In The Know

Several California companies are among those honored this month in BuildingGreen’s 2009 Top 10 Green Building Products. The eighth annual awards recognize the most exciting products drawn from recent additions to the GreenSpec Directory and coverage in Environmental Building News.

“Our selections of the Top 10 Green Building Products represent a wide range of product types in many different application areas,” said BuildingGreen founder and executive editor Alex Wilson.

BuildingGreen’s Top-10 product selections are drawn from new additions to the company’s GreenSpec product directory. About 200 product listings have been added to the GreenSpec database during the past year.

“New products are being introduced all the time, making it a challenge for our staff to keep up,” said Wilson. “We also continue to come across products that have been on the market for years but were under our radar screen.”

Among this year’s honorees are four from California-based companies: The modular green classroom from San Francisco-based Project FROG; the GTX flywheel energy storage system from Chatswoth-based Pentadyne Power Corporation; a subsurface tree protection and stormwater system from San Francisco-based Deep Root Partners (pictured); and a mobile solar power generator from Atascadero-based Mobile Solar Power.

More information on all the winners is available at

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Vista-based EcoDog Inc. has earned the Greatest Gadget Award for its FIDO Home Energy Watchdog System at the CommNexus Gadget Fest 2009.

Set for launch later this year, the FIDO system is designed to give homeowners a comprehensive, room-by-room graphic overview of their energy use, complete with real-time utility charges and personalized saving tips based on individual usage patterns.

“Our goal at EcoDog is to help customers easily understand their energy consumption and lower their energy bills with our FIDO system,” said EcoDog founder Ron Pitt. “We were pleased that the judges and audience appreciated these benefits.”

The FIDO system consists of a PC software package along with hardware interface modules for the breaker panel and computer that provide data through existing home electrical wires. The system eliminates the need for additional wiring.

More information on the system and the award are available at

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The California Landscape Contractors Association will conduct a water management certification training and test for Southern California landscape industry professionals on Jan. 13 at Las Virgenes Municipal Water District headquarters in Calabasas.

"Intelligent outdoor water use is key to making the most of our limited water resources,” said John R. Mundy, LVMWD general manager. “CLCA certification can provide the public with a recognized standard of expertise when selecting a landscape contractor."

The California Department of Water Resources recently released an updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance to assist local governments in reducing water waste in landscapes. California's cities and counties have until Jan. 1 to adopt the updated ordinance or one that is "at least as effective".

This new regulation sets a specific water budget for affected new and existing landscapes based on regional climate and square footage. It also requires state-of-the-art water conservation for all new landscapes.

To enroll for the upcoming training and test, contact David Silva at (916) 830-2780 or Additional test dates and locations are available at

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The AIA California Council is offering architects continuing education courses online. These courses are an efficient way to access the resources needed for fulfilling disability access requirements mandated in California by SB 1608.

Upon completion of coursework, participants receive Continuing Education Credits approved by The American Institute of Architects, California Council. At the end of the course, a certificate indicating successful completion will be provided to include with the architect’s licensure renewal.

More details are available at

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Cali Bamboo, a San Diego-based manufacturer of green building materials for residential and commercial products made entirely from bamboo, has joined forces with the San Diego Habitat for Humanity. Cali Bamboo will provide $15,000 worth of flooring and fencing materials as well as volunteer employees to help build the final Jimmie Johnson Foundation house in El Cajon, as well as other area homes.

“The best part about working with Habitat for Humanity is that we’re actually able to be involved in the construction process and see our products being put towards helping people in need,” said Tanner Haigwood, COO and vice president of Cali Bamboo. “It’s a truly fulfilling experience and such a remarkable group of people.”

San Diego Habitat for Humanity was equally excited about the partnership.

“Many people don’t know that bamboo is not only durable, but also sustainable and renewable, which directly helps us in our continued efforts to build environmentally friendly homes,” said Bradford Bates, executive director for San Diego Habitat for Humanity. “It’s exciting to have Cali Bamboo as a partner in helping us achieve our goals.”

Meanwhile, Cali Bamboo has been named the area’s 14th fastest-growing privately held organization. The company debuted on the San Diego Business Journal’s annual list weeks after ranking as the 254th fastest company in Inc. Magazine’s coveted 2009 Inc. 500 report.

“It’s been a banner year for us to say the least, but there’s a great deal of potential for us to continue this momentum well into the future,” said Jeff Goldberg, CEO of Cali Bamboo.

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Irvine-based concrete roof tile manufacturer MonierLifetile is partnering with the California Energy Commission to educate building professionals on California Title 24 new building code requirements related to cool roofing.

In August, MonierLifetile hosted a seminar for more than 100 builders, architects and roofing contractors. The company has now made the seminar available to everyone online. The video of the seminar and accompanying brochure can be viewed or downloaded at

New code requirements for cool roofs in California will take effect Jan. 1 as part of California Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The educational video and brochure focus on current and future requirements for cool roofs in California.

“There’s a real need for building professionals to understand the intricacies of the code changes and how this will impact their new construction and re-roof projects,” said Chris Doelle, vice president for sales and marketing. “Our goal with this podcast is to share this data on cool roofs with the building community at large.”

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El Segundo-based interior merchandising firm, Pacific Dimensions, Inc. has partnered with KB Home in Northern California and Reno, Nev., completing models at three of the builder’s newest communities. These include Calabria in Reno, Riverbend in Stockton and North Haven in San Jose.

Each community incorporated the use of repurposed furniture moved over from existing KB models. PDI blended new furnishings and specified new finishes and colors to give the homes a fresh and exciting look. By reusing furniture, PDI was able to keep costs down for KB, while helping meet the builder’s sustainability goals within each community.

More information on PDI is available at

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In the Know is compiled by California Builder editor Greg Robertson. News about companies in the homebuilding industry can be sent to him at