey Clark • Terry Hamberg • Jana Stoner

CUSTOMER SERVICE Bonnie Montgomery • Carol Punton Debbie Renshaw • Cindy Steiner


Bator Lumber.........................................23 Harper Lumber Company......................29 Wine Valley Siding Supply, Inc. .............11

A publication produced by


a division of Oahe Publishing Corp.

Calvin Beedle Excavating, LLC .............33 Sunrise General Contractors, LLC ........23 Vezzoni Logging ....................................23

STEEL & POLE BUILDINGS C.F. Arends & Company ........................22



P.O. Box 308 807 W. Davis St., suite 101-A Cle Elum, WA 98922 (509) 674-2511


811 West Davis Cle Elum, WA (Next to Safeway)

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(Visit our Cle Elum Farm & Home Supply location downtown for Landscaping, Lawn, Garden, Work Clothes, Gloves, Boots, Farm Supplies, Household and Sporting Goods at 100 W. 1st St., 509-674-7104)


Contents Building and Living on ‘Green Street’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 10 Constructing Swiftwater Cellars Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 12 Aging Coal Miner’s Home Second Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 14 Kittitas County Building Permits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 16 New 2010 EPA Certification Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 16 Amended WA State Building Codes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 16 Six Large-Scale Building Projects Slated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 16 Reclaiming Wood, Stone and Steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 18

We offer elegant lodge furniture with a variety of styles, fine fabrics, leather, rich woods, and custom copper furniture. Largest selection of accessories and wall art in Kittitas County.

Cow Power May Provide Electricity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 19 Online Incentives for Renewables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 19 Rootin’ for Root Cellars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 24 Green Foundation - Snoqualmie Pass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 26 Pellet Stoves and Chimneys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 28 ‘Stuff & Gunk’ Causes Chimney Fires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 28 Getting a Well Drilled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 30 Maintaing Your Well-Water System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 30 See the Energy You’re Wasting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 32 Brush on Energy Savings Paint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 36 Make Your Home ‘Cold Savvy’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 36

Looking for Contractors and Suppliers? Find Directory on Page 5

We’ve done the homework to jumpstart your Kittitas County Building Projects Welcome to the 2010 Upper Kittitas County Builders Guide.

What’s in it for me?

Quick Resources Cle Elum City Hall.............509-674-2262 Dept. of Agriculture ...........509-925-8585 Dig Safely .......................1-800-424-5555 Emergencies .....................................9-1-1 Farm Bureau Service Agency ........................................509-925-8585

We are introducing elegant patio furniture for your home. Come check it out!

Fish and Wildlife - Region 3 ........................................509-575-2740 Kittitas County • Conservation District.............509-925-8585 • Courthouse ............................509-962-7531 • Extension Office....................509-962-7507 • Noxious Weeds Board...........509-962-7007 • Permit Center ........................509-962-7562 • Upper Co. Transfer Station ...509-649-2921

Anyone involved in building, remodeling or maintaining a construction project within Kittitas County, particularly in the “Upper County” area, will find useful resources in this guide.

Regional Police Dept. ........509-674-2991

Use it to find contractors and subcontractors, materials, and people who can help with every phase of your projects. Also, we have done much of your homework on requirements and advice for building in our area and provide it in the informative articles.

U.S. Forest Service - Cle Elum ........................................509-852-1100

Mattress Gallery

Roslyn City Hall.................509-649-3105 So. Cle Elum Town Hall ....509-674-4322 The Building Department1-877-946-5481

To Report Forest Fires: Central Washington ..................1-800-826-3383 Statewide ..................................1-800-562-6010


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By Lyn Derrick

Building & Living on ‘Green Street’ Michael & Susie Carr catch the green building bug They started out with a simple idea in mind. Michael and Susie Carr wanted to include passive solar design features in the home they’re building in the Nelson Preserve area at Suncadia Resort in Northern Kittitas County. Simply put, passive solar design harnesses the sun’s energy to heat and cool living spaces. With this approach, the building itself takes advantage of natural energy created by exposure to and protection from the sun. The Carrs started out with this one idea in mind. Along the way they caught the green building bug, and when they occupy their home in the fall of 2010 they’ll be figuratively “living on green street” in a ‘deep green’ built 2,000 square foot contemporary mountain cabin. Deep green means this house will rack up about 800 green points when completed. “Give or take a few,” said their builder, Travis Gibson. This far exceeds the 550 points required to achieve a top of the line, five-star designation for green building. And they’re doing it affordably. “Building green doesn’t have to be anymore expensive,” said Carly Faul, execu-

Sustainability drives design & growth in current markets Architects, designers, and the public in general have embraced the notion that ‘green’ design is an integral aspect of good design. And despite the economic contraction of the housing market, designing projects focused on sustainability or a comparable standard is allowing businesses to enhance their offerings while providing a bright spot in an otherwise challenging construction market.


ONE OF THE MOST COST EFFECTIVE DECISIONS a homeowner can make is the selection of an appropriate lot and the ‘setting’ of the house on that lot, said builder, Travis Gibson. It’s a free, green building option that will pay off in big savings over the life of a home. TRAVIS GIBSON PHOTOS

tive officer of the Central Washington Home Builders Association (CWHBA). “It all depends on the choices you make.” The number of choices or options available to homebuilders – when it comes to green building materials, appliances and systems – has grown rapidly in the past two years. “There’s a lot more product out there,” said Gibson. “For example with tile, hardwood and reclaimed wood, you might have three to five suppliers now, compared to one, three or five years ago.” More options means more competition, which in turn means lower prices – making green building a more doable today. Navigating through all those options, takes a “good team” Gibson said. That team includes the builder, architectural designer, and the homeowners themselves. – All of them willing to invest time in researching what’s available. “It wouldn’t be possible without the Internet,” Gibson added, admitting he spends many evening hours doing research. Learning about this growing field is pretty exciting, too. “The Carrs have caught the [green building] infection,” Gibson smiled. “It’s fun for them. They’re asking more and more questions.

It’s just about getting the information to them.” With that information, the Carrs have advanced well beyond their original idea of incorporating passive solar design features. Their home will include energy efficient insulation and windows, a heat recovery ventilation system, and Energy Star appliances – among other options. They’ll have radiant floor heat, and they’re considering things like a geothermal heating and cooling system. “This has been quite a journey for us,” said Michael Carr. “One of the surprising things for me has been the amount of support for this that’s available today.” Both Michael and Susie feel like they are part of a great team, too – just like Gibson said. From the builder and all the crew members involved, to the community of craftsmen and vendors who’ve help the couple plan their new home. “I never thought it would be so exciting,” Susie said, “to be a part of this enthusiastic community [of green builders]. I feel like we’re on that wave and it’s fun to be a part of that.” “We’re not exactly pioneers,” said Michael, “but we’re in on the early stages. Hopefully we’re making it easier for the people who are coming after us.”

The ‘greening’ of the Carrs home is a project that grows almost weekly. It’s a process you can monitor through the website: www.greenaccessatsuncadia. com. When completed the house, which is a green design demonstration home, will be featured in the CWHBA Tour of Homes, Sept. 17-19, and will be available for public tours on three weekends: Sept. 24-26, Oct. 13 and 8-10. Gibson takes his ‘construction’ hat off to the Carrs for their willingness to allow this level of public viewing. “It’s a way for people to see green building first hand,” Gibson said. “They can look at the products used, and the different vendors will be there. People can learn what it’s about and see what’s available.” They’ll discover that what’s available now in the field of green building is much less expensive than it was just a short time ago. And they can talk to Gibson and Carrs about green building decisions they made that don’t involve any additional expense. “Whether you’re building green or not,” said Gibson. “Working with your builder and architect on selecting the right lot, how the home will set [on that lot], and taking advantage of natural veg-

etation, is an amount of forethought that’s free.” Additionally, he says, don’t over build. Build just what you need. “As a builder, it might seem funny to hear me say that,” smiled Gibson. “In 1970, the average square footage of a house was 1400 for five people. Now it’s 2100 square feet for three people.” The idea is simple, shrinking the square footage saves on building dollars, and you’ll spend less on operating energy costs for the life of the home. Another free decision: Take a look at your landscaping. “That’s a big point gain [in the green building standards],” said Gibson. “Having a yard and grass to mow takes a lot of energy. Consider going natural.” Windows aren’t free, but once you select what you want, do some research and give a lot of thought to window placement. They play a huge role in how a home is heated and cooled. Gibson’s final tip: Use energy efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. While they aren’t free and may cost more up front, they’ll last longer and earn savings over the long haul. For more information on building green contact the CWHBA ( or the Central Washington Built Green Association (


photos © 2010 Brock Smith Custom Homes LLC

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Swiftwater Cellars Winery:

Concrete or Wood?

