I know Christmas is still a few months off, but I thought I’d get Greenspiration Home’s list in a little early.
There are so many topics I’d like to explore on this site, and I know there are homeowners out there who have valuable stories and experiences to share. Some of them are even good writers, not that that is a pre-requisite. We have ways to help those who are compositionally challenged. It’s not literary prowess we’re looking for. It’s your perspective and the valuable lessons you have learned as a homeowner.
Here are just some of the topics on my list:
Sustainable Metal Roofing. Specifically, I’m looking for homeowners who have applied metal roofing (which I happened to believe is about as green as a roof can get) to a very traditional style home. We see metal roofs on farmhouses and modern designs, but what about your average suburban transitional?
Alternative Framing Methods. By this, I mean Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), or even steel framing. These framing methods offer many advantages, especially in hurricane or tornado prone areas. But they create other challenges. I’d like for a homeowner to share their experiences, good and bad.
Paved Permeable Surfaces. Nearly all brick manufactures have come out with permeable pavers, which are shaped so that water can seep through the seams and underlayment rather than run-off into the storm water drains. In some applications these products can help reduce drainage and erosion issues, and they help filter pollutants. I love to see a residential example of a beautifully designed hardscape using these products. But I wouldn’t mind hearing about a terribly misapplied project as well – as long as there is a lesson to be learned.
Recycled Flooring Materials. There are so many options out there that intrigue me personally as a homeowner with kids and pets. For instance, I’d love to hear from a homeowner who has used carpet squares (made from recycled materials) to create a custom flooring solution. These are great because if you stain a portion of the carpet, you simply replace the tiles that are damaged without having to replace the carpet.
Tankless Water Heaters. There are millions of these out there. For some reason it seems to be one of the few green building strategies that non-green builders adopted without a fuss. I know the pros and I know the cons. I’d like a homeowner who is willing to discuss both sides.
LED Technology. I’ve made no secret about my disappointment with the CFL lamps throughout my home – not because of the lighting, but because their performance (at least in my case) is unreliable and finding replacements is a nightmare. I’m optimistic about LEDs and even contemplating gradually switching out all of my fixtures. But I’d really like to hear from a homeowner who has lived with multiple LEDs first. Wouldn’t you?
Ductless Heating and Cooling. These are being used more frequently in commercial applications in the US, but applications occur in the residential realm as well. I love the idea of not having ducts, especially since so few contractors actually know how to properly size or design a duct system. Are they suitable for most climates in the US? Are they comparable in their ability to remove humidity from a home? You tell me!
Drought Tolerant Lawns. I don’t know about you, but we struggle constantly with our yard. The only folks we know with great looking lawns have irrigation systems, and we really don’t want to go that route. But like many others, we can’t seem to grow enough fescue to choke out the weeds. I’d like to hear from people who have tried Zoysia, Bermuda grass, or other easy growing, drought-tolerant grass for their lawns. Are you glad you did it? Or was it a disaster?
Solar Water Heating. Ah—this one is purported to have the best payback of any residential solar application. There are challenges of course. You don’t want to install one on a roof that needs replacing, or where a tree might fall. A shaded roof is obviously not a good idea. Still, my impression is that many people have been very happy with the performance and return on these systems – including the associated renewable energy tax credits. What about you?
So….Santa….what do you say? Send me some well-informed homeowners to write about these topics and maybe others. After all, I’ve been a relatively good girl. I haven’t got in any fist fights with builders or contractors lately, and have even made nice with a few.