Six Automated Window Systems and Five New Air Conditioners

Natural Ventilation for Modern Office Buildings

While traditional mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are still widely used, contemporary concerns for improving the environmental performance and “livability” of buildings has led to an increased interest in alternatives like natural ventilation and mixed-mode systems.

A major benefit of HVAC, particularly in deep plan and larger office buildings, is that they alleviate many of the problems associated with a naturally ventilated building such as noise, dust, insects, heavy winds, odors and uncomfortable temperatures.

However, there are some studies suggesting that a mixed-mode ventilation system of HVAC and natural ventilation, in combination with good passive design, can provide sufficient indoor air quality to keep occupants happy while reducing their reliance on mechanical air treatment.

Typically, a mixed-mode system operates in either of two modes and is best used for buildings’ perimeter spaces or for narrow planned buildings with good cross ventilation. The first is the natural ventilation mode that uses fresh external air from operable windows or dampers to cool the internal spaces and relies predominantly on the stack effect for hot air to be expelled through high-level exhausts. The second is the mechanical mode and sees the windows closed and the HVAC switched on and is used only when the external temperatures are too hot or too cold for natural ventilation, or when there is a heavy wind or rain.

Control of the operable windows can be manual or automatic and, in keeping with current trends towards automated buildings, we’re seeing more automated window systems come to the market that are compatible with Building Management Systems (BMS).

Some window manufacturers offer built-in automated systems that can be controlled by a BMS and that come with inputs for automated weather stations and sensors that detect smoke, rain, hail, temperature, wind, time, and smog. Others advertise that their products can be easily automated with add-on products like actuators and reed switches, and can also incorporate into a BMS.

These products render manual operation from building occupants—one of the most difficult-to-control influences on a building’s environmental impact—unnecessary, as the BMS detects when it is optimal to open and close windows and to operate the HVAC.

Some of the problems associated with the manual operation of a building’s HVAC and natural ventilation, like occupants leaving windows open with the HVAC on for example can, therefore, be avoided with automated mixed-mode air-conditioning.

Water and Lighting in a Greenhouse

Water and light are crucial to enjoying a thriving greenhouse. Here are a few helpful tips for installing drip irrigation and some advice on the best lighting for a greenhouse.

Water and light are essential to plants, and in a greenhouse you’ll have to provide both. There are several different watering methods to choose from: hand watering, capillary mats that bring water up from below, overhead watering, and drip irrigation that delivers water directly into each pot.

ts-200391680-001_vines-growing-in-greenhouse_s3x4A drip irrigation system is easy to lay out and is very cost-effective. It delivers small amounts of water over long periods of time, so plants stay uniformly moist. Installation is fairly simple:

Be sure the mainline that carries water into the greenhouse is sunk underground at least four feet, which is below the frost line, to make sure the water in the line doesn’t freeze.

Use a 3/4-inch poly pipe as the water supply line. Position it to run down the length of the bench.
From the main line, connect lateral lines to run between pots.

Set the system on a timer to ensure regular watering.

Once the water system is in place, you’ll need to address any lighting needs. Although fluorescent lights are popular, they help the gardener more than the plants. This type of lighting is good to work by, but plants need more light, especially in northern regions.

A high-pressure sodium bulb does a better job of simulating sunlight to stimulate plant growth. A 125-watt bulb gives off plenty of light when hung at least three feet above plants or seeds. This is a good distance to avoid heat burn.

Grow lights help to lighten shady spots and propagation areas in the greenhouse. What you are germinating or propagating determines how long you need to leave the lights on, usually an average of 12 to 16 hours each day. If you are growing tropical plants, you may need to set up grow lights if the plants don’t get at least eight hours of sun each day.

$500 Gift Card to Logee’s Greenhouses

 

Logee’s Storefront (Founded 1892)

In the quiet northeast corner of CT, century-old greenhouses are rooted into the landscape of the town, Danielson. Walking inside is like entering a jungle under glass. The greenhouses are home to 1200 varieties of tropical and sub-tropical plants. It is a feast for the senses as narrow paths lead you through 2.5 acres filled to the brim with gorgeous, rare and unusual plants. This fabulous collection of greenhouses is called Logee’s, named for William D. Logee who founded the company in 1892. One hundred and twenty-three years later, this business is still in the family, run now by William’s grandson, Byron, and his business partner, Laurelynn.

Here at Conservatory Craftsmen we have been lucky enough to have worked with the talented staff at Logee’s for a while and have filled numerous clients’ greenhouses and conservatories with their unusual and highly prized ornamental plants.

For this reason we are delighted to offer our new customers a $500 Gift Card to Logee’s Greenhouses.

How do you get this offer?