By Jim Fossett

the ones PANELS like CONCRETE represent just a few e shown abov anels that frame the p OTO of the 750 JIM FOSSETT PH winer y.

THE WINERY taken from atop a slag pile on Rope Rider Golf Course at Suncadia. JIM FOSSETT PHOTO

SUNCADIA – Twenty-nine year-old Donnie Watts didn’t seem bothered the 44,000 square-foot winery he, father Don, and the rest of the Watts family are building is the first ever project of its kind any of them have ever tackled. Adding color to the challenge, they’re building over the entrance to a 62-mile network of abandoned coal mine shafts. Because of that, the Watts family has pledged to shoot for the high bar in order to bring to life a cherished local memory historians and surviving coal miners will bless. The Watts winery is called Swiftwater Cellars, located at Suncadia Master Resort. The Watts family broke ground on the $10M dollar project last August, a calendar page or two away from the bone-freezing clutch of a Pacific Northwest winter. As it turned out, Lady Luck was on their side. Just a few months into the project, it was clear Old Man Winter laid down on the job this year, perhaps to give the 50 workmen onsite a spring-like window of opportunity. Amazing progress, passersby said. Amazing. Here’s a look behind the scenes from a builder’s point of view. Donnie Watts gave Builders Guide reporters a tour of the project midDecember. Concrete Superstructure The concrete skeleton built to serve as an armature for the complex required 3,400 cubic yards of concrete,


a 100-ton-130-foot crane – and an artistic touch. “We’ve got over 750 different pre-cast concrete panels serving as walls and floors, which for this project was a huge challenge, design-wise and logistics-wise,” Watts explained. “Panels range in thickness from 8 to 12-inches. Average panel weight is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,500 pounds, but some floor panels exceed 40 to 50,000pounds. The panels we had molded for the elevator shaft averaged 65,000-pounds each. All the panels were pre-cast in Cashmere and trucked to the site. “Each panel has it’s own spec sheet. Some are insulated with high-density foam. Some have openings for bay or smaller Tuscan-style windows, or doors. Some bear a requirement for a certain wood-grain or ‘coal mine shaft wall’ texture. The panels are locked together with rebar or, where we embedded panel edges with metal plates, they’re welded together. “When we’re done, we’ll stain the concrete in a way that’ll make the winery look like it was built with wood. We’ll probably go through 2,000-gallons of stain before we’re done. “The superstructure peaks at the top, just like the tipple on Coal Mine No. 9. We built the tipple with 12 by 12 timbers, Douglas fir, and we’ll roof it with rusted tin. We’ll use metal roofing, a cladding product, for the rest of the building.”

Working with the Soil Checkerboarding the front of the winery, where trucks and workmen travel constantly, is an array of 80, four by eight-foot plywood sheets that cover plastic tarps in place to keep the soil dry. The plywood sheets are tightly meshed together via metal strips perforated to hold 12 wood screws each. If you do the math, over 3,800 screws someone’s going to have to remove come summer. “The grounds fronting the entrance to the winery are to be layered with four-inch thick foam drain board, six inches of gravel, and on top: four to sixinch concrete slabs. We’ve got the tarps and plywood in place to provide a solid surface for workmen and vehicles.” Façade Works The main entryway to the winery will brandish 3.5-inch thick, 14-foot tall old-world, distressed, wooden doors, hung with pickaxe handle doorknobs. Visitors entering the winery through those doors will be dwarfed by a 60-foot tall fireplace, bottomed by a six by six by four-foot firebox. “We’ll have two staircas-

DOUG FIR TIMBERS measuring 12 by 12 provide a skeleton for the ‘tipple’ built to resemble the structure topping the entrance to a coal mine. JIM FOSSETT PHOTO

es,” Watts said, “wrapped around the backside of the fireplace, leading to the mezzanine, where small groups can meet and dine.” Inch-thick bay windows, which appear to leave little space for solid walls, allow winery patrons views of Rope Rider Golf Course and a classic Pacific Northwest horizon. “We’re talking about 10 by 18-foot panes of glass we’ll have to have custom made,” Watts smiled. Maximizing Space To better utilize space in the winery, Watts said mobile wine processing equipment is the key. “On the ground floor and in the basement,” he said, “the grape crushers and the bottling machinery will ride

THE WINERY BASEMENT will reflect the ambience of a coal mine, which required texturing certain walls to look like those inside a mine shaft.

IN PLACES, concrete panels have been grained to resemble wood texture. After staining, onlookers won’t be able to tell the difference.



on wheels, so when we’re not processing, we can use the space for meeting and conference rooms.” At the back of the winery, the side facing Rope Rider Golf Course, Watts will build three tunnel entrances to the superstructure’s basement. “We’ve got about 28,000 square feet of basement, which will house a garage for golf carts, two barrel caves for the wine, eventually a bottling room, a satellite kitchen, storage space, and of course, wine processing equipment. “Everything in the basement, including the accent lighting we install, will be designed to resemble a coal mine shaft. Concrete, loadbearing pillars, for example, we’ll fashion to look like shoring. In the basement, we intend for visitors to feel like they’re in a mine shaft. All the ceilings in the basement are 14-feet high. “We’re onsite, dad and I, every day, five to six days a week. My wife Meaghan, my mom Lori, and my dad and I all wear a variety of hats for this project. I’ve looked at the plans 10,000 times. To be truthful, I’m learning how to run a project of this size – on the fly, and … we’re really going outside the box.”


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Local builders give aging coal miner’s home second life

By Jim Fossett

In August of 2005, when Neal McKinney bought an old house on Fifth Street in Roslyn, he said a lot of people told him to tear it down and start over, but he didn’t. His dream: save or restore as much of the structure as possible – along with the history it represents. Three years ago McKinney asked Guy Drew, Dakotta Weed, and cabinetmaker Joel Peplow to take the project on. Bringing History to Life “It’s an original coal miner’s home,” Drew said. “Built at the turn of the century. “We took down the green lap siding, and restored it to board and batten, with Douglas fir. We were fortunate to have some old mills nearby. Ted Connor, up in the Teanaway, milled the siding. Easton’s Vick Monahan milled the porch timbers and rails.” When McKinney bought the place, there was no foundation beneath the home – just board sitting on dirt. “We knew we had to lift the house, so the foundation could be poured,” Drew said, “and if you look at the house, it sits on an incline: perfect for a basement. So, we lifted the house, removed some dirt, and for a couple thousand dollars more, Neal got an 800foot-square basement.” The home is now supported by three 25-foot, 6-by-15inch Glu-Lam beams salvaged from a warehouse in Seattle. Those beams stretch the

BEFORE (left) & AFTER (right) of the old coal miner’s house. In the BEFORE shot, the house is jacked up, for the foundation laying. NEAL MCKINNEY PHOTO (BEFORE) • JIM FOSSETT PHOTO (AFTER)

width of the house at ceiling height, in the new basement. Providing additional support is a huge Douglas fir log, stripped of bark, and positioned dead center in the basement, beneath one of the three Glu-Lam beams. “The log adds the rugged look Neal is looking for. We cut a wedge out of one side of it and concealed a six-inch by six-inch upright, which bears more of the load.” If It’s Good Enough for Fish Once the foundation was poured, Drew installed a drain board along the outside face of the foundation, sunk perforated drainpipe and dumped an eight-inch skirt of six-sack pea gravel around the perimeter.

