Laura’s Tips for Smart Home Maintenance

Laura’s Tips for Smart Home Maintenance

This year’s West Seattle Summer Fest was a warm one! Although it was a bit too hot, we were grateful that it didn’t rain, as well as for the ability to connect with all our neighbors in West Seattle and beyond. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say “hi!”

While temperatures reached into the low 90’s, Laura braved the GreenLife Stage to share information about “Building with Reclaimed Materials” (co-presented with Second Use Building Materials) and “Smart Home Maintenance.”

If you didn’t get a chance to catch Laura’s presentation on Smart Home Maintenance at the West Seattle Summer Fest, here are her tips. Enjoy

PS – We are always looking for ways to spread the good word about sustainable building and living. Please let us know if you you are involved with a community group that would appreciate hearing some tips on the topic.

Mighty House’s Tips for Smart Home Maintenance

  1. Keep it Local by actively seeking products that are ideally manufactured locally and sold by a locally owned business.
  2. No- or Low-VOC Paints are produced with less harmful chemicals and won’t make you or your family sick. Any manufacturer can color match these days, allowing quality to be your guide.
  3. Flooring such as bamboo, cork, FSC or reclaimed hardwoods, marmoleum (a non-toxic sheet material) and tile are easier to keep clean and don’t allow for build-up of toxins. If you must have carpet, use a super-dense, natural wool carpet.
  4. Reduce Energy Consumption using Energy Star® certified appliances to save you money in the long-term through reduced energy use, and often in the short-term as well through rebates via city, state, and federal programs. Use “smart” powerstrips with master controls. Put a hot water timer on your hot water tanks. Install solar!
  5. Use Water Sense® certified fixtures which reduce water consumption without compromising water pressure. It’s functional, good for the planet, and your pocketbook.
  6. Salvaged Building Materials are sustainable, cost-effective, and unique solutions to home improvement! Your friends and family will ooh and ahh when they learn the story of your salvaged materials.
  7. Batten Down the Hatches with insulation and air sealant. Don’t forget above your can lights and behind exterior wall outlets.
  8. Abide by the Three R’s: Reduce your consumption. Reuse what you can. Recycle the rest.
  9. Educate Yourself and Make Mindful Decisions by using our methodology.•Is it healthy? •Is it eco-friendly? •Is it financially smart? •Is it functional? •Is it unique?
  10. Clean Green – homemade cleaning solutions create a healthy living space and save money.
  • All-purpose Cleaner — 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar, 4 drops of essential oil (optional), a drop of dish soap. It’s a great window cleaner! (You will need to use it 2-3 times before it will cut through the wax build-up from commercial products, after which you can stop using the dish soap).
  • Soft-Scrub — 1 c. baking soda, 1/4 c. liquid castile soap, 2 tsp. vegetable glycerin (as a preservative), 2-4 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, or rosemary (optional). mix and store in a sealed glass jar.
  • Natural Disinfectant Spray — 1 c. distilled water, 1/2 c. vinegar, , 2-4 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, or rosemary.
  • Relevant websites: • lung.org/healthy-air/home/resources/cleaning-supplies.html• ewg.org/research/greener-school-cleaning-supplies

 

Healthy Home Quick Tip

Healthy Home Quick Tip

Antibacterial products are getting a bad rap these days, since their effectiveness and safety is a controversial topic.
The good news is you can make your own cleaning products at home using naturally antibacterial ingredients such as tea tree, peppermint and lavender oil.
As always, cleaning products should be stored away from children and pets since natural doesn’t necessarily mean edible – ingesting large quantities can be harmful.

 

Prevent Flooding – Adopt A Neighborhood Drain

Fall rainstorms can bring lots of rain, falling leaves and other debris. Those leaves can clog our local storm drains, making it difficult for standing water to be carried away from our homes.

One way you can help is by bringing a small rake or broom on your neighborhood walks. By brushing the leaves and debris away from the drain, you can help prevent flooding in your neighborhood. If you can, put them in a nearby yard waste bin, but if you can’t, even a little pile on the right of way is better than a flood!

If a small sweep into the yard waste bin isn’t enough to clear your drains, call the experts at Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800.

Thatched Roofs in the DR – Local, Sustainable, Beautiful

Thatched Roofs in the DR – Local, Sustainable, Beautiful

Recently, we returned from an extended family vacation in the Dominican Republic. Sun, warm waters, and lots of rest!
One of cooler things we saw was all the thatched roofs in use – even in newer construction. The public spaces of the airport in Punta Cana was entirely made of thatched roofs.
Wikipedia defines thatching as “the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation [such as straw], layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates.”
Thatching is low-cost, sustainable solution built with local vegetation. Here are a few pictures from the Punta Cana Airport.

Maybe they will inspire the use of old methods as creative, *new*, sustainable solutions for your home!

Beyond Lightbulbs – Energy Audits help you prioritize

Beyond Lightbulbs – Energy Audits help you prioritize

Seattle City Light offers home energy audits for $95 to City Light customers living in single family homes. Several of the Mighty House Construction community have been taking advantage of the City of Seattle discount. Auditors certified by the Building Performance Institute will visit your home and conduct a thorough assessment of its insulation level, leakiness, and heating system efficiency, as well as installing free energy conserving compact fluorescent light bulbs. You will receive an “Energy Performance Scorecard” that rates the current efficiency level of your home, a bit like the MPG rating for a car. The other benefit of the report is that it comes with suggested energy improvements, their estimated costs, and their potential for energy and climate impact reduction — giving you the information you need to make tough decisions in spending your cold hard cash.
Review this quick list of tips to increase the energy efficiency of your home and then register for your home’s energy audit.