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Home Energy Audit – What’s It All About?

August 27, 2009 1 comment

Welcome to another installment of our Sustainable Home Remodeling Series where we are documenting our efforts to “green update” our dated 1970 split-level home .  In this post, we’ll show you key elements of a home energy audit and talk about the general value of having one performed for your home.

We worked with Energy Logic who sent out one of their Professional Energy Raters, Byron Burns, to evaluate our home’s energy performance. 

Byron started his audit by conducting a general inspection of the home’s exterior, interior and mechanicals to look for obvious energy efficiency issues and opportunities to improve home performance.

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIrvSSpKB_E]

Next, Byron performed a blower door test to determine where the house leaks hot air in the winter and cool air in the summer.

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h_bqQLRN2w]

Then he tested the performance of our furnace and duct work.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HELjgGTbhhY]

The cost of a home energy audit can vary quite a bit depending upon the specific scope of services and size of your home.  We paid $325 for Energy Logic’s audit of our home and believe this to be money very well spent.  We now have a detailed report that provides clear, prioritized guidance for our efforts to make our home more energy efficient, which we know will decrease our operational costs and increase our comfort while we own the home.  We are also confident that having solid documentation of improvements to our home’s energy efficiency will increase its resale value when we put it on the market in a few years.

Watch for future posts on this topic.  We’ll be digging deeper into the Energy Logic report and discussing the HERS® score for our home in its current state, tracking our implementation of energy efficiency improvement projects, and conducting follow-up testing to determine our post-improvements HERS® score.

Landfill Diversion via Carpet Recycling

August 26, 2009 4 comments

HPIM1064Chances are good that at some point in time you have refreshed the flooring in your home.  In doing so, you probably generated loads of carpet and pad to be hauled off.  Whether you removed the carpet yourself, or had a contractor do it for you, it most likely went to your local landfill in which case you paid for its disposal, directly or indirectly.

This past weekend, Lara and I ripped carpeting and pad out of our house in preparation for the new floating cork floor we will be laying soon.  I don’t care how often you vacuum and shampoo your carpeting, when you get up close and personal with it to remove it after a few years in place, it is just plain disgusting.  In our case, we bought this house six years ago and until we moved in two months ago, rented it to folks with pets.  Needless to say, the carpet and pad we were handling went well beyond disgusting and into the nasty realm.

Earlier today, I walked out my front door to the view that you see in the picture above.  Our local construction materials salvage yard, ReSource, has helped us out immensely with landfill diversion during our remodeling project by accepting things like cabinets, light fixtures and old appliances.  However, I had asked around and searched a fair bit for carpet recycling options when we started our project, without success.  Still, the thought of driving carpet to the landfill and dumping it again was really bothering me. 

So I turned to google again, entered “recycling carpet” (without Ft. Collins in the search line this time), and hit upon a website I had not seen before by CARE (Carpet America Recovery Effort) .  CARE is a joint effort by the carpet industry and the government to encourage carpet and pad recycling and minimize the quantity of waste carpet going into our landfills.  You gotta believe that sustainable living and sustainable business practices are really starting to catch on when an older industry like carpet manufacturing gets proactive about it’s full product lifecycle.  Kudos to the carpet manufacturers!

Once on the CARE site, I clicked on the icon to find a carpet reclamation partner in my area and wound up chatting with Kristi at Colorado Reclamation Systems.  They’ve been operating for about three months now and have been swamped with folks who would rather recycle carpet than landfill it. 

To make a potentially long story short for now, I’ll be driving to CRS’s  facility some time next week to recycle our nasty old carpet.  They are in Denver so it is a bit of a haul.  But as their website points out, carpet makes up between 3% and 5% of the waste stream in our landfills, so it’s a drive well worth it.  I’ll post again after I visit CRS with more information about their operations, fees and potential plans to expand collection to other parts of Colorado.

Join the Green Homes Bike Tour!

August 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Tour de Green '07  Straw Bale HomeThe Green Team Real Estate would like to invite you to the second Tour de Green, our Fort Collins green homes bike tour.  Don’t miss this chance to visit 5 very unique and sustainable homes around Fort Collins by bicycle, with tours provided by builders or owners. We’ll provide breakfast to start the day, plus a picnic lunch to round out the tour.  (And it’s free!)  If you’re interested, the details follow.
 
Tour de Green '07 Morie HomeWhat:  See cutting edge energy and water conservation technologies and green materials you may want to someday install in your own home.  We’ll show you a home with a 10kW solar PV system and geothermal heating, a home with a gray-water catchment system and its own wind turbine, a turn of the century bungalow remodeled with nearly all reclaimed building materials, and a project to refresh a dated 1970s home.
 
Where:  Meet at the Grey Rock Common House, in northwest Fort Collins, at 2265 Shooting Star Lane (please click here for a community map)  where we will begin with a light breakfast followed by a short presentation and a tour of their unique and very sustainable co-housing community. From there we’ll hit 4 additional homes.
 
When:  Sat, Sept 12, approximately 9am-1pm.  (Come early for breakfast. We’ll have food available by 8:45.)
 
How:  Come on your bicycle, whatever type you may have. We’ll ride a total of about 6 miles between our 5 sites. This tour is designed to suit most abilities. 
 
Please RSVP to Lara@GreenTeamRE.com  with the names of the people who will be attending by August 24.   (No kids under 13 please.)  We’re capping attendance at 40 people so make sure to RSVP promptly.
 
We look forward to seeing you and hope you can join us!