All you have to do to receive the offer is:
1) Schedule a conversation with Evan or Jim
2) Sign a contract with Conservatory Craftsmen within one year of our conversation

Schedule a Conversation with Jim or Evan now.

Building a conservatory is a tremendous commitment of time, energy, and resources. No one knows this better than us. Spend 30 minutes on the phone with us to understand the possibilities, test the chemistry, and scope out your project.

Conservatory Craftsmen is a family-owned company, and we take great pride in the crystal palaces that our clients love to live in.

Speak to us directly at 888-345-7915.

We look forward to answering all of your conservatory questions.

Logee’s – The Botanical Wonderland for Conservatory Owners

Hidden in an unassuming old building in rural CT is a treasure of botanical wonder. If you are directed to Logee’s you may stop, but if just passing by, you may not even notice, but behind the century-old façade of a rural farm home lies some of the most unusual and highly prized ornamental plants in the country.

Byron Martin, Logee’s Owner

Owned by Byron and Laurelynn Martin, the greenhouse was first started in 1882 by Bryon’s grandfather.

Byron worked in the greenhouse with his father and grandfather and eventually went off to school, not planning to return, but eventually heeded the call when his time came.

Horticulturalist, Jeff Ellsworth from New York City claims that most of the rare plants purchased by the NY Botanical come from Logee’s. They work the world market to find both rare plants and improved varieties of old friends.

The last time I visited, Byron welcomed me as an old friend. As we walked through the greenhouses, Byron said, ‘wait here’ and he disappeared into an old house to come out minutes later with a small dark red bean. Miracle Bean he called it and invited me to try it. I have to admit it did not taste like much, but I was polite and ate the bean.

A few minutes later, Byron showed up with a huge Meyer Lemon from one of his trees and he cut deep into it with his pocket knife as the juice squeezed out onto the ground. He handed me a section to bite into. I was already salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs when I bit into the lemon and to my surprise, it tasted like I just chewed into a sugar bowl! Miracle Bean had deadened my ‘bitter’ sensors and all I could taste was sweet. According to Byron, it acts the same with dill pickles and any other sour food.

These are just some of the many plants growing at Logee’s and there are thousands more. Go online to Logees.com and look through the site or request a catalog. They ship thousands of plants to conservatory customers all over the country. The exploration of the greenhouses is like no other. Not a ‘big box’ greenhouse but small, intimate growing spaces with dirt floors and crooked walls and paths that lead to yet more greenhouses!

Laurelynn showed me a Kumquat that was 140 years old and growing in a greenhouse, right in the middle of an aisle. And an orange growing every variety of orange they cultivate at Logee’s.

Today was “summer fest” and over 1000 locals were about to descend on the greenhouses to find that plant like no other. I left with an Arabica coffee plant for my brother’s birthday and a citrus tree for a new conservatory customer. Citrus plants are their biggest sellers.

We are happy that Byron and Laurelynn Martin of Logee’s have accepted our invitation to spread the news of great plants and well-crafted conservatories to America.
Watch for us in coming months whilst we feature new plant varieties available at Logee’s and as you see conservatories showing up in their catalogs and web pages.

Invisible Screen Doors

Summer is here and out of the garage come the window screens. After looking through clear glass windows all winter, I bet you wish you didn’t have to look through those dirty old screens all summer long.

There is an option, for you. A roll away screen that disappears when you are not using it!
Invisible screen doors are the perfect solution for showing off your beautiful doors and enjoying your spectacular views. The Clear View Retractable Screen Doors are the only retractable screen door that doesn’t slam and are custom measured and built specifically for your doors. There are 11 colors to choose from plus custom colors to match any décor.meskell-down

How many times has the dog or the kids run through the patio door screen?

Does the track on your rolling screen fill with dirt and debris and the screen does not roll without a strenuous tug?

Keep the luxurious look of you French Doors with screens that retract themselves with a simple touch.
If the dog runs into the screen is it ruined? No way! It simply requires closing, and opening and it’s as good as new.
Want a screened porch or garage? Our automated screens will roll down into place, with the touch of a button!
One touch, screens down. One touch, screens roll up again! All automatic.

Now you see it, now you don’t

Retractable screens are easy maintenance, disappear when not being used and never need to be replaced. They are the perfect solution for beautiful doors and spectacular views.

Outdoor Living without Insects

Retractable Screens to the Rescue

Motorized power screens offer sun and shade protection at your fingertips. Our screens are unique in the industry, made in the USA, and offer a perfect solution for the garage, patio and oversize doors and entryways. Invisible retractable screens tuck out of sight when not in use and with 11 colors to choose from plus custom colors they will seamlessly blend into your home’s décor. Retractable screens are the perfect rainsolution for keeping out bugs with the added bonus of not covering up your beautiful doors and still being able to enjoy your spectacular views.

