About three years ago (6 months after purchasing the 4-plex), I wrote up a 1 page explanation sheet to hand out to prospective/new tenants to explain the eco-plex. I realize that some things have happened since then – maybe not as much as I’d ideally like to have gotten done, but some! Here is the updated explanation sheet, starred items are new in this 3 years):
What makes these eco-apartments??
We are committed to the protection of the environment. Every decision on maintaining, upgrading, and using the building is looked at from the angle of how this will impact the earth and the health of the people that live there. We also want this to be a happy place to live.
Some of the things we have already done (in a bit over 3 years):
-Replaced the old water heaters with a new, much more efficient one
-Replaced light bulbs with compact fluorescents and LEDs
-installed low-flow devices on faucets and low-flow shower heads
-installed water saving toilets in two units
-fixed drips and leaks to save water and energy
-had an assessment done for solar hot water
-weather sealed where possible
-installed an outdoor security light with daylight sensor
-provided on-site recycling services
-providing on-site composting*
-permaculture/food forest upgrading of the yard (fruit trees, garden space for tenants, chicken tractor)*
-new coin-op dryer that allows you to save if you use less energy to dry*
-replaced 2 fridges with energy star fridges*
-replaced one dishwasher with an energy star model*
-had an energy audit to find the most effective measures for saving energy*
-wrapped the building in 4 inches of foam insulation*
-provided a timer for engine block heaters*
-do all snow and yard maintenance by hand (shovels and scythes, no fossil fuels)
-installed programmable thermostats
Some of the things we are planning for the future:
-install solar hot water
-separately metering for electric so that tenants can keep track of their use
-painting, repairing, and upgrading the building with used or green products
-install secure bike parking
-install clothes drying lines in unit bathrooms
-add a greenhouse and water-catchment in the garden
However, our behavior and use patterns are important too!
Things we encourage everyone to do:
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use
- close windows when the heat is on
- use your programmable thermostat to turn the heat down when you are away or asleep
- wash in cold water and hang dry when possible
- let us know if there is a problem of any sort
Finally, we realize that it is our foremost job to provide you with a safe, comfortable, happy place to live. Please let us know if you have any suggestions that would make your life here better, and we will do our best to follow them!
OK, thats the short version of the big picture, but what are the little nit-picky things I need to be working on this month? I still need to trim the windows in my unit and paint walls. I also need to finish installing backerboard and tile my bathroom, and install a low flush toilet. The cork flooring to replace my worn out carpet just arrived too. I need to change out the pressure tank on the boiler now that it is warming up a bit, and get an annual check of the heating system. I have identified a place where air is leaking in around the front porch attachment that I need to seal and insulate. And my 20 year+ old convectionairre oven isn’t kicking on, so I need to see if I can get the blower motor fixed. I am also working on changing out all the T-12 fluorescent fixtures for single-bulb light fixtures. I did one in the entry-area that lowered electricity use from 120 watts (4 30-watt T-12 tubes) to 12 watts (one cfl bulb), light levels are still excellent, light quality is now much better!