Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog

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10+ Simple Retrofits for Older Homes

When it comes to being an Eco-Star every home can shine
...even an old "castle"...

Simple  changes at home can add up to real benefits for your family, neighborhood and the world.  Here's an ever-expanding list of  things you can do to retrofit or GreenUP an older home  that Sharon Simms  over at the ECO-All-Stars Group  started .

Steve Dalton added to it, and that's how the "seed" that Sharon planted began to "sprout".  Soon, John Cilladi, REALTOR, EcoBroker, e-PRO  told us about a  fluorescent light bulb he has had since 1994 that is still going strong after 13 years.  WOW! Is that amazing, or what??

OK y'all! I'm liking this conversation.

 It's Spring! And I got to thinking "Spring Cleaning" ...and recycling. Did you know that according to the National Institutes of Health we generate about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year!  That's more than 4 pounds per person per day.                GLUNK!

SO! Recycle in your castle. You could  recycle glass bottles, save electricity and create countertops like this one by IceStone    that offers "  an environmentally friendly alternative to natural stone and solid surface materials. The non-porous, durable and heat-resistant qualities make them a good match for kitchens and bathrooms. <S> Because the material can be shaped, cut, inlaid or mounted it can used for of applications from backsplashes to countertops to flooring. Due to its high recycled content, IceStone materials can be used for LEED qualification."

By the way!  IceStone received a Silver certification from Cradle To Cradle (one of my favorite organizations)  for its commitment to environmentally intelligent design."

Here's the list...so far...
YOU ARE  MOST WELCOME to add your Spring GreenUP Tip for Older Homes

 

1.Tankless water heaters.  Very popular in Europe. Hmmmm. Maybe they know more about preserving castles.

2.Compact fluorescent bulbs. You can replace the incandescent bulbs, one at a time as they burn out. John's record for fluorescent bulb: 13 years! (see above)

3.Radiant Barriers. Reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss, and thus lower heating and cooling costs. The barriers consist of a highly reflective material that reflects radiant heat rather than absorbing it. 

4.Solar Panels . Modular panels that can be designed to meet any electrical requirement, no matter how large or how small.

5. Weather stripping. Caulk and check is as needed. And check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces to see if it meets the levels recommended for your area.

6. Natural stone and solid surface materials. Love this one (See link above)

7. Geothermal Heat Pump Systems. Replace your old one when the time comes. They use 25%-50% less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems and save  money.

8.Task Lighting. Direct light where you need it. Save energy and money.Good for romantic cooking. Better than candlelight they tell me .

9. Renewable Energy.  According to Wikipedia this is "energy derived from resources that are regenerative or for all practical purposes cannot be depleted."   Try solar-powered outdoor lights . Consider, too choosing renewable energy from your utility to even producing solar electricity at home with photovoltaic (PV) cells. Also check out Wikipedia for more info on renewable energy in the form of:

10. Sayeth the U.S. Department of Energy

Green-o--Lina!

 Photo courtesy of our Firm's photographer.

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Copyright © 2007 All Rights Reserved  Asheville ECO Real Estate: Trends, Legacies & The Home Place Greenolina

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Comments

Sharon started it...now YOU're "It"... great ideas for energy efficient/green retrofits welcome..
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

I'm copying this  to add to the lsit...

You can also install a rainwater collection system and use the collected water for a lot of things, including watering the lawn and any animals and sometimes even washing your clothes (much softer water).  There are even those in town in Austin these days.  Quite trendy.

 

 

03/25/2007 by Tricia Jumonville

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
I saw these counter tops first on Living With Ed then at the Home and Garden show - gotta love it. Don't forget that CFL's have mercury - recycle!
Posted by Dena Stevens, Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004 (Rocky Mountain Realty ) over 11 years ago
Dena...I saw them on Living with Ed, too!  Your comment reminded me how much I learned by watching Rachelle and Ed Begley's show...including:
Fluorescent Light Bulbs  Energy Saving Thermostats
Extra Insulation  Double Pane Windows
Energy Efficient Refrigerator  Energy Efficient Washer and Dryer
Home Gardening  Energy Star
Natural and Recycled Furniture  Non-Toxic Cleaners & Paints
Air Purifiers  Green Energy
Recycled Glass Countertops

 

Ed wrote: "The company that created the countertops made from recycled material is Vetrazzo. They take different materials to come up with various colors and designs. They use anything from broken glass thrown out in recycling bins to used traffic lights. I think it's a creative way to take objects that most would consider trash and turn it into something functional and beautiful.