“That’ll give the home good drainage. We also landscaped around the foundation to provide necessary sloping.” Drew said the same technology used to create the water-filled, 100-foot concrete raceways at the Cle Elum Hatchery was used in the engineering of McKinney’s new foundation. “I figured if the concrete raceways they built for fish were good enough to keep water in, then they’d be good enough to keep the water out.”

GUY DREW rests his hand on the large log used in the basement. Note the six-by-six he concealed in one side of the log. The log is supporting one of the three 25-foot Glu-Lam beams salvaged from a warehouse in Seattle. JIM FOSSETT PHOTO

THE CROSS BEAM dominating the foreground of the photo above supported the original roof. To the upper right, you can just make out the edge of one of the many shingles still attached to the original roofing boards. JIM FOSSETT PHOTO


Apple Tree Reveals a Story Drew said as he and his crew worked on the old house it slowly revealed its story and place in history. “When we were excavating Neal’s basement, we found an old apple tree: stump and branches. It was then I realized a previous owner must

have built wings on both sides of the original structure. The tree was in the ground, directly beneath one of those wings, the one on the righthand side of the home, if you’re looking at it from the street. “When we started working inside, ripping things out, we discovered two ceiling beams that actually mark the dimensions of the original structure: 13-feet by 25-feet, which made sense and explained the tree buried beneath the wing. “To think, the original home, measuring 325-square feet, probably housed an entire family. That’s something.” Another Clue in the Attic The attic of the home revealed another surprise. “The first roof of this house is still intact, with some of the shingles still in place. They built the new roof – right over the old one.” Inside the home, Drew and his workmates preserved the original bead and board ceilings. “It took a lot of time to sand it all down, caulk, and paint it again,” he smiled. “A lot of work.” The interior walls are something of a story in themselves. “Back in the day, they built walls with a board and batten exterior, and a tongue and groove interior. No insulation. It was common practice to wallpaper over the tongue and groove. I learned about that from an old coal miner friend, Fred Halkens. On weekends, he said he use to wall-

paper for extra cash.” Finishing Touches Drew said before the renovation is complete, he will have had the entire home rewired, re-plumbed, and insulated, including the attic, where he said he’ll use blowin insulation. McKinney will get a new chimney, too. “We’ll use double-pane thermal windows, with real wood framing,” he said. In the basement, McKinney installed a woodstove, which heats the entire home. He said he’s looking for a period cook stove to install in his first floor kitchen. “We’ve still got a lot of patching and painting to do,” Drew said. “We laid new hardwood floors. Southern yellow pine, trucked and trained here from Georgia. That’s one of the hardest woods in the country. It’s got a beautiful orange glow. Joel is using hemlock bead board for McKinney’s cabinets.” Three years into the project, Drew’s crew is still working. McKinney says he’s in no rush. “History,” McKinney said, “is the real beauty in old homes. I wish we could get the word out to people in Roslyn to retain as much history here as possible, keeping all the homes here as close to their original look and feel as possible. “I get tons of compliments about this home. People love it that I got the wood milled locally. You’d be surprised at the number of people who drive by here and stop to photograph or video the place.”


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Building in kittitas county? building permits Where to go, who to contact... County land-based building permits for a variety of small and large-scale projects are available at Kittitas County Community Development Services in Ellensburg. In the Upper County, municipal governments in Roslyn and Cle Elum routinely dispatch permits. Prospective builders are cautioned that through the end of March Upper Kittitas County was still under an exempt well moratorium imposed by the Washington State Department of Ecology two years ago. Although there have been indications the moratorium might be lifted, the situation is fluid. Check with your permit issuer for an update. Permit Centers Kittitas County Community Development Services, 411 N Ruby Street, Suite 2, Ellensburg, WA 98926; phone 509-962-7506, FAX 509-9627682. E-mail For a rundown on the county’s permit process logon to

Building History milestones For email updates and notifications regarding Community Development Services building code policies, code interpretation forums and homebuilders' meetings, subscribe to the county’s email notification service by logging onto City of Cle Elum, Community Development Services, 119 West First Street, Cle Elum, WA 98922; phone 509-674-2262, FAX 509-674-4097. Email contacts and City of Roslyn, 110 Pennsylvania Avenue, Roslyn, WA 98941; phone 509-649-3105. Online Permit Applications City of Ellensburg: City of Cle Elum: County of Kittitas:

Coming in 2010: New EPA Certification requirements Reqs affect inspectors and contractors

Six large-scale projects slated On tap for Kittitas County are six of the largest projects in the county’s history, since 2003, when contractors broke ground on 6,400-acres just outside Roslyn for what has become Suncadia Master Resort. Here’s a brief look at the projects on the drawing board. To keep current with trends, actions, and landuse news in Kittitas County, logon to .us/cds/landuse.asp. Large-scale Projects on the Drawing Board CITY HEIGHTS: A 358-acre housing development expected to accommodate 975 attached and detached homes on the northern ridge overlooking the City of Cle Elum. TEANAWAY SOLAR RESERVE: A 400,000-panel solar farm proposed for 900acres in the Teanaway, 13-miles east of Cle Elum. Estimated cost of the project, touted to be the largest in the world: $350 million. In addition, Solar Reserve officials have promised to build a factory in or near Cle Elum, to assemble the 400,000 solar panels.

Under the Lead-based Paint Activities Regulations passed by Congress during the Clinton presidency, individuals and firms performing lead-based paint inspections, lead hazard screens, risk assessments, and abatements must be certified by the EPA. The EPA proposed a similar, but not identical, regulatory scheme for individuals and firms performing renovations. The final rule requires all renovations subject to this rule to be performed by a firm certified to perform renovations. In addition, the rule requires that all persons performing renovation work either be certified renovators or receive on-the-job training from and perform key tasks under the direction of a certified renovator. In order to become a certified renovator, a person must successfully complete an accredited renovator course. Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children. To protect against this risk, in 2008 the EPA issued the rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning in April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Until that time, EPA recommends that anyone performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, childcare facilities and schools follow lead-safe work practices. All contractors should follow these three simple procedures: Contain the work area, minimize dust, and clean up thoroughly. The final rule, 40CFR, part 745, can be viewed at Certification training classes can be found by logging on to

TEANAWAY SUBAREA PLAN • West Fork Flats: American Forest Land Company’s 46,000-acre landholding in the Teanaway River Valley has been targeted for a 1,000-acre self-contained community, dubbed West Fork Flats, to be grown with homes, shopping outlets, public works, and a professional services or research and development-based economy.

Amended building codes in effect July 2010

WASHINGTON STATE HORSE PARK: A 112-acre equestrian facility sited in Cle Elum, expected to embrace an indoor arena the size of a football field, parking for 300 cars and 79 RVs, four barns to house up to 320 horses, six outdoor rings, a large pen for stock (calves), and a cross-country event course. Estimated cost of the project at buildout: $15 million. First Phase ($3.5 million) is expected to be complete in August 2010, in time for the Horse Park’s soft opening.

The Washington State Building Code Council has adopted the 2009 editions of six codes, with noted amendments. Those codes are the International Building, Residential, Mechanical, and Fire Codes, the Uniform Plumbing Code, and the Washington State Energy Code. Amended codes go into effect July 1, 2010. The Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code has been repealed, as has the Washington State Historic Building Code. Pro-


visions formerly found in the Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code are now located in the International Residential Code, the International Mechanical Code and the International Building Code, as appropriate. The Historic Building Code has been replaced by the International Existing Buildings Code, as adopted and amended by WAC 51-50-480000. For more information and a look at the amendments, logon to

EASTON RIDGE LAND COMPANY • Marian Meadows: A one-square mile housing development, proposed for up to 443-units near I-90 Exit 70, Easton. DESERT CLAIM WIND FARM: A 95-turbine wind farm located on 5,200-acres just 12-miles northwest of Ellensburg. Estimated cost of the project: $330 million.


