Thinking green homes means ugly or out-of-reach? Think again. Improvements can be simple or extensive, depending on your budget and willingness to undergo a little unconventional planning. Wilton Go Green, a group of volunteers whose goal is to develop sustainable initiative, is sponsoring a tour of four local green homes from 1 to 5:30 on Saturday, May 20, in Wilton and New Canaan, CT. Tickets are $20/person or family.
1. This Wilton home reflects the owners’ desire to avoid the excesses and waste of an oversized house, and to live comfortably with an eye to environmental responsibility. Thoughtful planning, including thorough insulation, a heating system run by a computer that senses the outside temperature and regulates the high efficiency boiler, “low e” glass in the windows, and a heat recovery and air exchange system all contribute to an energy-efficient residence. The owners’ love of history, structure and sculpture and their desire to recycle rather than throw away is reflected in the remodeled, attached 1850′s barn that serves as guest quarters for visiting family.
2. A Craftsman style ranch home, also in Wilton, includes options available to the average homeowner, including a geothermal system. The old siding was removed, new insulation installed, the house re-sided with a maintenance-free concrete/wood by-product, and a composite decking material included.
3. A 1775 home in Wilton’s historic district required special consideration when its owners decided to remodel and add a new wing. The addition, barely visible from the front of the house, hosts updated mechanical systems, and the entire home is now thoroughly insulated. A geothermal system heats and cools the home, and photovoltaic solar panels provide supplemental electricity. This historic home has been successfully retrofitted to be more energy efficient while maintaining its architectural integrity.
4. No details were overlooked in an Adirondack style LEED platinum-certified home in New Canaan. The “envelope” of the home is as airtight as possible, and native, natural, and sustainable materials, including stones on the fireplace, chimney and the chimney, were used in its construction. The house is extensively insulated, most windows are triple pane, and reclaimed lumber and FSC-certified Northeastern wood products were used for the structure and other interior items. The home includes countless other details, including solar thermal panels on the roof and pole-mounted photovoltaic solar panels,
All participants must sign in, present photo ID, and pick up maps at Old Town Hall, 69 Ridgefield Road, Wilton, beginning at 1 pm on May 20th. Everyone may tour the three Wilton homes. Tours of the New Canaan home, at 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm, are limited and are by reservation only; reservations may be made the day of the tour at Old Town Hall beginning at 1 pm. Parking at Old Town Hall is available behind the building, accessed off Belden Hill Road.
The Spring Green Homes Tour has been sponsored by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority through the Community Innovations Grant Program.
Lisa M. Bender, Lisa@CTClassicHomes.com
Green Living, Maintaining Your Home
Being “green” has a different meaning for all of us. Plus, we all have different motivations for wanting to be “green.” To make your contribution to the environment doesn’t mean you have to go as far as installing solar panels and wind turbines on your property. There’s no doubt, if we all make a small effort to develop a minimal green practice in our everyday lives, we will help the environment and our wallets too!
Just as so many of us are now in the habit of bringing our reusable bags to the grocery store, there are also easy, low-cost things you can do around your house to make your home and lifestyle more green. Here are some simple tips for things you can do (the last few items may cost a bit more up front but will be well worth the savings over time):
1) Use CFL or LED light bulbs
2) Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use
3) Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes to conserve water
4) Install low flow shower heads and faucet aerators
5) Insulate hot water heaters
6) Weather strip and caulk doors & windows
7) Clean filters once a month and replace periodically
8) Insulate attic and maybe other areas in need
9) When replacing appliances, go for ENERGY STAR appliances
10) When replacing older windows, replace with double pane, low-e models
Rather than do all of this yourself, you can get help by getting an energy audit on your home, which I highly recommend. In fact, many CT homeowners still qualify for a residential in-home energy assessment for only a $75 co-pay (the CT Energy Efficiency Fund covers the rest). Contact Green Star Energy Solutions to set up your energy audit (203) 744-1144 or visit www.gogreenstar.com. Not only will they improve your home’s energy efficiency during this one visit, they’ll also make recommendations for how you can make more serious improvements that result in big savings. You can also learn more about home energy audits by attending an Energy Challenge Workshop on Home Energy Audits at the Wilton Library on April 7 or April 14.
Christine O’Day CT Classic Homes/Higgins Group