The top that Rachelle and I ended up choosing is called "Hollywood Sage" and is made from broken up soda bottles. There are over 1,000 bottles used just to make the countertop for our small kitchen.

If you want more information about having these types of countertops installed into your home, go to this website: http://www.vetrazzo.com/ "

 

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Eloise...Rain Barrels! What a great idea! How much do your friend's cost/...what do they look like?...I have a hundred questions...I was curious, so went to this site where I found this information:

"Collecting rainwater for use during dry months in rain barrels or other depositories is an ancient and traditional practice. Historical records show that rainwater was collected in simple clay containers as far back as 2,000 years ago in Thailand, and throughout other areas of the world after that. With the rising price of municipal water and drought restrictions now facing much of the United States during the summer months, more and more homeowners in our own modern society are turning to the harvesting of rainwater to save money and protect this precious natural resource..."

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
I don't have additional ideas as far as homes go, but I recently learned of a car repair shop that is recycling the oil he drains as his heating oil - low cost for him, and low impact on the environment.  Wonder if there is another household-wise like that that can be utilized?
Posted by Liz over 11 years ago
Don't forget about changing out cabinets especially in the kitchen with those made from nontoxic materials and glues . Some can continue off gassing for up to a decade.
Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 11 years ago
In Hawaii with our tropical sun, solar panels will really cut the electric bills.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
In my area there has been talk of wind derived energy however there has been opposition because of the look of the giant fans as well as the impact on birds.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 11 years ago
In my area there has been talk of wind derived energy however there has been opposition because of the look of the giant fans as well as the impact on birds.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 11 years ago
Liz...I had not heard of recycling gas station oil drains until you mentioned it. I went right on over to Google and found a whole batch of ideas on the subject here
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
Hey Bill! That gives me an idea for around the house... It might be a great project to do with kinds/grandkids...make your own non-toxic glue. <-- There's  the link that shows how to do it. It sounds like FUN.
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
Hi Randy... Great idea--solar panels...Here in North Carolina, the NC Solar Center offers quick links to popular information about renewable energy for homes:
Residential Design Reviews 
NC HealthyBuilt Homes
Buying Green Power For Your Home
Renewable Energy Financial Incentives
Million Solar Roofs Initiative
Information Resources
That got me wondering if other states have similar programs... Anyone know?
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

I live in an old colonial farmhouse (c. 1754).  We have an inground pool.  One of the ways that we help cut the costs of operating the pool included tapping in to the springhouse on our property.  A simple PVC pipe set just under the ground lets me pump the natural spring water accross the yard and into the pool whenever I need to fill the pool.  I can run the pump for about 30 minutes at a time, and then I have to wait for nature to do its thing, and refill the springhouse (about 3 hours, and it has 2 feet of water in it)  It takes about 3 days like this, but it saves me hundreds of dollars on my water bill compared to using public water.

Posted by Rich Schiffer, Referral Agent, e-PRO over 11 years ago
Rich...This is so interesting! I would love to see a photo of your c 1754 farmhouse!...and the springhouse, too! I am wondering about the water quality if you use the spring to fill your pool...do you chlorinate it or use another method?
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
I have used the Nature 2 system in pool with great results.
Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 11 years ago

Another great idea, which by the way would look fantastic on an old castle, is creating green space.  Installing a green roof or living wall would reduce heating and cooling bills, reduce stormwater runoff, and support the native species of the area.  (besides they look great)

Check out these sites to get more info:
www.americangreenroof.com
www.greenroofs.com

The upfront cost of installing green area may scare some people, but the fact that it will double or triple the life of a black roof and reduce enery costs and comsuption makes it well worth it.

 

Posted by Burbank Construction (Burbank Construction) over 11 years ago
THANKS for the heads-up, Bill.  Do you have a resource link to chlorination in pools as opposed to other  methods for controlling what shouldn't be hanging out in pools when dogs and people are in them?
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Did you mention insulated windows?  I know in South Florida, impact resistant windows are popular for the obvious reasons, but their insulation factor is also amazing to keep heat in or out when necessary and thus saving electricity. 

