ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY STATEMENT

Landry Unlimited is committed to incorporating the notion of Sustainability into the built environment. Every day we strive to make better choices about how we design and build with respect to our action on the health of the planet.

• We have adopted Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as our mantra
• We use and encourage our clients to use Environmentally friendly products
• We consciously work to conserve energy and other resources
• We advise and make sure our subcontractors use Green methods and best practices

Our formal company policy on sustainability addresses these main points:
1. RRR
2. Toxics Reduction
3. Purchasing Green Products
4. Resource Conservation
5. Employee Training

1. Reduction of waste is a place where it is easy to make progress such as not throwing away packaging and reusing it for site or shop storage. All office supplies have the highest possible recycled content.
2. We use Green cleaning products and painting products. All the lighting in our offices is florescent and we have ample day lighting. All disposable batteries are collected and turned in at a proper recycling facility.
3. All retired power tools and office equipment is recycled. We are switching to rechargeable battery power tools as much as is practicable.
4. We always offer clients the option of using Sustainably Harvested lumber. We are conscious of minimizing water use at the building site.
5. New employees are instructed in our Green company policies and encouraged to make suggestions of how we could do better.

In our regular Foreman Meetings we discuss these issues and how to improve our performance.
I am personally committed to raising my company’s consciousness regarding Sustainability and have directed My Foremen to enforce these policies at the building site.

Sincerely,

Bob Landry – President back to top

CREATING BUDGETS, ESTIMATES & BIDS

Why is a budget important?
Many people have no idea how much to budget for a building project, or how much things cost to build. Establishing a budget is very important. The last thing you want is to have plans drawn, and then find out they are way too expensive to construct! Contact us now for help developing a realistic budget that will achieve your objectives.
Need an estimate?
An estimate is a ball park figure that we can develop to let you know roughly what it would cost to build something you have in mind, or you have plans for.
If you have an idea for a project, we are happy to get together with you and help you clarify your vision and develop a wish list. We can give you an estimate so you can see if your project will be affordable for you. Costing out your wish list could be the first step in the design/build process.
It’s risky to choose a contractor based on an estimate alone. Going with the lowest bid may cost you more in the long run. Before making a decision about awarding a job based on an estimate, consider the experience and reputation of the general contractor and check out some references. We will be happy to provide you with a list of references of satisfied customers.
Contact us about an estimate.
Need a bid?
A bid is a fixed price to complete a specific project based on a complete set of plans and specifications developed by an architect or by Landry Unlimited.
If you have a complete set of plans, please contact us or have your architect contact us and we will develop a detailed bid and construction schedule. The bid typically takes 2 – 4 weeks to develop. back to top

A VISIT to the CALIFORNIA ACADEMY of SCIENCES

The other day I visited the California Academy of Science in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I had gone there many times as a child but not since it reopened in it’s new incarnation.
The old Academy was a neoclassical edifice to natural science, as stodgy as the War Memorial Opera House or City Hall. It also gave me my first introduction as a child to the world of Science and Natural History. I remember marveling at the raw power of the live alligators, struggling to understand the idea of rotational inertia (see the Foucault Pendulum retained from the old building) and being transported in my imagination to the African Savannah. These exhibits and others have been preserved in a clever reference to the former Academy.
The new building is a wonder of Modern Architecture. Renzo Piano and his design team created a masterpiece of multipurpose architecture that successfully takes a holistic approach to building design. The new Academy is at once a public natural history museum, a functioning research facility, a planetarium, an aquarium with the world’s largest man made coral reef, a rain forest biosphere, a restaurant, and last but not least an exemplary demonstration of green building.
The steel frame of the building is made from recycled scrap steel. The insulation is recycled blue jeans. A significant portion of the building’s power needs are provided by integrated solar panels. The whole building is ventilated by natural convection. And most spectacularly, the roof is a field of native plants and wild flowers that absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.
My favorite exhibit is the rainforest biosphere. It is a 90 foot diameter, steel framed, glass habitat that has the five levels of the Amazon Jungle:
• The Swamp
• The Forest Floor
• The Understory
• The Canopy
• The Emergent Zone
Fish, snakes, spiders, birds and butterflies are all there for your curious observation.
I left the Academy at the end of our visit inspired with a new urge to save the planet by doing all I can to see that what we build respects the fact that we live in a closed loop system and that what we do effects the whole world and all the people who live here. I had my beginner’s mind restored about the need to make a difference. You should all go and take the kids.
Don’t just take my word for it. Check out their website and plan your trip today.
“http://www.calacademy.org/
Thanks for reading. back to top