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reclaiming wood, stone & steel Helps preserve the environment

STEEL AND IRON has been recycled since well before the current push for ‘green’ building standards. However, in the hands of artist Cletus Samuelson, the material can show up in some unique forms like this lariat handrail. LYN DERRICK PHOTO

Treasure what you have; that’s a traditional value inherited from grandparents who grew up in the depression years – and goes even further back to the pioneering ancestors who founded our land. If those ancestors have been rolling in their graves during the past few decades of “build up and teardown,” just to build up and teardown again – they’d be happy to see the current “green” inspired trend toward preserving and using what we have. Things like 250-year-old pier beams. “I got those in Toronto,” said Jim di Donato, who recovers and recycles old wood in various forms, like this one. “We think they’re from around 1750,” he said. Flash-forward to 2010, and the Toronto pier beams, in the hands of craftsmen like di Donato, are “reclaimed” to become unique flooring, countertops and furniture in modern homes. In one of those homes (should the owner be so lucky), those pier beams might be joined by a fireplace mantle made out of a beam taken from a 1879 San Francisco building, or floors hand-hewn from wood formerly used to build an old Boise, Idaho brothel. And it’s not just about being old. The quality of the wood is very high, too. “Anything from a 100 years ago or more is high quality because it came from old growth trees,” said di Donato, “and the hardness is so much greater.” This “something old is new again” is part of the new build green movement, an effort to use what we have as a way of preserving the environment. “It’s not ending up in a landfill,” said di Donato. “It’s not being burned, or ending up dumped in a pile out in the woods somewhere.” Often the wood isn’t trucked long distances either – another plus for building green. “An architect might call us with a specific request for a certain species of wood,” said di Donato. “and they’ll say they want it to be within a 100 mile radius of Seattle.” Putting the mileage qualifier on the request helps that builder meet his building green goals. “It’s makes a smaller car-


A FEW YEARS AGO, this much coveted fireplace mantle (made from a beam taken from a 1879 San Francisco building) probably would have ended up on the garbage heap. LYN DERRICK PHOTO

bon footprint,” he explained. “They’re not using as much gas,” said Linda Mrsic, who owns a stoneworks company with her husband Josip. Geologically speaking, stone or granite has been around longer than wood. So using stone is definitely making use of what we have. However, stone and granite were latecomers to the green movement according to Mrsic. “Because so much granite came from overseas,” she explained, “it wasn’t considered green because they said they couldn’t monitor how it was quarried. So they didn’t know how it impacted the environment where it came from.” Now that green standards have been set, however, quarries (wherever they are), know that if they want to sell in certain markets they have to provide environmental impact verifications. Much of the stone currently quarried meets green standards, and once it gets into Josip Mrsic’s hands it could become a granite countertop or backsplash for a bath or kitchen. Plus Josip makes sure every piece gets used, even the scraps, sometimes in a big way. “Look at this,” Linda said pointing to a photograph. “This homeowner wanted her kitchen backsplash to look like Mt. St. Helen. Josip chiseled this out of a scrap of soapstone.” Modern machinery can’t do something like that. Plus, hand-chiseling means a smaller carbon foot print, too. After 25 years as a homebuilder, Jerry Martens caught the “reclaiming” bug, too. He said the ability to take what he called “product” from a home site and create something for the home itself was one of the things that attracted him to this type of green building. From those natural materials, Martens makes things like mantels, siding and paneling. He’s used material as rare to this area as Sequoia or redwood trees – and as common as deadwood from fires. “At the Simpson building, the last skyscraper built in Bellevue,” Martens said, “they removed two Sequoia trees. They have those in California but it’s rare for here.”

By Lyn Derrick

MANTLES MADE FROM reclaimed wood become art pieces in their own right. Here they’re paired with an example of the metal art Cletus Samuelson fashions from scraps of iron and steel. LYN DERRICK PHOTO

Even something as tragic as a forest fire can be turned to good – in the hands of these reclaiming craftsmen. Martens has done just that with wood from the Elk Heights fire, which occurred a few years ago. “Deadwood makes some of the most beautiful items,” he said. So the Sequoia and deadwood, which might have been burned or left to rot just a few years ago, are now transformed and leading new lives in some lucky homeowners’ houses. You can’t leave steel out when talking about recycled or reclaimed materials. “Steel is probably the first and foremost material ever recycled,” said metal artists, Cletus Samuelson. “It’s been recycled ever since the first mills were started at the beginning of this country.” Samuelson, a former steel fabricator, uses steel and scrap iron to create things like balcony panels, door hardware, gates, sculptures and other artwork. For example, using what he refers to as “odds and ends” he created a steel lariat handrail in one home. All of this reclaimed material has some kind of story. Some of it known and can be told – some of it too buried in time. And some of the stories can be very close to the heart. “Sometimes people bring wood from their grandfather’s barn in,” di Donato said, “and we’ll make it into furniture or flooring. Then they have a piece of their family history in their home.” Even if it doesn’t come from grandfather’s barn, the story behind these recycled materials is a big part of their appeal. So much so that Martens attaches a plate to his creations recording where the material came from and when it was reclaimed. Besides creating beauty from wood, stone and steel, preserving pieces of history, and working in a way that helps the environment, the craftsmen who give new life to these materials have the satisfaction of knowing they’re taking something that could have been destroyed – and transforming it into something that others can enjoy – for perhaps another 100 years.


cow power may provide electricity to many homes Imagine collecting what naturally falls from the tail end of a cow, several cows actually, and collecting it in an underground concrete tank. Now heat that waste up to 100 degrees and the bacteria in the tank will decompose the waste, producing methane to fuel engines, which sends electricity to local power grids. Except for the part about imagining cow waste heated to 100 degrees, it sounds like a pretty good idea. Plus, it’s an idea capable of producing enough electricity to power a significant number of homes. It’s done with digesters and more than 100 dairies around the country are participating in a study of the process. If the waste from the tail end of one half of all Washington dairy cows were run through digesters, up to 25 megawatts of electricity would be produced, an amount that would serve 25,000 households, according to Washington State University research. Some say this is a way for dairy farmers to make money, solve the problems of odor and groundwater contamination associated with large dairies, and provided electrical power from a renewable, non-fossil fuel source. For farmers, this could be the beginning of a green energy business, plus it has the potential of providing electrical power to

whole housing developments. In Vermont, Green Mountain Power has plans to power about 250 homes from the manure of about 1,200 dairy cows at Westminster Farms. The dairy farm will receive a fixed price per kilowatt-hour to ensure that the project remains profitable, the electric company says. “Not only does this allow Green Mountain Power to provide low cost alternative energy to their customers, but it also gives the farm a much needed revenue boost,” said Vermont Governor, Jim Douglas. “The revenue stream from producing milk and electricity will help ensure the viability of the farm for future generations of our family,” Shawn

By Lyn Derrick

Goodell, owner of Westminster Farms, added. In Washington state, however, plentiful hydropower, which keeps electricity rates low, is an obstacle to cow power because it makes the sale of power produced by cows less profitable. But, farmers can make money by selling the solid byproduct produced in the process. It’s doesn’t stink anymore, looks like soil and can be used for things like peat moss replacement for nurseries. And the byproduct has the potential of producing a liquid fertilizer. This liquid fertilizer is more than 99 percent pathogen-free, and unlike standard fertilizer (which comes from petroleum) – it’s renewable. The main barriers are expensive transportation costs, and use of the fertilizer is sometimes hampered by perception problems since it is produced from cow waste. WSU is heavily involved in research related to this and many other bio-fuel technologies. Professors there presented Beyond Waste: Beneficial Recovery of Fuels and Resources from Organic Materials in June of last year. “Beyond Waste” is the Department of Ecology’s goal to "eliminate wastes and toxics whenever they can and use the remaining wastes as resources. Cow power could do just that.

Online database of WA incentives for renewables, efficiency

Washington, along with many states, is on the bow wave of the ‘Green Tsunami’ sweeping the country. The U.S. Dept. of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy publishes an online database listing, by state, incentives and policies for renewables and efficiency. Logging on to reveals a wealth of information including financial incentives, rules and regulations, and programs and initiatives.