The other number 1 insulator is natural tree shade!  Let those trees grow and prune them regularly with a certified arborist that knows what they are doing - you do not  need to trim big branches away from a house, you need to let wind flow naturally through the branches.  Can you tell I am a tree hugger?

Sorry I am a little late, but I appreciate the invitation.

Posted by Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate (Majestic Properties) over 11 years ago
Tree Hugger, eh? Isn't it amazing how cooling  it is to find shade near your home...or on a path...it is cooling not only physically, but in an "mentally" I suspect. Great idea about letting the wind flow naturally through the branches, Ines!  ...and you are welcome to stop by any time and add to this list... THX!
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Here is a link to a company in Canada that sells Living Wall systems:

http://www.eltlivingwalls.com/livingwall-projects.html

You can also propagate vines, which are naturally invasive and spread quickly.  It is like having an extra layer of insulation on your exterior walls.

Posted by Burbank Construction (Burbank Construction) over 11 years ago
Now I like these walls. My wife would thoroughly enjoy picking out the just the right plants for each side.   
Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 11 years ago

Eloise! I had never thought of adding solar ovens!!! as per your comment:

In one home, not only did they heat the home and all water they used with solar energy, they were cooking outside with their solar ovens. So let's add solar ovens to our list.

YAY! That sounds like FUN!, too!

Would love to have a photo essay/story of eco-wise homes in your part of the world.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Hello "Burbank"..You have that nickname forever now..not unless you want us to cal you something else(???   Hey! THX for this: creating green space.  Installing a green roof or living wall would reduce heating and cooling bills, reduce stormwater runoff, and support the native species of the area.  (besides they look great)..and this...propagate vines, which are naturally invasive and spread quickly.  It is like having an extra layer of insulation on your exterior walls...

 

one question..can those vines be GRAPE vines?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
Liz...I have been thinking about your comment on wind derived energy...like you, I have heard that some of the modern wind mills have interrupted migratory birds and killed/maimed...I have also heard that this situation has been mediated..does anyone know about this??
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
Ines...Yours might be one of my favorite "retrofits"...number 1 insulator is natural tree shade!  Let those trees grow and prune them regularly   ..come to think of it...what could be more FIT than that?
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

JaneAnne - it's back to GREEN BASICS!

Posted by Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate (Majestic Properties) over 11 years ago
Fun comment thread-had never heard of green roofs before!
Posted by Leigh Brown, CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC (Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive) over 11 years ago
ShhhZAMMMmm  Ines...We are green belts in retro-fit shape!!..and speaking of the basic ...here is a good link for Green Building 101 ...could be some interesting retro-fit solutions to add to our list there!
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Hi Janeanne:

Speaking of insulation, many folks do use icynene  in green retrofitting to seal crawl spaces, insulate under floors,  as well as to replace regular fiberglass insulation in attics.  

Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 11 years ago

Leigh... Hi...in your sunny part of the world, you may want a green roof! Saves energy and $$$.

According to Wikipedia...

A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. The term does not include roofs which are merely colored green, as with green shingles. It may also include additional layers such as a root barrier and drainage and irrigation systems. Container gardens on roofs, where plants are maintained in pots, are not included in this discussion, as they are not considered true green roofs (though this is an area of debate). The term Green Roof can also be applied to roofs that have some form of purpose considered "green", such as solar panels or a photovoltaic module. Green roofs are also referred to as eco-roofs, living roofs or greenroofs (a more grammatically correct 

I should do a whole article on this as it may be happening here in Asheville on the Woodfin Power Plant that is scheduled to  be built on the old landfill. Talk about a retro-fit!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

janeAnne
grape vines is a good question.  i guess it could be done if you add some sort of lattice or support.  i think that grape vines need something to wrap themselves on, whereas other vines are better suited to cling to the exterior surfaces.

as for serving the purpose of sustainability, grape vines have the ability to grow thick, which provides the potential for a tremendous amount of heat absorption.  the plants, by absorbing the surrounding heat, provide for better energy efficency year round.

rob

Posted by Burbank Construction (Burbank Construction) over 11 years ago

JA,

I guess I willjoin the treehuggers group.

We just planted A weeping willow, 2 red maples, an orange tree, and last year, a black swamp gum sapling that is now 4 ft tall!

On our deck we have 3 japanese maples in pots that will go in the ground next year!

I think I need a bigger yard!