BOB LANDRY RECEIVES GREEN DESIGN/BUILD AWARD

Bob Landry received the twelfth Green Building Award ever issued by the City of Santa Cruz at a ceremony at City Hall today. It was awarded for the renovation to a Historic House at 603 Lighthouse Ave. that Landry & Foy Builders completed in 2008. The award recognizes builders who meet the high standards set by the City to encourage sustainable building design and practices.
Some of the features on the Lighthouse Ave. project include:
• A photovoltaic net metering solar electric system
• Recycled materials and fly-ash concrete in the foundation
• More than 50% of the demolition was recycled
• More than 80% of the construction waste was Recycled
• Many recycled materials were included in the construction
• Hydronic radiant heating system
• Programmable thermostat
• An “on demand “ water heater
• Extra insulation beyond State standards
These features require a little more thought and care during the process but the result is a building with a much lower carbon footprint than typical construction.
I find that once the workers and subcontractors understand what we are trying to do, they change old habits and feel good about helping to save the planet.
I will continue to encourage the use of these and other methods and look for more ways to ease the impact construction places on the environment.
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IS SOLID STATE LIGHTING READY for PRIME TIME?

“Bright white light at a fraction of the cost of regular light bulbs.” That is the promise of the latest lighting fad. LED (stands for Light Emitting Diode) is the newest kind of lighting to hit the consumer market. You see them all over the place now: flashlights, car taillights, desk lamps, cell phones, emergency lights are just a few of the applications for this promising new technology. The most exciting thing about LED lighting is the large amount of light produced with so little power input. In some cases lumens per watt is 1/10 that of a regular light bulb.
I just attended a seminar sponsored by PG&E about LED lighting. The speaker was a Lighting Consultant, Stan Walerczyk of Lightingwizards.com. He did a good job of conveying the complexity of lighting design and addressing the issue of weather LED is the panacea that the marketers say it is.
In a regular light bulb the light comes from a wire heated up till it glows by applying an electric current. In a LED, the light comes from a semi-conducting chip that emits photons when an electric current is applied. Though LEDs produce more light per watt of electricity than a regular bulb, they also produce heat. As in all semiconductors, the efficiency goes down as the heat goes up. This makes the design of LED fixture challenging. There are a few good designs out there for LEDs and more coming along all the time.
The technology is advancing very quickly and I am excited about working it into my designs to save our clients money. If we use less energy to light the night we can design smaller solar photovoltaic systems. This will save more money and make solar all the more affordable.
I expect LED lighting to make great inroads into the green building tool kit for those that are concerned with helping mitigate global warming. I also hope this has piqued your interest in this innovation and you will see how you can fit this energy saving technology into your life.
Here are some other sources of info on this subject:
• Lighting Wizards
• Beta-Calco Lighting
• Finelite
• Cree LED Lighting Solutions
If you would like advice on how to integrate this exciting new lighting into your next home construction project, as always, don’t hesitate to call me.
Thanks for reading! back to top

GOOD DESIGN

When you walk into a room and look around you should feel comfortable. Drawn in. If you’re lucky you will draw a deep breath and wonder how can such a beautiful room exist. That is the feeling you get when entering the dining room at The Awahnee.
It’s possible to have that same feeling in your home. The way buildings are commonly constructed is to minimize the cost per square foot. This can only yield a compromised product.
I implore people to choose good design ahead of a low cost per square foot.
It will make you happy. back to top

SMART GROWTH and GREEN BUILDING

I just returned from a vacation in The Grand Teton Area of Idaho and Wyoming, an area where I lived for a time when I was in my early 20’s. The town of Jackson, Wyoming and the close outlying area is barely recognizable with all the growth and sprawl. I talked to a couple of people who were aware of the idea of smart growth but for the most part all the bad aspects of commercial development are in play. Over the hill in Teton Valley Idaho it is even worse. Golf coarse luxury home developments are popping up right and left. The little airport in Driggs now handles jets and they have an antique plane museum. There is some consciousness of smart growth but it looks like the golf course gated communities are winning.
In Santa Cruz County we have kept the large developers at bay by erecting a massive bureaucracy that makes it hard to develop anything. The unintended consequence of this policy is that wealthy people can afford the time and money it takes to build. Wealthy people will build wherever they want. What we have in the outlying areas of our County are big homes on large properties spread all around so that there is no way to have an effective public transit system.
Every time you need anything you have to get in the car and drive to the store and park in a giant parking lot. When we design a new building we have to address the issue of parking first, instead of quality of life issues.
We as a community and a society need to change the way we look at growth and development. We need to encourage new development to occur close in to the urban center near transportation routes and commercial services so that we can have a viable public transport system that has the ridership to sustain it. The way it is now, there aren’t enough riders to make it work.
We need to develop multiple transportation options at the same time so that eventually people will have choices of ways to get places. Personally, my bicycle is my first choice of transportation so when I remodeled my garage, I included a storage locker for 10 bikes and a work area where I can do my own maintenance.
When we designed the Solar System which sits atop our new garage, we allowed for future expansion to be able to charge an Electric Vehicle with electricity made from the Sun. We plan to add a wind turbine to the system too. Check out www.windside.com. When we retire our plan is to not buy gas or electricity and have a very small carbon footprint.
There are so many ways we can all contribute to saving the planet from the mistakes we’ve made up till now. Please call me to discuss ways to make your construction project fit into the new paradigm of development.

