Green Home Tour

Yet again, other opportunities and commitments have kept me from the blog. As much as I’d love to be a full time blogger, there is too much more to life for me to spend several hours (or even several hours a week) on the blog.

Yesterday, my wife and I were able to participate as docents on the annual Salt Lake City green homes tour. Sponsored by the Green Building Center, the tour highlights homes around the valley which are making use of recycled, natural, or less hazardous building materials, energy efficient features, and alternative energy sources. It was a lot of fun. My wife, an aspiring architect, met several professionals who specialize in “green” architecture. It was nice to see several features we have read about applied in real world situations. We loved the bamboo counters and flooring, cork floors, “paperstone” countertops, tiled wool carpet, reclaimed hardwood flooring, the creative use of windows to enhance natural lighting, and various ingenious methods to passively heat water and house. The owners of the house at which I was stationed had built an ingeniously simple “solar closet.” Twenty fifty-gallon drums of water were used to collect and retain heat over the course of the summer behind a plexiglass solar collector, which would heat the air in the insulated “closet” and passively filter through the house during the winter when the shutters were opened. There is obviously more to it than that, but I’m a graphic designer/librarian not an engineer. Suffice it to say that it is entirely low-tech and effective.

Its great to see these technologies become more widely accepted and accessible to the average citizen. While the initial investment is typically a little higher than the conventional options, they typically pay off through reduced energy consumption and replacement costs. They also reduce the health risks of the many potentially hazardous chemicals used in mainstream products (you know that nasty new-carpet smell? That ain’t good for anybody). The more we take advantage of these options, the better off we and our families will be.

Want to find out more about local “green” housing products, building materials, and designs? Check out the Redirect Guide, which lists all sorts of local progressive product suppliers (such as the Green Building Center and Underfoot Floors) and architects (such as CRSA and AMD—a firm owned and operated by women, a nice thing to see in a very male dominated industry). Another great resource for general green building ideas is the Green Home Guide.

If you’re building a home or considering a remodel, see if you can give green a chance.

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5 Responses to “Green Home Tour”

  1. Voice of Utah Says:

    It was a fascinating tour. The solar closet looked quite feasible, even without the advantage of having your own engineer. It was also the first time I had ever seen recycled-paper counters, and I was excited to learn that reclaimed wood is more readily available locally than I had imagined. It was inspiring.

  2. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Welcome back. I’ve been checking on the site off and on for almost a month, and thought you’d had enough of me and secretly moved to a new site.

    It does sound like really cool technology. I hope the trend continues. Look forward to another post, now that I know you’re not dead.

  3. cynthia Says:

    It is great to see you back again, I have missed reading your blogs. That would have been a great tour to take, building green is really something that I think needs to be utilized more often. Especially with the health and environmental concerns that are happening even more now.

  4. EVIL HMO Says:

    the houses were green? were there red ones too? j/k

  5. Salt Lake City countertops Says:

    I could relate to this. When you’re in front of the computer, your mind just goes blank. Yet when your outside, ideas are there alright, but the desktop pc is not around. Well, and you turn go crazy in everything you do- i’ll blog it. :))

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