Here's an ad for a new home in Armory Park del Sol, from before the community was completed. The last home was built in 2015. Here is also more info on John's extensive experience in the building industry. This is from a few years back, he's received even more prestigeous awards since then!
Have you been to downtown lately? Are you aware of the fantastic changes to our community?
With the installation of the streetcar line, more student housing apartments, older buildings being converted to condos, new construction of private homes, our downtown scene has changed dramatically.
New restaurants have opened, new shops, and clubs. Along with existing businesses, these add to the appeal of spending time downtown. Let your curiosity bring you downtown and have a look around. Discover the many options now available for dining and entertainment!
Gone are the days/nights when you came downtown to see a show, eat in a favorite restaurant, or visit a gallery and then went home. Weekends are bustling with people everywhere, business is good! Feel free to enjoy your time exploring the new shops, galleries, or just people watch, if that's what you like!
Spend an afternoon wandering the charming neighborhoods with beautiful historic homes, or ride your bike on the wide, tree lined streets surrounding the the business district. Take a ride on the streetcar to the UofA area, or browse the shops in the Mercado San Augustine Market. Stop in for some delicious refreshments at one of the cafes or restaurants beckoning you with appetizing smells and cool drinks in this open air market.
While you're in the area, stop in to view The Vision House at 413 S. 3rd Avenue, at 14th Street. A 2,500 sq ft luxury home in Armory Park del Sol, John Wesley Miller Companies' energy efficient community in historic Armory Park. This home is truly a marvel of energy efficiency, with an electric bill of $19.97 per month! The 3 bedroom 3 bath home with 3 car garage is available for purchase. You CAN live in a NEW home downtown! Maintenance free, low utility bills, within walking distance to downtown's businesses and entertainment, yet peaceful, and quiet.
There's so much to do downtown, come and enjoy yourself!
OPEN Tuesday - Saturday 10-5
This past January, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association presented John Wesley Miller with their 2016 Legacy award.
John gave a brief interview here, along with some people who know him VERY well!
Congratulations to John on this prestigious honor!
SAHBA 2016 Lasting Legacy Award John Wesley Miller
If this is the year you are determined to grow your own vegetables, its time to start planning! The best time to start planting outdoors is after the last frost.
First locate an area in your yard that gets the best sun exposure, then mark out a perimeter for your planting area. Using a rake, spade, or hoe, remove loose rocks and debris. Then weed the area and remove the top layer of soil. You'll get healthier vegetables by first prepping the soil. Loosen the dirt to 12" deep, and mix with compost. You'll fertilize the soil later.
Raised beds produce a healthy, abundant crop that is more easily managed. The tight spacing between the plants won't allow weeds to grow. If you round the top of the beds in an arc, you'll give yourself about 1' of additional planting space. You'll have more plants in a smaller area, making it easier to water, and harvest. The most productive bed is a bottomless frame set into a shallow trench. Any kind of material can be used for the sides. Most common is wood. If you use wood, be sure it hasn't been preserved with toxins. To be sure, line the bed with landscape material. Use galvanized or stainless screws or bolts to secure the sides together, whether they are metal or wood. A good height is 2'. It is better to have more than one raised bed if possible, to rotate your crops. Line the bottom with a steel mesh, metal, or specialty landscape material. Be sure you have adequate drainage.
Whether you plant in the ground or use a raised bed, prep the soil/compost mix by watering a few days before planting. Using a spade or rake, make furrows in the soil. Try to allow for adequate sunlight on all sides for all the plants. You can now fertilize the furrows. Plant the seeds into moist soil, but not soggy.
Transplanted seedlings are said to do better when transferred outside to your garden, but don't be afraid to plant seeds directly into the ground. With conscientious watering and care, your plants should flourish.
When planting seeds directly into your garden, follow the planting instructions regarding depth and spacing for the different types of seeds. Sow the seeds by either scattering them by hand or place individually in the soil, following directions for each type of seed. Rake lightly, to barely cover, but still protect the seeds with soil. Don't cover with too much soil. You can add mulch to help keep soil moist, and prevent birds from eating them. Add labels to keep your garden organized.
Now mist with a fine spray, keeping the planted furrows moist. Do not over water the seeds. When the seedlings have two sets of "True leaves," thin overcrowded areas as soon as possible to ensure healthy plants. "True leaves" are the second series of leaves that will emerge. The first leaves, called Cotyledons, are different in appearance, and feed the plant temporarily, until the true leaves grow out. Cotyledons sometimes have the seed coat still attached, but it will usually come off by itself. Do not remove the Cotyledons, the plant won't survive without them. Replant the thinned seedlings to emptier areas of your garden.
Be sure seedlings are mature enough before transplanting outdoors. This is determined by the amount of "true leaves" on the seedling. When they have 2 or more true leaves, it is time to "harden" them. "Hardening" is simply exposing the plants to the outdoors for a few hours each day. Start with a shaded area, then move to a sunny location. Keep them protected, and don't leave them out too long.
Keep the soil loose around the plants, allowing air to circulate and the plants to absorb water and nutrients. The plants should not sit soaking wet, but dry quickly after watering. You can fertilize using store bought formulas or natural fertilizers such as eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, seaweed, and even molasses. You'll need to know which natural fertilizer is beneficial to the type of vegetables you have planted.