Ginger

Posted by Ginger Sala, Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~ (Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC) over 11 years ago
Great tips! I will be moving into an older home soon and would love to make it more eco-friendly and energy efficient. Thanks for all the great info. I'm starting a list.
Posted by Cottage Neighborhood (Cottage Neighborhood) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the reference, janeAnne. If we all keep adding to the ideas we can create a groundswell. How about everyone with an idea not only add it to the Green Group, but also put "green retrofit" into the keywords - then we can all search by the keyword.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 11 years ago

rob ("burbank")---thanks for  your follow-up on grape vines...when I was in Obidos, Portugal, I saw bougainvillea vines that were 300+ years old on the village buildings there...They were the size of great ropes that would be used to anchor an ocean liner!  it was an amazing sight and one I recalled when you mentioned vines... 

now about  vines... I've seen ivy...that  could cause problems in the walls, yes?...and attract spiders ,too... do you know anything about this that you could share?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
Ginger...tree huggers and vine aficionados! = energy efficient, shade -producing, natural and FUN! (not to mention beautiful)
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
Shelly...THX!  Hey...if you get that list in a Word. Doc...would you share it? Love to have it here ..in one piece (so to speak)...although it is more like a tapestry we created together.
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Sharon...What a great idea...YES! Please do add green retrofit to your key words.

Here's a question for y'all...since mold growth, peeling paint, and rotting wood are indicate high moisture levels ( a problem in many older homes) what's your green remedy? (I don't remember seeing anything about this on this conversation so far)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
janeAnne - I'm really impressed with the enthusiasm you bring to ECO-wise homes. You've sparked my interest in Green -- I'm just a rookie now, but with all of the great info you're providing here I'll make it to the big leagues in no time!
Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 11 years ago

john!YAY! Nothing like being "green" in Las Vegas! As I recall, Renee wrote an article about LV Green during our Green is Red Hot Contest... I think she talked about water use/conservation ...Yep. Here's the link.   Now the thing is...this is a topic that we could look into. How do you retrofit your older home to improve the use of water...

 

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Everyone...I'm following up on a bit of research on the subject of moisture in older homes and remedies...

Seems there are alternative green insulation products...environmentally friendly insulation products  such as blown-in cellulose insulation made from 100 percent recycled newspaper and treated with borates for fire-resistance and protection against insects is labeled by the Environmental Protection Agency for effectiveness against termites, cockroaches, ants, earwigs, and many other insects. This product contains no free formaldehyde, no ammonium sulfate, no fiberglass, and no asbestos.

Another product winning green accolades in the market place is polyisocyanuate, a rigid material that per thickness has a higher R value than batt or blown-in fiberglass, cellulose, and cotton insulation. Polyiso also provides an effective moisture barrier when used with laminated aluminum foil facers in masonry cavity wall applications. This type of insulation can be installed between furring strips when the walls in your house need to be replaced altogether. Another green insulation product is cotton insulation made from recycled denim; this product is itch-free and easy to install. It is also treated with borates to keep insects away.

An early insulating material still on the market today is Homasote fiber board, which consists of 100 percent recycled newspaper mixed with a small amount of other ingredients, including paraffin wax as a water repellent and copper metaborate for resistance to fungi, termites, and carpenter ants. It's a great soundproofer, and although it has an R-value of only 1.2, South Pole explorers in the 1930s and '40s lined their buildings with it.

NOW THAT's INTERESTING!  and you can find more information at the Old House Journal, right were I found the above.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Everyone!

Don't miss John Cilladi's expose on his tankless water heater! he writes: It was just about that time that the hot water tank sprung a leak. Being the obsessive handyman that I am, I began a search for the ultimate replacement. It turned out to be a $425 Bosch tankless water heater. I was going to put that propane to good use. Yoy'll love his story at this link.  BTW, John's  the guy with the 13 year old fluorescent light bulb!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

As you know, I read your BLOG every week. I am always surprised at what you come up with next. This week you have given me an introduction to some very cool realtors across the country and then surprised me by tossing in a "stager". Up until now I had just heard rumors about staging. Now I have a clue about what that is all about. Sounds like a good idea, by the way.

What I really liked too this week is this article on retrofitting older homes and the fact that you inlcuded so many others in your discussion.

I am working on my old house. My main thig was mold and mildew, and I am still struggling with that. Any hints?

