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Community and Q&A

Wish list for the big box stores

MICHAEL CHANDLER | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Recently a friend who works at Lowes (sponsor of the Builder 20 peer education program that has helped my business immeasurably) asked me a really thought provoking question.

“What do Green Builders wish we had on our shelves that we don’t currently stock.”

Right off I had a few suggestions:
– Hood Everlast oil-based low-odor, low-VOC varnish.
– Infiltrator chambers and end caps for making rain gardens and storm water retention footings for terraced garden walls.
– Lutron Maestro programmable time-delay occupancy/vacancy switching switches that dim to 50% to warn they are about to turn off and the little wireless ceiling bugs that act as extra eyes for them
– Drywall Clips
– Bostic Home low-VOC, low-odor, freeze, and wet wood compatible panel adhesives and caulks.
– High performance sheathing tapes
– 20″ x 24″ x 4″ MERV-11 and MERV-13 extended media air filters and filter-grilles sized to accept them without on-site modification.
– Heart land dryer vent hoods
– 6″ & 8″ Cape sock dampers for passive air intakes behind dryers and refrigerators / ranges
– Edison base weather-proof CFL outdoor flood lights.

On deeper reflection (I can dream can’t I?)
– Niagara Stealth easy clean, silent, 1.28 GPF vacuum assist toilets.
– Venmar moderate-cost ($700 range) energy recovery ventilators and the intake grille / ceiling light combos and exhaust-intake wall hoods that complete that system.
– Those weird plastic kick-out flashings Steve Easley loves so much. (I make my own but can imagine these would save a lot of siding if they were more readily available)
– Wilo 21 and Wilo 17 flanged brass three-speed circulator pumps with an assortment of flanges. (and maybe some of the old reliable threaded brass Taco 006 and 009 circulators too)
– Manual cylinder pumps for liquid transfer like the ones we get at Fergusons instead of those cheezy disposable plastic drill pumps.
– 40% high-temp solar glycol (seriously dreaming now!)
– Humidistatic switches for sealed crawlspace monitoring that can send power to a warning light or de-humidifier if a space gets over a set humidity range.
– Spider-Lath gasketed fiberglass stucco lathe
– 3/8″ PEX tubing for “trunk and twig” hot water distribution systems and the 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 3/8″ tees to make up manifolds and 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 3/8″ to make up sub-manifolds with 3/8″ PEX x 1/2″ spun copper stub-outs w/ mounting flanges to go with.
– eMonitor home energy monitoring kits
– Good coffee and real half and half at the contractors desk! & digital receipt PDFs e-mailed to the office on check-out. (Dream, dream, dream)

What am I forgetting? I’m talking about those things we always have to order off the internets – with inconvenient lead times if we forget – that would be not onerous for a box store to carry but would really make our lives so much easier as green builders.


  1. Mike Eliason | | #1

    pvc-free wiring/cabling

  2. user-723121 | | #2

    In store chiropractor

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