A drip irrigation system is effective and convenient, in case you're not able to stick to a regular watering schedule. They are inexpensive and fairly easy to set up. A soaker hose is even easier, and provides water directly to the soil and root systems. Hand watering cools the entire plant. Water around the base of the plant, be sure to use gentle pressure, new sprouts are easily damaged!
Plants need the most water when first planted and transplanted, to establish root systems and when edible parts of the vegetable plant are developing. Best to water in the morning, the plants will have the day to dry and avoid diseases caused by too much moisture. Avoid shallow over-watering, root systems will not grow as deep. Mulch to inhibit weeds, and pull weeds by hand while they are young, mature weeds will take a toll on your vegetables, and are more difficult to remove.
Support your vine type plants; tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, with stakes or trellises. Remove dead or rotting plants, and brown dying leaves. Afterward, disinfect gardening tools to prevent the spread of diseases in the garden. If the heat is too intense and the plants are wilting, cheesecloth is lightweight and good for providing shade.
Some natural pesticides include garlic or onion spray, mineral oil, Eucalyptus oil, ladybugs, praying mantis, and even wasps! You may need to place a netting material made for plants over your garden to prevent birds and other pests from feeding on your crops. Stakes are used to support the material and prevent it from laying directly on the plants.
Keep the seed packets so you know when to harvest your vegetables. Pinch back herbs often to keep them producing leaves and stems. It is important to harvest vegetables at proper maturity, which is not always the largest size. You want your vegetables to be at their most nutritional and flavorful. Ripeness varies with the different vegetables, so refer to the seed packet for the best information. Tomatoes can be left on the vine until fully ripened, or picked while still green, and ripened on a windowsill. Watermelon and squash must be fully developed before harvesting. Salad greens, Asparugus, Rhubarb, Kale, Collard greens, and herbs can grow continuously all season long, reproducing as long as the plants are pruned and kept healthy. Other vegetables are harvested and the remaining plant can be reworked into the soil, or used for compost. Do not compost tomatoes or pepper plants, there is a risk of passing disease from these to the soil. Some vegetables have edible leaves, try to use and re-use every part of the plant.
Its best to harvest in the early morning, plants will have a higher water content. A cloudy day is also better for the same reason. You'll need garden gloves, pruning shears, or sharp plant nippers. Be gentle when picking, do not bruise, break, or bend nearby plants or leaves.
Vegetables need humidity and oxygen to prevent shriveling and drying out. Use plastic ziplock bags with holes or slits cut for air circulation. Store them loosely, don't pack them tightly together. Store vegetables and fruits separately. Fruit produces ethylene gas which increases ripening and spoilage in vegetables. Herbs can be dried. Vegetables can also be canned, frozen, refrigerated, or stay on the counter until use. Do not wash vegetables until you're ready to use them to prevent bacteria growth that can result from dampness.
When your garden is fully harvested, clear out any dead plants and debris. Leave the garden bare for a few days. Prepare your soil for next year with compost, and lightly cover with mulch to prevent erosion. When you're ready next year, the soil will be easier to work with. Here's to a bumper crop this year!
The US Dept of Energy
The United States Department of Energy was created in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. He signed into law the Department of Energy Organization Act, which consolidated The Federal Energy Administration, Energy Research and Development Administration, and Federal Power Commission.
These different branches of the department came into being with The Manhattan Project. In 1942, under the US Corp of Army Engineers, the program was created to develop the atomic bomb. After World War II, in 1946, President Truman signed the McMahon/Atomic Energy Act, to enable the peace time development of atomic science and technology. The Manhattan Project, no longer a military program, became the civilian Atomic Energy Commission in 1947. The AEC led to the creation of other departments, which were then also consolidated into The Dept of Energy in 1977.
Presently, Dr. Ernest Moniz, The United States Secretary of Energy, is head of the department. He is a nuclear physicist, nominated for the position by Barack Obama, and approved by the Senate in 2013.
Besides the issues of energy conservation and related research, the department handles other United States policies such as the handling of nuclear related weapons and material, nuclear reactive production for the US Navy, radioactive waste disposal, and energy production. The Human Genome Project was started by the Dept of Energy's Office of Health and Environmental Research. The DOE conducts research in its national laboratories and technology centers.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's technology programs funds State Energy Programs, SEP, with grants to state energy offices. SEP's are able to offer rebates to consumers to promote the use of energy saving products, renewable energy, energy audits, and energy saving home improvements.
The DOE's website has extensive information on all matters relating to energy; public services, conservation, climate change, science and innovation, energy saving calculators, green contractors, energy saving vehicles, consumer rebates, and current incentive programs. The website is an idea resource, check it out and keep it handy. You're sure to learn something with just one visit.
Solar Pioneer John Wesley Miller Receives
Lasting Legacy Award
– Jill Goetz
The Department of Energy recognizes a UA College of Engineering alumnus and Tucson homebuilder for his contributions to environmentally sustainable construction.
