Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to upgrade a home. (Part 2)

In response to a lot of questions we've received, I thought I would write a series of articles (3) to answer your interest in how to go about greening a home and yard. We have been on this property for 3 years as of Oct 15, 2013. So I thought the best way to go about sharing what we did was to describe the order we did things in, one year at a time.  

*Part 1 of this article was  published on January 2nd; Part 3 will be published on January 12th

How we made changes and upgrades to our home.
 (Part 2)

In the first part of the series I walked you through the first year of our move to the home we are in now. Today we'll look at the 2nd year and the things we did to improve the home and property.

Year 2: October 15, 2011 – October 15, 2012
The 2nd year here we were involved with projects that would reduce our water use including installing low flow faucets and shower-heads and replacing one of the upstairs bathroom toilets with a new dual flush toilet. We spent some time getting good hoses and snap attachments so that we could water the areas outside of the home, saving time and reducing hassles of dragging hoses around as much as possible. 

We installed an eco-friendly reverse osmosis drinking water purifier under the kitchen sink. This unit actually pumps the water it uses to flush the system clean back down the pipe, instead of pumping down the drain – because that water can still be used to flush toilets or shower in or wash dishes in. The first year we had to purchase water in big refillable bottles from the grocery store's purification machine, having our own machine meant we no longer had to do this. We had several reusable bottles, but purchase a few more so that we would always have bottles of water on hand when shopping or traveling or walking the dogs.

We also did a few improvement projects involved installing proper bathroom cabinets and updated several light fixtures around the home. We continued installing CFL lighting as bulbs burned out around the home, and put some LED lights under the kitchen cupboards. And we put in new flooring in the front entrance area.

Later that fall we replaced the bathroom fans (and vent covers) with newer, energy efficient ones. We put in one energy efficient ceiling fan in the bedroom.

Having met our neighbors we were able to obtain grass clippings, leaves and some other organic materials starting early spring 2012... and we used those organics in layers with the 1st mini compost pile, our own kitchen waste and layers of earth from the huge dirt pile (refer to Part 1 for more info on this). By the end of that 2nd year we had already started the garden bed construction project with 3 raised, wood-framed beds about 14’ long, 3.5’ wide, 2’ tall on the sloping hillside of our lawn, in a tier like fashion. Those beds were slowly filled with sifted soil from the compost bins, and because the dirt we were using (for layering in the compost bins) was mostly clay we decided to also combine it with some peat and potting soil - ready for planting in the Spring. 

* This concludes the steps we made in the second year of this home. Watch for the article explaining steps taken in the third year coming up on January 12.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

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