EXAMPLE: Washington is offering qualifying solar industrialists a 43-percent reduction on the state’s Business and Occupation Tax (B&O). Senate Bill 5111, signed in May 2005, created a reduced B&O tax rate for Washington manufacturers and wholesale marketers of solar-electric (photovoltaic) modules or silicon components of those systems. The reduced B&O tax rate of 0.2904-percent is 40percent lower than the standard manu-

facturing B&O tax rate of 0.484-percent. In May 2009, Washington passed Senate Bill 6170, effective July 1, 2009. This bill reduced the B&O tax rate to 0.275-percent, effective October 1, 2009. This tax rate is 43-percent lower than the standard manufacturing B&O tax rate. This reduced tax rate applies to manufacturers of photovoltaic modules, solar grade silicon, silicon solar wafers, silicon solar cells, thin film solar devices or compound semicon-

ductor solar wafers to be used exclusively in solar energy systems. Businesses claiming the credit under this program are required to file annual reports with the Washington Department of Revenue (DOR), detailing employment, wages, and health and retirement benefits. The DOR must conduct a study from existing sources of data and report the impacts of this incentive to the Washington State Legislature by December 1, 2013.

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Rootin’ for root cellars In the 21st Century

What is a root cellar? A root cellar is a place where you can store fresh produce from a garden for several months if you’d like. Technically, it’s supposed to use the soil’s natural insulation for cooling and proper humidity, because, to work properly a root cellar must maintain a temperature of 32 - 40 degrees F and a humidity level of 85 - 95 percent. The temperature (if it’s cool enough without freezing) slows the release of ethylene gas and inhibits microorganisms from growing so the vegetables don’t decompose. The humidity being kept high prevents the loss of moisture because of evaporation. Your veggies shouldn’t have that “withered” look. Modern man has options because the neat thing about building a root cellar is that you can make one out of an existing basement or a new home’s basement. The best location in a basement is a northeast corner. Remember that you can always insulate any pipes or ductwork to keep the heat out and only two walls need to be built. If you prefer, build a “detached” root cellar or there is always the possibility of digging into a side hill to build one, too. Another simple option is to bury containers such as metal garbage cans or barrels, leaving 4” exposed at the top, heap earth around the circumference and cover the lid with straw or mulch and a sheet of plastic to keep it dry. It is not recommended that you build a root cellar from pressure treated wood or in a garage. Make sure you can easily get to your root cellar when the snow falls or the ground freezes. That’s why if you already have a basement or are in the process of building a home, it might behoove you to build one in the basement. Most folks have their contractor build solid walls in the corner of the basement with an access door. The best root cellars are built with these guidelines in mind Temperature stability is accomplished at about 10 feet deep. Be sure not to dig near a large tree as the roots can not only make for difficult digging, but they will eventually grow and crack your cellar walls. Wooden shelves are superior to metal, as wood doesn’t conduct heat and cold as fast as metal. Shelves should stand at least 1-3” away from the walls so that the air will circulate and minimize airborne mold. Install a thermometer (for temperature) and a hygrometer (for humidity) inside your completed root cellar and check it frequently. The vent pipe going outside is for regulating the temperature inside. It can be closed to prevent freezing and opened on autumn nights to get the


ROOT CELLARS. Two vents (#1) create a siphon effect so you can regulate the flow of air. Make your walls short enough to leave a gap (1/4” to 1/8”) at the top of the wall rather than reaching the floor joists upstairs (#2). Basement floors are often damp, so consider using composite deck material instead of wood for the bottom wall plate (#3). Insulate with rigid foam (#4) instead of traditional fiberglass, but be prepared to put a moisture barrier on it if required by law. It must be moisture resistant to work. Illustration courtesy of Mother Earth News and Len Churchill

inside temperature down. The preferred flooring for a detached root cellar is packed soil. It can be covered with sand and gravel too. Then you can simply wet it to control the internal humidity. Concrete works well and is practical as the flooring in a basement root cellar. Temperature, airflow and humidity Probably the most important things to remember when you build a root cellar are temperature, venting for airflow and maintaining the proper humidity. Just be sure to close the vents so it doesn’t freeze inside either. A positive factor related to digging into a hillside is the potential for facing the root cellar to the south for optimal sunlight during the cold winter months. Easily, the optimum root cellar is built in to your basement, which makes it possible to get fresh veggies everyday without getting cold going outside. In a basement root cellar choose a corner, and the exterior walls will create perfect interior temperatures plus require only two new walls to be built and insulated. It’s also good to select a location with the highest outside soil height and a northern exposure. If you are lucky enough to have a perfect spot you can have your contractor build it for you. If there are windows in your existing structure, you can stick a piece of plywood or any solid panel, with the outside vents, where the window was. Although you should build a wooden framework for the walls and doorway, it doesn’t need to be as beefy as a load-bearing wall for a house; still it must be secured at the top and bottom. When cutting the wall studs to length, be sure

to leave a minimum of 1/8 to ¼ of an inch gap at the top for airflow. That way, there is no trouble when tilting the wall into position either. Secure the wall with 3 ½ inch #10 screws driven up through the top plate and bottom edge of the floor joists. Drive a softwood wedge (dabbed with glue) into the gap before putting in the screws. Because basement floors are sometimes damp, you might consider using a composite deck material for the bottom wall plate. Cut and nail it just like wood. In fact composite won’t add any musty smells if it gets wet. You can use construction adhesive and concrete nails/screws to hold the plate securely. Instead of traditional fiberglass insulation, why not put in rigid foam sheets? Fiberglass has no ability to resist mold growth, but rigid foam will. Be sure to insulate the ceiling of your root cellar, too. That will prevent warmth coming down from heated rooms. You also need to cover the vent pipes with a screening material to keep out rodents and insects. Plan to stock your new root cellar as late in the season as possible. 1. Always shake off loose dirt, rather than washing it off your produce. You don’t want to add any wetness. 2. Some veggies like potatoes, winter squashes and onions should be kept in warm temperatures for a few days before being put into cold storage. This helps to “cure” them, but they shouldn’t be in direct sunlight ever. 3. Handle all vegetables with care. Even slightly rough treatment might cause bruising, undetectable to your eyes, which begins decomposition. 4. Some fruit “breathes” and needs to be wrapped in paper of some kind to retard the release of ethylene gas. This is especially true of apples and pears. 5. Vegetables piled together will create heat; so accelerated spoilage can be expected. Be sure they are placed on wooden shelves close to the floor and rotated often. 6. Check all veggies in your root cellar and remove any with signs of rot (use them if possible). 7. If you choose to build a basement root cellar, remember that cabbages and turnips usually release a disagreeable odor that will permeate the house. Those should definitely be stored in a detached root cellar (or use them quickly). 8. Think carefully about where you place veggies in your root cellar. The driest, warmest air is near the ceiling and more humid air is lower and farther from the door. Either method you choose to build a root cellar will provide fresh vegetables during those cold winter months - and just think - you won’t even have to drive to town to get them from a supermarket.


Root cellars were built in an era before refrigerators were invented, so with the onset of electricity and supermarkets, which have fresh produce all year round, it seems modern man has drifted away from building a root cellar. But, since the recent economic crunch, it appears root cellars are becoming more and more popular. After all, a root cellar allows you to reap the harvest from your own garden all year long, or go to a local Farmer’s Market if you’re a non-gardener and stock it with fresh produce to be used through the year.