Adding power to your patio shades and bug screens are the ultimate in convenience and elegance, with custom sizes big enough for your garage, patio and oversized entryways and doors, they are truly unique in the industry.

Learn more on Retractable and motorized screens here.

Top 3 Outdoor Rooms on Houzz

This week in our Best of Houzz series we are falling in love with some seriously fantastic Outdoor Rooms from some seriously fantastic architects and designers – we are loving this category so much we may even give you 3 more next week.

1. Contemporary Outdoor Room

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Contemporary Exterior by Austin Architects & Building Designers has architects

2. Outdoor Kitchen

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Contemporary Porch by Sydney Architects & Building Designers Danny Broe Architect

3. Classic Outdoor Room

Traditional Patio by Huntington Architects & Building Designers MJW Architects (Michael Jay Wallin)

Top 3 Sunroom Ceiling Fans on Houzz

Number 3 in our series of our Top of Houzz, this week we have our Top 3 Sunroom ceiling fans from some very clever architects that we think fit and enhance each space so seamlessly.

1. Industrial Ceiling Fan

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Traditional Porch by Cambridge Architects & Building Designers LDa Architecture & Interiors

2. Plantation Style Ceiling Fan

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Traditional Dining Room by Jamestown Architects & Building Designers Ellen McKenna Design

3. Architectural Ceiling Fan

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Beach Style Living Room by Lakeville Architects & Building Designers alley architecture + design, LLC

Top 5 Screened In Porches on Houzz

To celebrate Houzz selecting us for our 2015 Best of Houzz award, we are returning the favor. Conservatory Craftsmen are going to be doing a series of blogs featuring our some of favorites from Houzz.

We are kicking it off with our Top 5 Screened in Porches from some very talented architects and designers from across the country. Enjoy!

1. Farmhouse Porch

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Farmhouse Porch by Millbrook Architects & Building Designers Crisp Architects

2. Traditional Beach Front Porch

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Traditional Porch by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Nick Noyes Architecture

3. Contemporary Porch

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Contemporary Exterior by Saxtons River Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio (JMMDS)

4. Outdoor Fireplace Porch

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Traditional Porch by Johns Island Architects & Building Designers Christopher A Rose AIA, ASID

5. Eco-Friendly Porch

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Rustic Exterior by Chicago Architects & Building Designers Burns and Beyerl Architects

Blinds and Shades for Your Conservatory or Greenhouse

The appeal of a conservatory is the flood of natural light that sweeps over the room. No other home addition can offer a space where plants grow, humans live and the surrounding landscape is brought indoors.

But sometimes the heat from the sun can cause room temperatures to skyrocket, making the room feel like a sauna. Conservatory roof and side blinds reflect the sun’s rays with a unique aluminum backing to provide the ultimate in heat reflection, each pleated blind whisking away the heat. They also provide year long comfort, because the pleated fabric is also efficient at retaining warmth during the cold winter evenings.

Conservatory blinds offer different levels of translucency to give you a choice of shading options, and turns the harsh glare of the sun into a soft, dappled light. Custom-made to ensure the perfect fit and ease of operation, even in the most complex conservatory window shapes can be fitted. The wide versatility of all our pleated blinds are ideal for conservatories, bi-fold doors, skylights, roof windows and patio doors. They are available as free hanging or tensioned inside the window beading.
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Our pleated conservatory roof and side blinds are available in a wide choice of colors to meet every taste and match every décor scheme. Duette Pleated Blinds are similar in appearance to classic pleated blinds, but have a double-layered honeycomb construction that provides a stylish, yet functional window covering with high insulation properties. This fabric layer is designed to deflect excessive heat during the summer, and provide insulation during the winter with a 60-80% thermal barrier.

Conservatory Craftsmen also offers Alu-Pleat® blinds, which is specifically designed to reflect heat. In fact, Faber Maunsell, a leading international environmental consultancy, put our exclusive Alu-Pleat® climate control fabric to the test. The findings show that on a typically hot day in July, the temperature in the conservatory peaked at a stifling 109 degrees Fahrenheit when no conservatory roof or side blinds were installed. With Appeal’s roof and side conservatory blinds in place, the peak temperature was reduced to 90 degrees.
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For homeowners looking for a more natural look, Pinoleum is crafted from the lightest quality reed, which minimizes the need for support wires in the roof. Consequently, using fewer wires gives the blinds a neater and more uniform appearance without sagging, while specially developed polyester stitching and acrylic edging also promotes longevity. Pinoleum blinds are complemented by a variety of operating systems, including pole, cord or remote controlled, for convenience and ease of use.

Conservatory blinds and shades create a relaxing ambience all year round and protects your plants and furniture by effectively controlling the room temperature and greatly reducing the harmful effect of the sun’s UV rays.

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