What? We don’t own the power company?

It’s official. I’ve become my dad. 

I turn out lights others leave on, I shut doors that are left leaking cool air down the steps and onto my lawn, and I scream rather stupid statements out to no one in particular questioning ownership of the water or electric company; somehow believing that realization that we DON’T own these companies will change the behaviors of my family and employees (It won’t).

Is it the environment I care about or my wallet or is it something that hits men after middle age as sort of an inherited attitude about conservation?

Until a few months ago I was pretty good at conservation on utilities everywhere – except in one place – the shower. I admit it: I take long hot showers. In my daily hot shower I would brush my teeth, shave, and of course; shower. All while planning my day’s activities.    But during a power point presentation on the MA-Green Homes I was giving about water heating comprising up to 17% of an electric bill I made a decision:  I would practice what I preach and be a shower hogger no more: I was going to go all the way green.

Many of you may remember water saving shower heads from the cheap motels on the highway. I’m  recalling  an incredibly small shower head that was more like taking a shower under a mist sprayer than a real shower. By the time the water got to my feet it was not only cold, but didn’t have enough volume to create a swirl at the drain. 

Today’s water savers are different, much different. They have a way of combining the water and air in such a way that you still have a pleasurable shower.  I chose the Delta Faucet 75152 Water Amplifying Adjustable Showerhead with H2OKINETIC Technology, Chrome . Of course there are many to choose from. So far I’m pleased with the results.  Slowly I’m making my home as green as it can be. Gail and I love our home and building a new one is just not feasible.

It’s not feasible or practical for most of us.  We  may not be able to afford to build a new green home from scratch, but there are  things we can do (like the shower head) that will make our house as efficient as a new refrigerator and not as inefficient as the box that the refrigerator comes in.

The top money savers in home retrofit for green:

1.    Conserve Water. Install double flush toilets, water saving shower heads, and repair leaky pipes. Clean your water heater elements or replace them. Use rain harvesting systems for irrigation.

2.    Repair, seal  and insulate your “Building Envelope”.  Leaky Windows, poor insulation and weather-stripping all should be attended to.

3.    Mind the Sun.  Here in Florida think strategic plantings , plantation shutters, and tinted windows with E-glass

4.    Upgrade your air-conditioning to a high SEER unit.

5.    Replace your hot water heater for a solar one or one with a heat pump.

6.    Turn off all TVS and non essential appliances when not in use. .Consider plugging all your entertainment components into a batter back up surge protector that has a master shut off.

7.    Buy Energy Star Appliances

8.    Put in a programmable thermostat.

9.    Switch to Compact Fluorescent Lights  (CFL) and consider room activity sensor switches that will automatically turn off lights when they are not being used.

For those of you that are thinking of going green from the ground up I urge you to consider a Net Zero home from MA-Green Homes.  We have sold our first models and are looking for lots and land for the next series.  If you are going to build a home, quite honestly I can’t figure out why you would EVER want to build anything BUT a Net ZERO home.  I’m talking about a home with a HERS rating of ZERO, NADA — ZILCH   Over the period of a year NO electric costs.


What are the big trends in Green Building:

1.    Modular or off site built homes. More efficiently built to more stringent standards. These homes are generally built with 2X6 frame with closed cell foam insulation.

2.    Outcome based energy ratings. Think tested for how it will actually perform instead of each component being rated. We like the HERS test.

3.    Monitored Consumption. Today’s technology will allow us to see, on our iPhone, for example, how much each power each appliance will be consuming.

4.    Residential Grey Water use.. Blue is the new green, and we will be doing more with less water – and reusing it within the home.

5.    Power meters that run both ways.  Home with Photo Voltaic  generation currently have meters that run backwards as they produce more than they consume on sun filled days.

Perhaps the most important trend in Green Building is that lenders are getting the message.  Want to invest $25,000 in eliminating your electric bill? We have lenders that understand this and will consider the money savings in qualifying the borrower based on these savings.

Let us help you decide how to move forward with your green plan. Whether retrofitting a home or building new. 

Net Zero – Why would you build any other way?   (We won’t)

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