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BALANCING AESTHETICS & BUDGET

How do you strike a balance between aesthetics and budget? This is the question I spend my working life trying to answer.
In 25 years of residential designing and building I’ve only had one client who did not have a budget for their project. They had a vision and the resources to carry it out without compromise. Their house is a real showpiece and perfectly suited to their needs and wants. This scenario is by far the exception.
All of the other projects had a bigger wish list than the client could afford. This is normal. The culture we live in is pushing us to have more stuff. All the stuff we have needs a place, weather it’s a bigger closet for more clothes or a bigger garage for the new sports car.
I love to build. The bigger and more craftsmenship involved the better. I also realize that the delicate balance of size, looks and budget is hard to achieve. To get there takes experience and constant relentless attention to the details. Every decision needs to be weighed and considered as to is it the optimum choice, all things considered.
I believe it is my responsibility to help my clients get the most of what is important to them for their money. If more square footage is what they want and the budget is tight I can help economize the design to create a large but attractive solution. If quality is the most important, then I can provide them with the best available choices. If a tight schedule is part of the picture, we have the resources to work as rapidly as possible to meet the requirements.
The worst thing is when the client can’t build the project because the design is too expensive. Steps need to be taken all along the way in the design phase to insure the project is within the means of the owner. This is easier said than done and always a moving target because costs are continuously on the rise, so it’s important to stay current with real construction costs. At Landry & Foy Builders we have our ears to the tracks with regards to costs of all the systems that go into modern buildings and work closely with the various craftsmen and trades people to stay up to date on costs.
In the last few years the notion that we need to do a better job of taking care of our environment has gained acceptance. Green Building is now a thing people recognize and ask about. This is not a new idea, having first come to the public awareness back in the sixties. Current events lately though have begun to demand that we now take these issues more seriously. This is yet another dimension that needs to be taken into account when considering a construction project. I take them very seriously myself, so much so that we have installed photovoltaic solar panels and a net metering system on our house and are now producing more electricity than we use. I can help you do this for your project as well.
The puzzle of balancing all the variables and striving for the optimum solution is why I get up in the morning and look forward to working on the projects of our clients. Solving these puzzles is very satisfying, then I move on to the next challenge. .
Call us now and let’s start working on a solution to yours.

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LANDRY GOES SOLAR

The Landry Family Is Going Solar for All Our Residential Electricity
Given the current climate situation, and the fact that world oil production has peaked, the cost of electricity will only be going up in the future. So I’ve decided to do what I’ve been encouraging my clients to do for years — I am putting in a system of photovoltaic (p.v.) panels as part of rebuilding our garage and workshop.
During the daytime, the panels will generate more electricity than the house requires. PG&E will buy our excess electricity during the day, and sell us back electricity at night at a lower rate. They call this “net metering.” Anyone that is hooked up to the grid and installs an alternative renewable power supply can do this. As an added incentive, the State and Federal governments are offering attractive tax breaks and rebates to homeowners and businesses for installing solar panels.
System Components
The system is designed to generate all the electricity we use in one year. It consists of 20 Sanyo p.v. panels, an inverter to convert DC electricity to AC, a two-way PG&E meter and a cut out switch to isolate the system from the grid for servicing. We will be integrating the solar panels into the new roof over our new garage. The panels will have a very low profile — they are only about seven inches high.
Full Circle Solar is the contractor we chose for the installation. They are a local company of experienced eco-experts that have been designing and installing in our area for about 30 years. You might know Mike Arenson (a.k.a. Solar Mike) who taught at Cabrillo College for many years. He is the company’s head designer and has designed the largest residential p.v. system in Santa Cruz County.
The Costs
Our system will wind up costing us about $24,000 after the rebate and tax credit. However, by adding the cost of the system to our construction loan, the monthly cost will only be about $150 (based on a 30 year 5.9% loan), and the interest is tax deductible. Once the loan payment equals our electricity bill (currently $100 per month), the system will be paying for itself. I predict that will happen in 12 to 16 years.
Expandability to Power an Electric Car
In the not too distant future, we are planning to get a plug-in Hybrid Electric car. By adding panels or a wind turbine we could charge our car with renewable energy. That will be very exciting as well!
Is solar in your future?
If you are interested in incorporating a p.v. system into your home or business, please give Landry & Foy Builders a call at 831-479-9306. We have experience designing and building green homes and remodels and look forward to making our community

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QUALITY

When you hear someone say “They don’t make them like they used to”, too often it’s not a rueful reminiscence, but a brutally truthful statement of fact. Most things are not made like they once were, not with the finest materials, not by hand, not with passion, not with laborious time-intensive attention to detail and craftsmanship. Today, when one comes across something that is superbly designed, beautifully made and not compromised in any way at all, it comes as a bit of a surprise. A wonderful occurrence that reminds us the right way is still alive and well. That reminds us not to settle. That reminds us to raise our expectations. back to top