Flipping the Switch to Electric: A Green Building Pioneer’s Take on Heat Pumps

Dennis Allen talks about electric-powered homes on the CEC blog.

This story was originally published on cecsb.org on February 10, 2021.

“The nice thing about electric equipment is that it just keeps getting more refined, more efficient, quieter and better,” said current CEC Partnership Council member and past CEC Board President Dennis Allen. He’s certainly an authority on the subject. In addition to building two different state-of-the-art eco-conscious homes for his own family, the founder of green building specialist Allen Construction has been bringing his passion for energy conservation and sustainability to his work building quality, healthy homes for neighbors in Santa Barbara for almost 40 years.

As the costs of heat pumps have gone down, their efficiency has continued to improve. When he was building the LEED platinum certified Victoria Garden Mews project in downtown Santa Barbara in 2011 (where he and his wife Jenny currently reside), “we didn’t even consider a heat pump,” said Dennis. “At that point they were pretty expensive. Now they are much more reasonably priced and they’re much more efficient with what they call the coefficient of performance — it can be up to four times what a forced air gas/heating system would be. All of these things are just coming on big time.”

With all of the new residential projects in California now required to have solar power, Dennis predicts that the demand for heat pumps will continue to rise. “Heat pumps are safer and healthier because you’re not burning natural gas and having the combustion fumes from the gas system, which are usually in the house. (This is why you have to have carbon monoxide detectors in homes to sense whether there is too much carbon monoxide being put out by the natural gas burning appliances.) Those are both safety and health issues. And more recent research is finding that the health issues are more serious than we were all led to believe even five years ago.”

Higher upfront costs are the primary stumbling blocks when it comes to installing electric heating and cooling systems, but, Dennis explained, “if you take into account the operational side, then it has a payback period – and from then on you’re saving money. The upfront costs are still a little bit more expensive, but that’s coming down all the time and pretty soon it’s going to be a no brainer to go all-electric. The ordinances and the state regulations are nudging people in that direction, and there are some incentive programs and so forth that help people go there. Once they go there it keeps helping to drive the cost down and it helps people save money and be healthier. So even with the slightly higher costs today it’s still worth doing.”

This story was originally published on cecsb.org on February 10, 2021.

Flipping the Switch to Electric: CEC’s Board President is Pumped About Her Heat Pump

Barbara Lindemann on going electric with a new heat pump for cec.org.

This story was originally published on cecsb.org on February 10, 2021.

The desire to cool down her house, rather than heat it, was what inspired CEC Board President Barbara Lindemann to investigate switching to a heat pump.

The air conditioner in her home in the Santa Barbara foothills was on its last legs and the furnace was more than 30 years old. After getting a bid on replacing the gas-powered furnace, Barbara pondered the purchase. “I began to think, well why am I putting in another gas furnace?” she laughed. “Given my commitment to getting off of fossil fuels this doesn’t make any sense at all.”

She asked for advice from a few knowledgeable friends, including green builder and past CEC Board President Dennis Allen and architect Dennis Thompson, who had done a remodel for the Lindemann’s a few years ago. Both of the experts agreed that heat pumps were a good alternative to another gas furnace. “Dennis Thompson pointed out that it’s not going to be long before you’re not allowed to put more gas into homes and new homes won’t be allowed to be built with gas,” said Barbara. “He said it’s really become the new thing.”

In the meantime, Barbara had also been researching getting backup batteries for her 18-year-old solar panel system. Living in a high fire zone with frequent power outages, and knowing that her solar power system would soon need to be replaced, Barbara realized that installing a heat pump would make even more economic sense when she replaced the solar with a system that included storage batteries.

Getting the heat pump “is a matter of looking to the future and taking care of our current needs at the same time,” Barbara said. While the initial upfront cost of the heat pump was slightly more than a new furnace might have been, Barbara said her gas bill has gone down and her electricity use is only up a little, “so we’re already saving money on the heat pump, even though it was more expensive to put in — and I haven’t had a chance to give it a full test with air conditioning yet.”

