Friday, August 04, 2006

Introductions and generalities

Welcome to the blog.

My wife and I purchased an old farm house with the intent to make it a showcase for energy efficiency and super insulation remodeling techniques. We hope to have several ways of heating the house, including efficient wood heat, radiant floors, biodiesel co-generation, propane boiler (backup) and electric (from the generator). When we are finished, the house should use approximately 1/3 the energy of a new conventional house, and 1/10 the energy of the original setup. We will document our progress for your enjoyment and edification.

Don't expect a slam/bam, spend a hundred grand and poof, one month later you get to see the cool remodel, like one of those TV programs. Since we both work full time, this will be a slow, if not leisurely process.

Photos will appear as time goes on.

We are fortunate that the exterior of the house does not need any immediate work other than gutters. The interior however is terrible. The floors are badly out of level due to settling. The wiring is a scary joke with one very worn out receptacle in each room. There is no grounding. The heating system may or may not work. The "decorating" is from the Nixon era I think. We have many peculiar shades of shag carpeting upstairs and several hideous kinds of vinyl tile downstairs. Several rooms on the main floor have icky suspended ceilings which will all have to be torn out.

The basement is very damp and stinky. That is very high on the list of things to do. I will have to dig a trench all the way around the outside foundation (which is lovely fieldstone) and add drainage pipe. Since we sit on top of a nice hill, it should be easy to run the drains downhill until they exit the hillside. Then we won't be dependent on a sump pump as it will all drain by gravity. Any excuse to run the new tractor/backhoe is OK by me.

I was afraid that we would have zero insulation, but that turns out to be an unfounded concern. Someone in the past put blown-in cellulose in the walls so I won't have to do that at least. We will add additional insulation by adding a second layer of framing to double the thickness of the exterior walls. This will primarily be done on the inside, since most of the rooms are big enough to lose 4-6 inches on the exterior wall.

If I stay reasonably motivated, this should all be finished in time for the big 50th birthday party, which is 4 years hence.

Finest regards,

troy and christina

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