One home at a time.
The motivation to change.
We probably all know the truth, but it’s difficult to admit: the hardest thing to change is ourselves. We have all the excuses in the world why we have put off doing what we know is in our own best interest. But occasionally, when we’re really lucky and the gods are smiling, we wake up one day and decide to do something. Something important. To change.
It is a liberating experience.
My liberating green moment came in the spring of 2009. I was contemplating the state of the environment 39 years after the first Earth Day (add hyperlink to story here) and realized I had done very little in the intervening years to make a difference.
I had gone from being actively engaged in the green movement to becoming a bystander. Sure we recycle at home and office, and we’re careful about water usage, reducing use of herbicides and pesticides on the landscaping and so forth. But who was I kidding…it wasn’t enough. No excuses.
I decided I had wasted enough time, and would begin making a difference. But where to begin? At home. The perfect place.
We live in a mid century modern home in Indianapolis, built in 1959. When we bought the home we spent lots of time doing the predictable renovations an older home needs: kitchen, bathrooms, the usual.
But the one thing we didn’t do is give the home a really good physical plant evaluation. In the years we’ve lived there the furnace guys, plumbers and contractors have trooped through the home, and never once did anyone comment on the health of the home’s critical operating systems: insulation in the building envelope, the HVAC system, the plumbing system, indoor air quality, etc.
Key insight: the contractors and service techs were there to do a job, solve a problem. That’s why I called them. It never dawned on me to do a little investigation on my own.
Now, I’m not a technical person, and DIY projects pretty much stop at changing light bulbs. But hey, I just got religion, and I wasn’t going to waste too much time.
But before I go too much further, here’s my caveat: as I have admitted to being pretty much clueless about the home as an operating system, my intention is to present my experiences – complete with all the mistakes, missteps, mishaps as well as the successes.
I’m a homeowner that wants to do something to make my place in the world a bit friendlier and sustainable. I’m not going to give advice, just share my experience. And hope that it helps make things a bit easier for other homeowners when they talk to their builder or contractor about making their home greener.
I started by doing some research, and I kept coming across this information about conducting a “blower door test.” So I called my HVAC contractor to see if he could come out and do a blower door test. He couldn’t. Did he know whom I could call to get one done? No. How about a duct leak test? Nope, sorry.
Hmm, This might not be as straight forward as I thought. So I got on the Internet. Checked out Angie’s List. No luck. Google was a bit more helpful, and I was able to locate one company in Indianapolis that could do this blower door test. So I made the call, scheduled an appointment and couldn’t wait to get started.
Posted: 1/8/2010 12:00:00 AM by
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