When summer comes around, Barbara is looking forward to her new heat pump being able to cool her home just as effectively as a standard air conditioner would, but without relying on fossil fuels to keep her family comfortable.

This story was originally published on cecsb.org on February 10, 2021.

Striving for Mōr

Mor Doughnuts, originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, March 2021.When Santa Barbara resident Tommy Chang was laid off from his job as a marketing project manager due to the pandemic, he began
experimenting with the traditional Korean rice cakes and mochi
that he had enjoyed as a child. He tweaked the recipes to develop
his own creations, Chang says, and his mom really liked his mochi
doughnuts. That was when he knew he was ready to go public.

“She’s a pretty picky eater,” Chang says, “so when she said,
‘Hey why don’t you sell these?’—well, for an Asian mom to say to
her oldest son, ‘you should make doughnuts’ is a big confidence
builder.”

Chang launched Mōr Doughnuts (mordoughnuts.com) last fall and now offers rotating weekly flavors like Matcha Berry Cheesecake, Black Sesame, and mango Tajín.
Chang hopes to open a storefront eventually, but for now, he sells his four-flavor boxed set for $12 online Friday through Saturday. Preorders can be placed starting each Thursday at noon for pickup at Jang’s Karate Center, his father’s business in downtown Santa Barbara.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Ecosmarts: Dressing for the Great Outdoors

Ecosmarts, originally published in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.With time on her hands during the
pandemic stay-at-home orders, 12-year-old Santa Barbara tween Reese Large
launched Real Life (wearreallife.com), a
clothing company devoted to spotlighting
nonprofit groups that support activities
she cares about.

“When choosing nonprofits, I thought about things that I missed doing during the coronavirus pandemic,” says Large. “A lot of that had to do with outdoor activities.”

Her line of sustainable, sweatshop-free hoodies, sweatshirts, and tees supports outdoor-oriented organizations such as the National Park Foundation; the American Eagle Foundation, which protects various birds of prey; and Project Aware, which is dedicated to shark conservation and the elimination of marine litter.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

An Uncommonly Common Kitchen

An Uncommonly Common Kitchen originally was published in 805 Living Magazine in March 2021.The restaurant industry has become one of the latest to adopt the shared workspace concept, and a prime example is set to open in Santa Barbara later this year. Kitchen 530 (kitchen530.com), a communal food-production facility, public market, and culinary incubator in the works at 530 State Street, is what Chris Chiarappa,
one of the project developers, describes as “a bit of a Swiss Army
knife for the food world.”

The brainchild of Chiarappa, a partner in Mesa Burger restaurants, and Diana H. Pereira, founder of Kiva Cowork shared workspace in downtown Santa Barbara, Kitchen 530 will have 10 hot-preparation facilities, 10 cold-preparation facilities, two baking stations, a show kitchen and event space, a retail market, and a public restaurant.
Diners will be able to enjoy food from multiple tenants but order in one place. A full bar and coffee shop are also planned along with special event space for tenant use.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Cheetos are Hot!

Cheetos are Hot! originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine. Photo by Gary Moss.

Cheetos are Hot! originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine. Photo by Gary Moss.

An old snack food, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, is having a new culinary moment, and local food pros are making good on the trend.

In Port Hueneme, Carnitas El Brother (carnitaselbrother.com) dishes up the Hot Cheetos Taco: a handmade Flamin’ Hot Cheetos tortilla filled with carnitas and melted cheese and topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. “It has to be one of the most popular items on our menu,” says co-owner Maria Reyes.

In Santa Barbara and Goleta, Dave’s Dogs Grill (davesdogs805.com) uses the spicy crisps to enhance menu items like the Hot Cheetos & Cream Cheese hot dog.