John Wesley Miller, an alumnus of the University of Arizona College of Engineering and a pioneer in energy efficiency and green building, has received the 2015 Lasting Legacy Award from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.
“One of the early adopters of green building, John did much to popularize these techniques and materials with his colleagues in the construction industry,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild upon learning of Miller’s award.
Miller received the Lasting Legacy Award at DOE’s Housing Innovations Awards ceremony on October 6, 2015, in Denver. He is the second person ever to receive it.
“Starting last year, we realized it was time to also recognize the vital role played by builders who have left a lasting legacy and transformed our vision, as well as the way we build and sell high-performance homes,” said DOE chief architect Sam Rashkin in a letter to Miller announcing the award. “These builders took the
Excellent TALK! How he got interested in solar power, a little bit of everything.
Visit John's TEDx Tucson profile
John Wesley Miller was presented the Lasting Legacy Award by The Department of Energy on October 6, 2015
Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect of the Building Technologies Office at the US Dept of Energy informed John: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been providing recognition to leading Zero Energy Ready Home builders for several years at an event called the Housing Innovation Awards. Starting last year, we realized it was time to also recognize the vital role played by builders who have left a lasting legacy, and in fact, transformed our vision as well as the way we build and sell high performance homes. These builders took the challenge to demonstrate high-performance was the future when it was much less obvious to the rest of the industry.
And this year, the much deserved recognition goes to you. It is with great pleasure that I inform you that you will be honored with the 2015 Lasting Legacy Award at DOE’s Housing Innovation Awards. This year the event occurs on October 6th during the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance’s Excellence in Building Conference in Denver, Colorado.
Congratulations to John! We are so pleased to have your efforts recognized!
A thermal mass storage system utilizes the second law of thermodynamics where heat from one region flows to a colder region. An example of this is concrete pavement absorbing the heat from the sun during the day and at night, radiating the heat into the cooler night air until temperature equilibrium is reached. In a home the system consists of concrete walls and floors which are insulated on the exterior to prevent the transfer of heat with the outdoor air. The interior surfaces of the floor and walls are exposed as much as possible so that they are in contact with the conditioned air inside of the home.
How Does John Wesley Miller Companies Build with Thermal Mass?
Our floors are built with 12" thick concrete and our exterior walls are masonry block filled with concrete. The exterior is wrapped with a 1.5" - 2" layer of polyisocyanurate insulation. This is covered with a 3 coat stucco system, then the stucco is painted. Inside, the masonry walls are covered with a thin coat of plaster to give a finish that matches the finish on the non-masonry walls. We recommend tile or stained concrete floors to minimize barriers to the exchange of heat between the floors and the rooms. Programmable thermostats are standard.
Why Use Thermal Mass?
Thermal Mass is the most effective way to stabilize interior temperatures and maximize energy efficiency. By using a programmable thermostat, in summer the homeowner can pre-cool the thermal mass of the walls and floors during off-peak hours at night. As the temperatures increase during the day, the cool thermal mass will absorb the heat, keeping the indoor air temperature stable. During the winter season the system works in reverse. As the daytime temperatures increase, the walls and floor absorb the heat and as the temperature drops at night, the heat from the thermal mass is released into the air.
In addition to increasing the comfort of the occupants, the homeowner can take advantage of time-of-use utility rates to minimize the cost of air conditioning. The utility company and the environment also benefit because shifting power use to off-peak hours reduces the need to power up additional plants which are less efficient and more costly to operate.
Thermal resistance (R-value) indicates a material’s resistance to conductive heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness is of that material. The R-value is the inverse of the U-value that measures how readily a substance conducts heat. Wall, roof, and floor assemblies are required by code to have a minimum R-value. A higher R-Value means your home is better prepared to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Read more from Make It Right.
The Department of Energy explains, an insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance or R-value -- the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. When calculating the R-value of a multilayered installation, add the R-values of the individual layers. Installing more insulation in your home increases the R-value and the resistance to heat flow. To determine how much insulation you need for your climate, use an insulation calculator or consult a local insulation contractor.
The effectiveness of an insulation material’s resistance to heat flow also depends on how and where the insulation is installed. For example, insulation that is compressed will not provide its full rated R-value. The overall R-value of a wall or ceiling will be somewhat different from the R-value of the insulation itself because heat flows more readily through studs, joists, and other building materials, in a phenomenon known as thermal bridging. In addition, insulation that fills building cavities densely enough to reduce airflow can also reduce convective heat loss. Unlike traditional insulation materials, radiant barriers are highly reflective materials that re-emit radiant heat rather than absorbing it, reducing cooling loads. As such, a radiant barrier has no inherent R-value. Although it is possible to calculate an R-value for a specific radiant barrier or reflective insulation installation, the effectiveness of these systems lies in their ability to reduce heat gain by reflecting heat away from the living space.
The amount of insulation or R-value you'll need depends on your climate, type of heating and cooling system, and the part of the house you plan to insulate. Also, remember that air sealing and moisture control are important to home energy efficiency, health, and comfort. You can read more from the Department of Energy.
John Wesley Miller
Miller is a national leader in energy conservation and green building practices. He has been building homes in Tucson, Arizona for over 50 years.