By Janie McQueen




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Green foundation built at Snoqualmie Pass Builder says it’s first in upper kittitas count In January 2009, an avalanche charged down the Summit East ski slope at Snoqualmie Pass destroying 81-year-old Norm Craven’s home. Nine months later, in September, his son Greg, a local contractor headquartered at the Pass, put the finishing touches on his dad’s new foundation. According to a consultant on the work site, the technology Greg employed to build the foundation is 50 years old – but it will likely cut Norm’s heating bill by more than half. “Dad’s home will have three floors, all of them designed for living quarters, including the ground floor around which we’re walling with what looks like concrete blocks – but they’re not.” In this story, we’ll call the new technology ‘green block.’ What’s Green Block? According to the manufacturer, a single green block measures one-foot by one-foot by two-feet, much larger than a conventional concrete block. “It’s composed of a proprietary material with all natural ingredients,” Greg said. “Basically, it’s specially graded raw wood shavings and chips, which are neutralized, mineralized, and then bonded together with Portland cement. Wood comes from sawmill byproducts and recycled wood from building and post-construction waste.” Greg said the green block is lightweight, porous, durable – and that carpenter ants and termites hate it, as does fungus. “It’s 100-percent recyclable,” he said. “It has no toxic elements in it. The reason insects don’t like it is because the sugar is processed out of the wood before it’s blended with Portland cement. It’s also freeze-thaw resistant, non-combustible, sound

absorptive, and insulating. “I’m going to install radiant floor heating, too, and when I’m done, I’m looking at cutting my dad’s heating bill down by more than half. Green block doesn’t pass heat. I’ve known some homeowners who’ve had to scale back their boilers because of it.” Who Invented Green Block? Greg said green block was developed in Europe, where one out of every four homes is built with it. “After World War II,” explained Redmond’s Karl Sodamin, a builder who has used green block, “there was a lot of wood scattered about. Austria developed a use for that wood, when they invented the green block. In Europe, though, they manufacture it in three-by-six-foot sheets. Sound barriers in America, the big walls you find on interstates that pass through populated areas – is made from the same stuff. It’s an excellent soundproofer, used in railroad stations, tunnel entrances, subway stations, and shunting yards.” Asked why America was so far behind the curve catching on to the innovation, Sodamin replied dryly, “I don’t know.” More on Green Block How can anything made with wood chips and cement provide the kind of foundation strength needed in an avalanche zone? “It’s as strong structurally – or stronger – than concrete blocks, and less dense,” Greg said. “It’s about 75-percent the weight of a concrete block. It’s even used for retaining walls. The beauty of it is that it saves time on the job. You don’t have to build the forms for pouring concrete, and you don’t have to take the forms down and clean them up when you’re done.” Green block, as Greg explained it, is actually a combination of a reinforced concrete core faced on one or both sides with a layer of special material, which will take any size nails or screws. “If you picture a single green block as a rectangle, half of it is filled with insulator. The other half starts out empty, until you run electrical conduit, plumbing, and rebar through it. Then you fill it with a concrete mix of sand and pea gravel, which keeps the concrete soupy so it’ll backfill spaces between blocks. Pipes are encased in foam before running them through green block, so you can pull the pipe out if you have to.” Green Block = Insulation The insulator for each green block fills half the block – like a glove. The material that comprises the insulator is called rockwool, which looks like what florists use to pincushion flowers in an arrangement. “It’s great green stuff,” Greg said. “No formaldehyde or anything toxic, and comes in different thicknesses. The thickness we’re using (three-inches) carries an R21 insulation rating, and a four-hour fire rating.”

KARL SODIMAN (L) and Greg Craven (R) kneel behind a traditional concrete block (R) and the green block they’re using (L). Embedded in the green block you can see two JIM FOSSETT PHOTO chunks of rockwool insulation.


By Jim Fossett

Finishing Touches After Greg finished the foundation, he moved to the interior. “You can lay drywall right onto green block, or you can use American clay, like I did. You mix the clay up like a grout and spread it on. With the right paddle, you can get a really artistic stucco look out of it.” Greg said the other thing about green block, from the perspective of a builder, is its ‘forgiving nature.’ “You can cut it with a handsaw, a recipro-

GREEN BLOCKS ALONG THE TOP length of a foundation wall. Note the chunks of rockwool insulation that fit like a glove into the left half of the blocks shown above. The empty half will be filled with concrete. You can see the rebar, and at the top of the photo you can see a loop of elecJIM FOSSETT PHOTO trical conduit.

cating saw, an electric chain saw, even a skill saw,” he said. “There’s little glitches with the use of any new product like this, so being able to cut it with conventional saws is a big plus.” Greg said he knows of two other structures in Washington using green block: a home in Spokane and a winery in Prosser. Double Walls n’ Lights Greg used double-wall construction for the top two floors of the home, and then chose what kind of lights would provide the most in energy savings. “Basically, you double-frame with two-by-fours – 24-inches on center, instead of 16. You plywood the exterior and wrap with Tyvek® and then fill the outside wall with foam insulation. “There’s a gap between the exterior and interior walls you leave empty. That serves as a soundproof and vapor barrier, and a place to run electrical conduit and plumbing. The inside wall you line with standard insulation, and then sheetrock it in.” Greg said with the LED lights he plans to use for lighting the home, along with the savings the green block technology will bring to the heating bill, his dad ought to be paying a fraction of his monthly power costs. “Everyone wants to go with the new mercury lights,” he said. “You know, those are the ones that look like a curly French fry. But it takes three LED’s to consume the power of just one of those.”


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Pellet stoves & chimneys You just purchased a new pellet stove and are wondering, because of its burning efficiency if you even need to clean the chimney? The answer to that one is an emphatic – yes. It’s true that modern pellet stoves produce far less creosote than a regular wood-burning stove, but they still will produce a bit. So, you must keep the chimney inspected and cleaned at least once each year. Any wood-burning heating source (basically a “solid-fuel” heating appliance) will produce creosote. Pellets available for purchase by the bag are much cleaner to use and they can be made out of almost any sweepings. Recycling what was once a waste product is a wonderful thing to do, and the finished product is no bigger than the size of rabbit pellets (feed). Pellet stoves can be much more efficient than regular woodburning stoves, but for you to achieve that efficiency you must adhere to a regular cleaning program for the stove. Daily checking There is a byproduct from any

solid-fuel heating appliance, called “fly-ash” because it is very fine. Regular maintenance is a must, because the ash might result in airflow and chimney blockages. Inside the burn-pot, air intake (air-flow) holes can easily become clogged. That clogging can also occur with “clinkers,” which are the result of fine ash heated to the melting stage and re-solidifying. You can maintain the efficiency of your stove by checking for blockages each day.

sawdust that might clog the pelletfeed auger (make sure the stove is cold and you have the appropriate vacuum). This usually needs to be done every two months or so. Another task that can be done every two months (when the stove is in constant use) is to check the stove vent for fly ash and creosote. Any build-up of creosote can cause a chimney fire when it ignites. Excess creosote can be caused by using impure pellets and pellets that are a bit damp.

Regular or weekly cleaning The ash traps can be cleaned every few days, depending on the fuel you’re buying. Some stoves have very large ash traps that still must be emptied every week. Refer to your stove’s instructions.

After the winter burning is done Remove all fuel (pellets) in the hopper and feed system to avoid problems later. Check the gaskets on stove doors, as their condition will determine if fumes come into your home. Make sure to give the stove a complete “spring cleaning.” Check the stove owner’s manual for exact directions. The air inlet should be checked for any blockages and again just before lighting a fire in the stove.

Less frequent maintenance Get to know your stove and you’ll instinctively know when to keep the fly ash traps (behind the burn pot) cleaned out. Usually, a cleaning every month or so will keep ash from clogging the exhaust system. Also, it’s a good idea to vacuum

‘Stuff and gunk’ causes chimney fires Otherwise known as creosote buildup Just because you have a new wood-burning stove, doesn’t mean you won’t have a chimney fire. There are a lot of reasons, not just age or long-time use, for a stove to produce creosote. What is creosote? Creosote is a buildup of flammable stuff and gunk on the inner walls of your stove, fireplace and chimney. It’s caused by smoke from volatile gases, unburned wood particles, unburned ash, fly-ash, etc., that exits through your chimney. It’s also corrosive when left on these surfaces. If your “draft” (airflow) is clogged or blocked, these unburned particles and gases can condense, combine and build up on the walls of your chimney. Those build-ups become a fire hazard, are extremely dangerous and can cause a chimney fire. I’ve had three chimney fires this winter, since I installed an insert. However, because I was awake and knew that my chimney was a strong one, I let it burn out (with much nervous monitoring) after


By Janie McQueen

cold if you decide to clean them. If you can’t stand it and clean the doors when the glass is still warm, a paste made of ashes can be applied or just use a dry cloth. To help prevent dust getting in the hopper, place the pellets for the next filling in a mesh bag, take it outside and shake.

