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JULY 27, 2009   

Your tax dollars at work

Today's installment of "buy local" involved me taking my car to Damper's Auto on W. 79th and Lorain instead of the place in Parma I've used previously. I figured I needed a brake job since one front wheel has been making noise as it turns. At 9 a.m. I left the keys with Rick and walked home down Lorain Avenue.

Insulating concrete forms for new buildingAt 73rd, where West End Lumber used to be, I saw this interesting construction site. I asked around and found out it's going to be a new Social Security office.

The most interesting part is the thick walls. They look to be 6-10" with thick plastic foam boards both inside and out. The little blue sign near the top of one wall identifies them as PolySteel Insulating Concrete Forms.

According to the PolySteel website these forms stay in place after being filled with concrete, resulting in a solid wall with an insulating value of R-30 to R-50. In terms of energy conservation this is hugely better than typical construction methods that use wood or steel framing and standard interior and exterior surfaces.

I'm encouraged to see our federal government setting a good example by building like this. My guess is that other builders, architects and their clients will be inspired to look at this and other energy-efficient building techniques, and we'll see more and more new ideas.

So this was an encouraging sign. When I got a call from Rick Dampers later I got more good news: the noise was caused by loose lug nuts on one wheel that was allowing it to wobble very slightly as it turned. No expensive brake job needed.

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