Michoacanita Ice Cream Company (michoacanitaicecream.com) in Oxnard crumbles Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to make a coating for cobs of corn and to top its Flamin’ Eloté, Mexican street corn made with fresh-off-the-cob corn, mayonnaise, melted butter, cheese, and spices.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Style Domicile

Purveyor of designer fashions Elyse Walker opens her newest store in Calabasas. Courtesy photo.

A new women’s fashion hub opens at The Commons at Calabasas this month. Set among luxe velvet furnishings with chandeliers and marble accents, the 2,343-square-foot ElyseWalker (elysewalker.com) showroom features collections from iconic brands such as Celine, Chloé, Dior, and Givenchy as well as emerging designers like Anna QuanIsabel Marant Étoile, Moussy, Staud, and Ulla Johnson.

The establishment is the third location of the globally recognized brand, which also has stores in Pacific Palisades and Newport Beach.

Founder and CEO Elyse Walker says she has always loved the Calabasas neighborhood and is “excited to introduce the Elyse Walker point-of-view to the community.”

 

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

A Cut Above

Photo courtesy Messermeister. Originally published in 805 Living, March 2021.

Photo courtesy Messermeister. Originally published in 805 Living, March 2021.

Amid all of the recent cooking at home, upgraded kitchen equipment has become an especially welcome commodity, and no tool eases food preparation more than an exquisite knife. “A high-quality, handcrafted knife is razor sharp, balanced, comfortable to use, and easy to sharpen,” says Kirsten Dressler Wilson, vice president of the Ojai-based
Messermeister (messermeister.com) cutlery company. “It makes it so much easier to chop ingredients fast. The first time you use a great knife, you finally realize how bad your old knives really were.”

Wilson, who runs the family-owned business with her sister Chelcea Dressler-Crowley and their mother Debra Dressler, should know. Her father, a German native, brought his passion for the premium, hand-forged cutlery of his homeland to the U.S. in 1981 and established the Messermeister (translation: knife master) line in 1985. Four decades
later, the brand encompasses a wide array of professional-quality chef knives, kitchen cutlery, and cooking tools, all of which can be purchased online and at selected retailers.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Efficiency Begets Quality Time

The Efficiency Project, from 805 Living Magazine's Pulse section, winter 2021.

The Efficiency Project, from 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.

Founded by sisters Alia Glasgow, an event producer, and Casey Geeb, an interior designer, The Efficiency Project (theefficiencyprojectsb.com) helps families create time-saving interiors that free up more precious moments to do the things they enjoy the most.

Creating a drop zone for keys near the entry to a home, for example, can save time spent
looking for them.

“Design and organization really do go hand in hand,” says Glasgow, who specializes in the organizing side of the business, “and the fact that we can support and brainstorm with each other on both means Casey’s design is stronger. I help her with the functional [aspects], and she makes it look really great.”

They also offer help for those moving from one home to another and enhancing the appeal of a home to live in or to sell.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Going With the Flow

From 805 Living Magazine's Pulse section, winter 2021.

From 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company (firestonebeer.com) ventures into new territory with Flow State, a monthly video series (youtu.be/Invvcsi2P24) hosted by adventurer Dylan Efron, who grew up on the Central Coast and honed his thirst for pushing the limits as a professional triathlete before becoming a producer and star of the Netflix show Down To Earth and launching the Off the Grid YouTube series with his brother, actor Zac Efron.

Flow State challenges world-class athletes and performers with outdoor exploits that are unfamiliar to them. For example, in one episode Brazilian professional skateboarder Leticia Bufoni learns to rock climb despite her fear of heights, and, in another, beach volleyball
superstar brothers Riley and Maddison McKibbin go off-roading.

“Outdoor adventure is a way of life around here, and it’s something we’re passionate about,” says Firestone Walker cofounder David Walker. “The Central Coast has been our home for 25 years, and as a local, Dylan is the perfect friend and partner to help us tell these stories.”

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.