Posted by John Thomas over 11 years ago
Hi John: One of the first things is checking your duct work. Many professionals recommend going all metal. The fiberboard stuff just attracts alot of mold/mildew over the years.
Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 11 years ago

Bill...

WOW!!! some idea...all metal duct work...Tell us more about this. Somehow it reminds me of metal fillings in my teeth...do you have a link for us to explore?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
I collect rainwater.  I have rain barrels at the corners of my garage and gutters runs into it.  I have a pump that I use to operate my garden sprinkler.  I also use the water to water my potted plants and to fill my gold fish pond.  This free water comes in very handy.
Posted by Vicky Poe, Realtor/ Auctioneer (Good Ole Rocky Top) over 11 years ago
Vicky~  Now I am wondering if there is a special place where you can get your barrels and pump? And are they attractive?
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago
So many great ideas.  Good job.
Posted by Anna Wiseman (RE/MAX Crossroads) over 11 years ago

Anna~ 

Appreciate your kind comment. I actually saw a photo posted on Localsim.com of a toilet today. I wondered if it was an April Fool's Joke..What do you think?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

As a Stager, Interior Designer and "Flipper", I often come across used building materials, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, etc. sitting out by the curb, or heading for the dumpster.  It breaks my heart to see (sometimes) beautiful cabinets or doors or pedestal sinks or whatever that are being torn out for another wood species/style/remodel/whim go in the dumpster or landfill. We are fortunate to have a Habitat for Humanity Builders' Store nearby and I am always hauling truck loads of my finds over to them. Some of the contributions are used in Habitat homes and the rest is sold in their store. The proceeds from the store go into building more Habitat Homes. I can't tell you how many great things I have purchased there (how about a $2,500 Cesame sink for $250, or thousands of dollars worth of Walker Zanger tile for pennies on the dollar?) and used in staging projects, high end interior design jobs or one of my own "Flipper" projects. If you have a Habitat Store in your area, please support it with donations of building supplies or remnants of your remodel (in good usable condition) or by shopping there. A simple act can touch many lives.

Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design, Pasadena, CA

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) over 11 years ago
Michelle...Thanks for the clue about Habitat for Humanity. We just found a fabulous piece for our office there...I think it may have been a display case for shirts at one time....Now it holds all kinds of real estate flyers and hand-outs. Perfect storage. We include a Habitat for Humanity brochure in  our Listing Folders, BTW>
Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Good Idea JaneAnne! I'm going to get a bunch of brochures from Habitat today to give to my Staging clients. Thanks!

Michelle Minch, Moving Mountains Design, Pasadena, CA

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) over 11 years ago

Michelle~

The Asheville Board of REALTORS has an active contingent working right now  on  a home for Habitat. You can see photos of the REALTOR crew here!  So another idea for this post might be active participation in local projects. Where  int he case of Habitat, REALTORS are making a contribution, maybe there is also a way for us to help out in retrofit situations...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 11 years ago

Anna~ 

Thank you so much. It's always about possibility, isn't it? And our genius for solving energy problems at home.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago

Everyone~

Your comments reminded me of this:

Fluorescent Light Bulbs  Energy Saving Thermostats
Extra Insulation  Double Pane Windows
Energy Efficient Refrigerator  Energy Efficient Washer and Dryer
Home Gardening  Energy Star
Natural and Recycled Furniture  Non-Toxic Cleaners & Paints
Air Purifiers  Green Energy
Recycled Glass Countertops

Ed Begley is a big proponent of energy efficiency

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

janeAnne,

Insulation of yesterday used in older homes generally is way behind today's product efficiency. Not only that but the insulation will deteriorate over time, so replacing it everywhere in the house would greatly improve energy savings. High-performance fiberglass window is the next step in window development.

Posted by Esko Kiuru over 10 years ago
Great Job, Retro fitting is very important since most homeowner won't have the luxury of starting over.
Posted by Mary Bowen, Real Estate At Its Finest!!! (Coldwell Banker United, Realtor) over 10 years ago

JaneAnne! You sure have a way of getting a conversation going and keeping it going! There are so many great ideas here!

One very simple thing - check your home for holes where energy can leak out for instance, around the dryer vent, places where pipes enter and exit the home. It is amazing how much energy loss and air infiltration there can be through a small crack! Be sure all those entry's and exit's are sealed! The same goes for ductwork!

Great blog!

Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) over 10 years ago

Hi janeAnne,

I'm glad that this one was brought back up to the top! 