Maintenance shortcuts Make sure the glass doors are

cutting off as much airflow as possible. Steam also helps burn out a chimney fire; so don’t be afraid to put water straight on the flames of a fire. Since I had those three fires within three days, I learned (you never stop learning) a little bit more about having a wood burning insert instead of an open fireplace. There is a lot to learn about an insert, which is similar in many ways to a wood-burning stove. For example: 1. Even though my insert is rated and listed by the government, I still don’t have the chimney flue damper connected because of its length. It can never be dampened-down the way I have it installed. 2. You can sleep easy at night when you close off airflow to the stove. Most fires occur the next morning because wood that was left in the stove suddenly receives airflow when you open the doors to stoke it – and that’s what starts a chimney fire. 3. It’s best to open the airflow (air-intake) drafts first, then, in a bit, open the doors. 4. Never crack the doors to boost a fire starting up. 5. Monitor the ash build-up inside the stove. Which wood you use determines how often you clean it. But remember, too much ash build-up causes decreased airflow, and that is a creosotecreating hazard. And when you do get around to

cleaning out the ash, you can easily have a chimney fire from the sudden jump in airflow. Keeping the ash build-up cleaned out also improves the efficiency of your stove. 6. Never put in a piece of wood that has a lot of pitch in it. (High pitch-wood should generally feel heavier than the other wood.) 7. Most wood takes 10 months to season or cure. Green (unseasoned) wood will give off more creosote. 8. Chemicals are for sale (powder, wood and log), which are super for keeping the creosote build-up minimized. However, just because you use the creosote destroying chemicals, you can still have a chimney fire from closing the airflow on your stove down so much. 9. Did you know that wood cut during the winter produces more creosote? Get your wood before it saps up. If you can, clean your chimney as often as it needs it. That could be as often as once a month for a wood-burning stove used continuously through the winter. It also depends on how long your chimney is, the shorter the better. Creosote builds up worse as the smoke cools down. Most folks make sure they can reach inside their chimney easily when it is installed, or the put in a “clean-out” place. But, no matter what, you should have your chimney cleaned and inspected for cracks and leaks a minimum of once each year.


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By Janie McQueen

Getting a well drilled Before doing anything about getting a well drilled (if you qualify for a permit), you should visit and carefully determine a few things about your well-drilling contractor. It’s important, after your well has been drilled (water found, of course), that you should inspect the well before the contractor removes any equipment. Check your well’s depth by tying a weight securely onto string or rope before you measure the string. Compare this measurement to the

well-drillers report. Be sure to ask how many gallons per minute (GPM) the well has, what distance the water level dropped, and how quickly the level recovered. Make sure the well is capped and secure. The cap should always be a minimum of 6” above ground level. Ask if the well was disinfected. Get a copy (your copy) of the “well record.” The well drilling contractor is required to give a copy to the owner. Keep it safe and with your house/property deed for future reference or owners.

Maintaining your well-water system There are several ways you can help your existing well and the most important one is to have your well properly maintained. What is well maintenance? That’s a good question, because most folks don’t have a clue about what might be a good wellwater maintenance program. So, it’s a good idea to have your well checked out before something major happens and there are indeed several things that can happen to your well-water. The first thing you should do is to have your well water tested by a credible source. Then, there are a few other things to take note of: 1. Never try to service your own well. Use a qualified professional with specialized equipment and techniques. By removing a well cap in a service attempt (even just to check your well), you could be innocently introducing bacteria or other contaminants. 2. Preventive maintenance is less costly in the long run. A recent poll showed that 80 percent of responders, who owned existing wells, had never had their wells serviced or any well maintenance program. 3. NEVER pour bleach into a well – even if it’s for cleaning, deodorizing or otherwise. There is no amount of cleaning or flushing with water that will eliminate


the “bleach smell” or taste. 4. Do your homework before getting your system serviced. 5. Understand the problem. 6. Find any other wells on your property and have them sealed by a professional. 7. Make sure your well system is clean before you get the water tested. Have your system cleaned by a professional before it is serviced. There are some simple steps you can take to maintain your well: • Always use a certified or licensed outfit to service your well. • An annual well maintenance check, including bacterial test, is recommended. • Keep hazardous materials and chemicals away from your well. • Periodically check the well cap on top of the well casing to make sure it’s in good repair. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents. • Allow a safe distance from your well to the buildings, waste systems or chemical storage facilities. • Never allow any “back siphoning” when mixing pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals. Simply don’t put the hose inside the contaminated tank or container. • When landscaping, keep the

top of your well at least one foot above the ground. Slope the ground away from your well to help proper drainage. • Keep all your well paperwork together and in a safe place. • Be aware of changes in your well water. Any source of drinking water should be checked every time there is a change in taste, odor, appearance, or when it is serviced. • When your well is at the end of its serviceable life (it should last with more than 20 years of usage) be sure to have it properly sealed after the new system is finished. An annual check-up should include: A flow test to determine the systems output as well as a check of the water level before and during (if possible). Pump motor performance with a check on the amp load, grounding, and line voltage. Pressure tank and pressure switch contact. A test will be performed to determine the general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.) An inspection of well equipment to assure that it is sanitary and meets local codes.

A test of your water for coliform bacteria, nitrates and anything else of local concern should also be done. Other typical tests done are for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides and other problem causing water constituents. Additional tests can be recommended if your well water appears cloudy or oily, bacterial growth is visible on fixtures or water treatment devices are not working as they should. A clear, written report should be delivered to you following your well’s check-up. It will explain results, recommendations, and shall include all laboratory and other test results. Annual inspection and maintenance will help protect your family, your water system, and your initial investment. You should have enough information now to properly care for your most treasured commodity – water. It might seem like a lot to think about, but like that old cliché says – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


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See the energy you’re wasting with infrared technology

By Jim Fossett

and doorframes, and even stretches along the home’s old wooden floor, where the floor meets the wall. Empty space around windows once reserved for antique window weights were an obvious troublemaker. As one might guess, part of an energy audit includes a close look at the home’s heat source. In this case, it was an old coal-burning furnace converted to propane. In less than fifteen minutes, Sims discovered two propane leaks with his gas leak detector. A service technician was immediately summoned and the problem was corrected. In the process, the technician found a third leak. As Sims explained, a significant portion of an energy audit is devoted to a visual inspection of the structure’s interior and exterior, including chimney, soffits, foundation, roofing, attic and crawlspace. If the homeowner has blueprints, Sims said auditors can use those to troubleshoot for energy inefficiencies. With an exhaustive visual inspection, Sims says he sometimes discovers water leaks, an energy waste of another sort. ROB SIMS tweaks his $4,000 infrared camera, before starting with a home energy audit. JIM FOSSETT PHOTO

Wave of the future: Home Energy Audits Pricey infrared cameras in the hands of a certified home energy auditor are providing Americans with a first time glimpse – depending on the season – of the warmed or cooled air leaking out of their homes and draining their pocket books. At least one Upper County resident is happy about that. He had been heating his crawlspace for over six years, until an infrared photo exposed the problem. What is a home energy audit? How is it done? How much does it cost? Those questions were answered by Cle Elum’s Rob Sims, a certified home energy auditor who visited Cle Elum early in 2010, to conduct a complimentary energy audit of a residence built in 1914. As you can imagine – he found lots of leaks. The 1-2-3’s of a Home Energy Audit Sims bag of tricks consists of a commercial-class two-way fan the size of an automobile tire, a $4,000 laser-equipped, infrared camera that looks like a rubberized flashlight handle with a four-inch LCD screen mounted on one end, a toolbox, a gas leak detector, and a plastic sheet with a circular, drawstring-ed opening that allows him to block off a doorway with the help of an adjustable aluminum frame. Into the opening Sims positions the fan. Once all the other doors and windows are shut, he uses the fan to depressurize the house, creating exaggerated inbound drafts. With the camera, he can spot air leaking in from around windowsills and doorframes, for example. Cold air shows up on the infrared camera’s LCD in black. Heat shows up in shades of red, pink, and yellow. With the fan cranked to the desired speed and his infrared camera in hand, Sims can inspect a good sized home in about four hours. The laser on his camera he uses to locate drafty cracks and crevices from a distance and provide him with temperature readings of the target area. In the Cle Elum residence he audited, temperature readings in nooks and crannies of the living room varied as much as 20 degrees. Nasty drafts discovered came from areas around an old fireplace, windowsills


