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Posts Tagged ‘green building’

blogsite 152…But nary a drop to drink. At least not until we installed our new water system! Using well water as we do, we needed more than just a water softener and more than just a filter. To be truly eco-friendly, we couldn’t go the bottled water route and leave behind mountains of plastic bottles either.

Our solution was to go with Hague Water Systems. It’s reverse osmosis filtration extricates the hard minerals that can make well water taste metallic. Of course no expensive water bottles either! We are very happy with our results thus far.

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What would green renovating a bed and breakfast be if we didn’t get new Energy Star rated windows? Well that’s been our latest project and we’ve had a LOT of windows to replace. Older houses like our inn were not designed with the energy saving techniques widely in use today. They are often drafty which causes greater waste of energy to keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Weather proofing windows is probably the most important step you can take to making your home more energy efficient. Here’s a look at what we’ve done:

The installation

The installation

 

The view from the front

The view from the front

Okay, new energy efficient windows do not make any significant difference to the appearance of the inn but it will make a major difference on the energy bills!

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Recently we put together a presentation on green building and remodeling for a series of events here in Mathews on the environment. It was well received and fun to put together. It was held at the Methodist church of Mathews. We want to take this opportunity to also thank our friend and builder Michael Swiderski for his help not just with this presentation but will all the help he has given in our remodeling efforts.

The presentation

The presentation

 

Michael chats up an attendee

Michael chats up an attendee

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After searching our options, we found the perfect materials for the flooring in our suites. In our East River suite (formerly known as the Dalmatian suite) and Chesapeake suite (formerly known as the “Roman” suite) we went with bamboo. Morning star Bamboo to be exact. The stranded varieties are the most  environmentally friendly. Every time it is harvested, it grows back to it’s same maturity every 4 years or so. Far faster than trees and it doesn’t require replanting. It uses all of the harvested bamboo stock and is weaved together under high pressure. The finished product is stronger than regular bamboo and any type of wood flooring.

If everyone considering new flooring goes with bamboo as opposed to regular wood, we can make a big impact towards saving our environment. It also looks REALLY good! For the East River suite, we went with the “Tiger strand”. Here’s some photos of the installation and a close up of the flooring:

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Installing the floor

Installing the floor

Close up of Tiger Strand

Close up of Tiger Strand

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Anyone need a Lavendar sink? Got 2!

Anyone need a Lavender sink? Got 2!

One of the things that you learn to get used to when going through a renovation such as ours, is that there are going to be several appliances, fixtures, etc. that just get strewn about the property. So, having a commode sit outside our front door has become ordinary! Of course, we are trying to re-use as many of the fixtures as possible..those that are still in good condition, or still work with our design for each room. A lot of the toilets are being removed, however, as we are replacing most of them with the more environmentally friendly dual-flush commodes.  Greg also found 5 pedestal sinks on clearance at Lowes which managed to cost him a grand total of $9.99 each! That made parting with the lavender sinks a lot less painful.

    And, have no fear, all other fixtures, appliances, scrap materials that we are not re-using will go to our local ReStore facility that is operated by one of our favorite causes Habitat for Humanity. We have also managed to find some things at ReStore that we could use in our projects. If you have a ReStore in your area, it is a great place to find building materials and fixtures at a fraction of the cost. A wonderful way to recycle and reuse. Pass it on!

Tank thinks he has a new water bowl

Tank thinks he has a new water bowl

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Part of our efforts to renovate our B & B involves painting naturally. Trying to paint in the most environmentally friendly way involves using paints with little or no volatile organic compounds (VOC). Being that it is winter time and rather chilly out, opening all the windows in order to help dissipate paint fumes doesn’t exactly work for us. We’ve decided to go with Olympic Premium Interior paints. They have the Green Seal of approval as an environmentally friendly product. It is our hope that our efforts to renovate our bed and breakfast will result in being green certified ourselves.

Lori applies primer in the once red Captain's Room

Lori applies primer in the once red Captain's Room

The result of our painting efforts

The result of our painting efforts

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Something we realised right away upon purchasing our new inn was that sound traveled from one room to the other in our suites without impediment. That’s not good! It turns out that mere plywood stood between the walls and we found that we could speak to each other through them without raising our voices. So what to do? The solution lies in sandwiching green glue between two layers of drywall.

green-glue

Green glue is non toxic to both people and the environment. It acts as a viscoelastic damping mechanism when placed between two other rigid materials. It converts sound vibrations into heat, thus eliminating noise. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Well maybe not. The point is it works!

At our serene bed and breakfast, it is important to eliminate sound from one room to the other so that guests can enjoy the tranquil setting we strive to achieve. Below is a picture of the green glue being installed by Greg and his cousin Steve. It’s amazing how something so simple, so affordable, (compared to other soundproofing methods we researched), and so eco-friendly can work. And, it really is colored green!

Applying Green Glue to back of sheetrock

Applying Green Glue to back of sheetrock

Hanging the Sheetrock

Hanging the Sheetrock

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