This blog entry was originally posted by the author on Feb 14, 2012 at The Village Greener.
So we're four weeks away from breaking ground on our "green" home remodel. We've spent quite some time preparing for what promises to be a massive project, originally sparked by the impending birth of baby #3.
Baby #3 is now 2+ years old, and the urgency of completing the project "because the baby is coming" has been eclipsed by the urgency of not enduring another Chicago-area Winter in this drafty 110-year-old house, with its poor "thermal envelope" (we picked this up from our friend and energy auditor who came to measure just how drafty our house really was) and its need for just one more little bedroom to help a baby who, I hate to admit, is facing preschool but still in need of some serious sleep training — my Attachment Parenting self might instead say "self soothing" — in her own little private corner of the house where she can cry a little at bedtime if she needs to! :-)
We're daunted by the project but excited at the same time. We plan to achieve supreme energy efficiency by sealing up said thermal envelope, incorporate a geothermal heating and cooling system, and wiring for solar. If budget allows, we'll try to incorporate a metal roof — which deflects the sun's heat and keeps the house cool during those global warming — I mean, intermittently uberwarm Chicago Summer days.
We're also hoping to get permitted for the first residential greywater system in our town of 50,000; we think, if we get approved, we'll have the second such system in the Chicago area, after the Yannell Zero Net Energy Home. If we're able to install a greywater system, we expect to save about 27% of our home water use by recycling water from tubs, showers, and laundry to use in flushing toilets. We're working with the IL Department of Public Health plumbing department on this one (cripes!) and hope for a final verdict any minute now. Cross your fingers! We'll keep you posted on how it all goes.
Write in if you have specific things you want to hear about as we endure (I mean enjoy, anticipate) our green remodel, or pop us a line to let us know how YOUR green remodel went, what tips you have, and the odds of our household, our marriage, and our 3 young children surviving it!