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Monday, November 10, 2008

Not easy being Green

So Catskill Farms wants to be as green as the next guy and we do everything we can on a day in day out basis to use best practices to ensure our homes our as green and non-wasteful as possible.

Here are some pics of the new insulation that we using in homes that ask for it. It's a foam-based system that ensures a better seal and air-penetration barrier than the traditional pink panther.

One of the arguments against the traditional 'batt' insulation is that it leaves too many weak points and air penetration opportunities - especially in these times of high energy costs, having a house that neither leaks or allows air in is a plus.

It's pretty cool stuff - get's sprayed in each bay of the house, providing a pretty solid air barrier.

Kind of pricey too - about double the cost of traditional batt insulation. And when I saw how much was brushed into the dumpster I definitely sat the foreman down for a little chit chat.

There's a lot of pros and cons with all the new 'green' ways of building - most of the items don't add a lot of value, but a few do - orient the house to work passively with the sun, and use good construction techniques to minimize waste, air penetration and heat loss.
Other ways to conserve include energy efficient appliances, florescent lighting, improved insulation, improved window glazing, automatic thermastats, low VOC paints, stains and polys, oriented strand plywood and sheathing, duel flush toilets, on demand hot water.
Since Green means more green (dinero), they also have green mortgages for people spending a little extra in an attempt at long terms savings. Some of the better products can also reduce the cost of homeownership over the long run. For those really wanting to spin the electric meter backwards, solar heat, hot water and electric are an option, and there are some serious federal and state rebates for those who go for it. It's still expensive and still a pretty long payback period but if you want to be off the grid and really stick it to the coal manufacturers that supply our energy grid with juice, there is no better way. Throw in a little wind mill ...
But, to be honest, saving money while owning a house comes more down to using the house intelligently - setting the heat at a reasonable level, turning down the heat and turning off the lights when no one's around, taking shorter showers, wearing a sweater, using the fireplace. it was kind of funny that using common sense saw such a marketing push over the past year disguised as a 'new way of living' - to me, it's the same old living, just maybe with a little more consciousness of consumption and waste.
It's winter and there are some precautions that need to be taken to protect your house - but that list is for another day.
Today, Lisa spent 2 hours trying to get her and 4 wk old Lucas to the local dump to get rid of our recycling, diaper bag and assorted garbage and she finally gets out the door and to the dump and what does she find but the dump is closed because of course Veteran's Day falls on a Tuesday (?) this year.