Cost of an Energy Audit Cost for home energy audits vary. Puget Sound Energy, for instance has a program called HomePrint that provides incentives to homeowners and auditors as well. In general, you can get the job done for as little as $250 on up. Average is $350. In most cases, the auditor provides the homeowner with an extensive report and lengthy debrief, which includes dramatic reproductions of images caught by the infrared camera. As Sims explained, in many cases, plugging the energy leaks in a home is a simple job the homeowner often can remedy. In the case of the century-old home he audited in Cle Elum, caulk or molding was enough to block the nasty drafts around windowsills and doorframes. Word of Caution No cause for alarm, but as Sims says, in this day and age homeowners are susceptible to scammers in the home energy audit business, who may use the technology to sell you a new furnace, for example, when you don’t really need one. The Puget Sound Energy HomePrint program, Sims says, is regularly vetted and watchdogged. Under the HomePrint program, energy auditors must qualify to service Puget Sound Energy homeowners requesting an audit. Today, Sims indicated there are 3,000 on Puget’s waiting list.

AN OLD STOVE PIPE, capped now, is shown to be a cold draft culprit. ROB SIMS PHOTO


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Brush on energy savings with paint Made with insulating ceramic microspheres We have NASA to thank for the insulation paint technology; and in the past few years several companies have developed these paint formulas for residential use. The technology uses ceramic additives to be mixed with paint. (Remember those space shuttle ceramic tiles?) You can purchase premixed insulation paint, or you can buy the insulation ceramic powder to mix with any interior or exterior paint that you choose. Since the insulated paint is thicker than standard paint, you should plan to use more paint to cover the surface you’re working on. However, the paint’s thickness fills in those cracks and imperfections in your walls eliminating the need to use primer. Cost of the additive is $11.95 per mix for one gallon of paint, so you need to add that amount in when estimating the overall cost of your project. The premixed paints are more expensive. Still this is likely to be one of the less expensive energy saving updates you can make on your home. How does it work? Each single ceramic microsphere is so small that it looks like a single grain of flour, (slightly thicker than a human hair) – according to HY-TECH, one of the paint manufacturers. When mixed into paint and applied to a wall or roof, these ceramic microspheres or beads shrink

By Lyn Derrick

Tax credits* for this type of energy saving update and others may be available. Visit for more information down tight as the water evaporates creating a tightly packed film of ‘thermos bottle’ like cells. This ceramic layer provides a thermal barrier, improved fire resistance, protection from harmful UV rays, repulsion of insects such as termites and protection from the destructive forces of weather. Also, since the beads are ceramic, their roundness causes them to act like ball bearings, rolling upon each other, thus allowing paint coatings to flow more easily. Additionally, the ‘scrubability’ of the paint is better than standard paint, and its tough ceramic shell increases its longevity – meaning you have to paint less often. In effect each bead is a miniature thermos bottle, a microscopic hollow vacuum that resists thermal conductivity and suppresses sound. According to Hy-Tech and Insuladd (another manufacturer), your energy savings depend on several factors including how many areas you apply coatings to, the number of coats, colors used (darker colors absorb more heat), type of construction, and the amount of ventilation. The two companies say if the paint is applied to the areas of your home that they recommend,

you’ll realize dramatic savings. Those savings range from about 20 to 50 percent depending on the area painted. Roofs tend to yield the biggest savings, with interior walls on the lower end, but still with substantial energy saving benefits. So much so, that insulated ceramic paint has been used by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration, Lockheed Aircraft, FEMA, U.S. Forestry Service, NASCAR and Hyatt Regency Hotels – just to name a few. * Under the IRS Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit, the law increases the tax credit rate to 30 percent of the cost of all qualifying improvements (up from 10 percent in previous years) and raises the maximum credit limit to $1,500 for improvements made in 2009 and 2010 (up from $500). Due to tax liability, credits claimed by a particular taxpayer and other factors, actual tax savings vary. Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify for these tax credits. Homeowners should check the manufacturer’s tax credit certification statement before purchasing or installing any improvements. The certification statement can be found on the manufacturer’s website or product packaging. Normally, a homeowner can rely on this certification. The IRS cautions the manufacturer’s certification is different from the Department of Energy’s Energy Star label, and not all Energy Star labeled products qualify for the tax credits.

Make your home ‘cold savvy’ Whether it’s old or new by Janie McQueen You can easily improve an existing or a new home’s energy efficiency. That’s right, come what may during the cold weather, there’s no reason why we should remain cold just to have heating costs lowered. Purchasing some modern “stuff” can easily combat anything that “Old Man Winter” throws at us. Take a quick look at these guidelines for an existing home or if you’re building a new home: First, check out your contractor’s buildings and references in person and on the site. Make sure to find out the record cold temperature in your area and make certain he knows what you could be facing. Don’t settle for cutting costs when it comes to cold weather. Caulk and seal windows and doors. If you can’t afford new ones and have older doors and windows


- sealing, caulking and weatherproofing them can make all the difference in the world. Use a caulking gun and caulk each window around the outer window frame. You’ll be amazed at how just doing that will keep cool air out and hot air in. While you have the caulking gun in your hand, seal up any other cracks you happen to find. Furnace and chimney check-up and cleaning should be done in the summer. Your furnace will run more efficiently with new filters and a good check-up each year. Have your chimney cleaned and at the same time have it inspected for cracks or leaks. Purchase a programmable thermostat. By simply turning down the heat during the day or at night, you might cut heating costs by 20 percent. Is your heat going through the roof? If your home has an attic,

make sure it is properly insulated with the correct R-factor. Your utility company may be able to offer you a special plan to help budget winter heating costs more efficiently. It never hurts to ask if you can spread payments over a 12-month period. Dress in layers and you can keep the heat to a minimum. Remember that ceiling fans aren’t just for summer. If you reverse the blades and keep it on the lowest speed, it can blow warm air down toward you. Not a bad idea to have one installed when you’re building a new house. Use energy from the sun during the day. Open curtains and blinds during a sunny day to help warm your home. When building a new home, have your windows (and house) built facing the most sun-

light. Make sure that plants around the house don’t block the sun. Close doors to unused rooms during the winter. Keep your registers or radiators clean. Dust acts like an insulating blanket and will trap the heat. Close the dampers on your fireplace (chimney) when it’s not in use. Insulation on all electrical outlets can help too. This is one of the most overlooked ways that cold air gets into your house. Simply remove the outlet covers and place the insulation pads (made specifically for them) underneath the covers. So easy, you can do it yourself. Insulating water pipes will help keep your pipes from freezing during the winter. Go ahead and insulate the hot water pipes too – you’ll be amazed at what an energy-saver this is as well. The foam stuff is very easy to use. One side is slit lengthwise so you can simply put it on and it comes in different pipe sizes. No tools are needed. An insulation blanket or wrap (sometimes available from power companies) on your hot water tank will help the water to stay hot longer.


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2010 Upper Kittitas County Builders Guide  

Resource guide for people considering building projects in the Upper Kittitas County region of Central Washington state. Includes contractor...

2010 Upper Kittitas County Builders Guide  

Resource guide for people considering building projects in the Upper Kittitas County region of Central Washington state. Includes contractor...