As for Bill's comment on Cabinets off-gassing, mine still are and they are from 1982.  :(  I'm hoping to seal them this year when I redo my kitchen...

And John Thomas' comment about mold and mildew, We get A LOT of that down here.  I am going to start changing out my windows and door to keep some moisture out of the home.  I don't have any ideas, but I'm hoping that someone hops in and gives us an answer on how to get rid of it without using that nasty CLOROX.

 

Posted by Stephanie Edwards-Musa, knitwit at thred UP (thredUP.com) over 10 years ago
Hi Stephanie - I had a friend go through some hefty mold remediation. She used something special I'll give her a shout.
Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) over 10 years ago
Thanks everyone for your great brainstorming. Coming from an area that's not yet very "green-thinking" it's inspirational to have this great forum to discus and share ideas.
Posted by Blowing Rock Real Estate Boone Real Estate (Blowing Rock Investment Properties) over 10 years ago

Janeanne, you know there are some builders in the Asheville area that are starting to consider specializing in Green Retro-fits. I think there is a viable market out there especially for folks looking for existing homes in their favorite location with creeks, streams and mountain views.

Mary and Stephanie, I would also  like to hear about mold. mildew removal without bleach. Thanks!   

 

Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 10 years ago

Esko~

Good to hear from you. You commented,, " High-performance fiberglass window is the next step in window development." That's interesting to know and something we all may want to keep in mind...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

Mary~ 

Like you in TX, here in Asheville, we are finding the idea of retrofitting is very attractive to our clients.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

Mary B~

You advised..." The same goes for ductwork!" My son happens to be a HERS rater, so I know what you are talking a bout in a particular way...but I am wondering if you might expand on how/what to do to examine your DUCT WORK.. (<--and yes, I am giggling just a little bit)..=)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

Stephanie~

Yoou are right about nasty bleach -smell...you commented, " I'm hoping that someone hops in and gives us an answer on how to get rid of it without using that nasty CLOROX...." and I had this discussion not long ago with ...of all persons, my natural pet food store owner...she gave me some pretty good  stuff to remove odors made of essential oils...but this I owuld not use on butcher block...have you tried white vinegar??

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

Meris~ 

Hi and Welcome to AR and the ECO-All-Stars where we talk and talk and write great stuff and come up with all kinds of unusual and sometimes inspirational stuff...Hey! since you are just up there in Blowing Rock...come on down the next time we have a core class for your ECO Certification here in Asheville...you will love it!!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

Bill~' 

Great news!!!   Possibly, as we work on the Green Resources Directory this year...we could be sure to include builders who specialize in GREEN Retrofits!!!

 

everyone~  let me know what you think about that...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago
The other reason I think builders are specia;izing in green retrofits is that they end up learning new things that they dont normally see when doing new construction.   
Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) over 10 years ago
Thanks for starting this conversation. What A LOT of information there is in the comment section. Wow! Good stuff. Anybodyseriously interested in retrofitting homes green, please stay in touch. I'm starting as a realtor right now, but that is part of the long term goals for me. Old homes have so much more character, as do the neighborhoods that they are built int. I think, they are inherently more valuable than a newer home. And with the prices of materials, etc. coming down, greening them can be a really fun and affordable way to make good investments.
Posted by Alex Mordas, Green Building Consultant (EarthSTEPS) over 10 years ago
Here in Northern Virginia there is more and more interset in "green" retrofit every week.  We have just wasted too much energy over the years and now realize we have to make changes,  Karen
Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 10 years ago

Bill~

You mentioned a very interesting point. I hadn't even thought of it and want to emphasize it! You commented, ".... builders are specializing in green retrofits [because it] is that they end up learning new things that they dont normally see when doing new construction..."

thanks for that perspective. Always good to learn something new...and valuable.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Alex~


Another very good point! You commented. " ...Old homes have so much more character, as do the neighborhoods[in which] they are built..."

We have a number of neighborhoods being re-developed with care around Asheville(such as Montford)... How about you?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Karen~

I'm gearing up for Localism and have just returned to this post to find several new and very interesting points!

You commented, " ...We have just wasted too much energy over the years and now realize we have to make changes..." THANKS...good perspective and advice.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) about 10 years ago

Wonderful tips and ideas -thank you

Posted by Rhodes Waite about 10 years ago

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