In the process of building our house we took lots of photos but very little video. Partly because we did not have a video camera, just a simple point and shoot digital camera and also because it was quicker to take snapshots along the way while taking video of a process or task meant one less pair of hands doing the actual work!
Recently while backing up our photos and videos on two new external hard drives sue to a scary failure on our only backup drive I gathered all the (usable) videos of the house building process and uploaded them on my YouTube channel.
Much more info can be found on the building process under the house category here on the blog and I am planning on consolidating more of the photos and writing much more about the process either in book form or a series of more coherent posts here on the blog.
With all the talk in the media about the Plan B highway project in Bonshaw I wonder what kind of criteria was used in selecting the path of the project. In a current UPEI class I am taking on environmental impact assessment we learned that the role of EIA’s is not to stop projects, but to give decision makers the information they need on a proposed projects impacts, methods of mitigation and alternatives.
We also learned that some jurisdictions only look at biophysical impacts where others also look at socioeconomic factors like culture, heritage and the aesthetic. One method of taking all these differing factors into account is by doing overlays of sensitive areas on a topographical map (be they forest area, areas of cultural importance, areas of poor construct-ability, etc..) and look for the path with the least impact on the least number of areas. One thing I do notice is that the proposed route seems to disregard other routes and seems to have had no consideration on forest cover.
In the photo above I have taken the proposed Plan B route on the bottom and drew a line that eliminates of lessens the same number of curves, in roughly the same length of new road but avoids forest where possible, only affecting secondary or cut over marginal forest systems and placed that on top as a sort of Plan C. Why hasn’t the province considered doing this? Is it because the land costs would be higher?
I don’t have any answers, and I can’t speak to the values of others of what they feel is important, but if we are going to spend over $20,000,000 dollars to make a new highway, surely there is a route that affects as little forest as possible?
Fridgeless celery! Take your celery out of your fridge, it doesn’t need to be there! Cut the butt end off, stick the stalks in water and they will stay crisp and fresh longer than in your fridge. The put the butt end in water and let it grow you new celery! The more we stop relying on fridges the smaller the fridge we need to get by with, and less energy is used and less money spent on appliances.
Our Plymouth Barred Rock chicks are getting bigger! We bought 8 chicks from a local farmer from Cardigan this spring and we have ended up with four roosters and four hens. We are raising them for eggs so three of the roosters will have to go (either slaughtered for stew or given away if we can find someone who wants them) and in a couple more months we should start getting fresh eggs everyday!
My wife Laine Brehaut delivering a speech in support of midwifery care being regulated, recongnized and supported on PEI. This is an important topic that is under-reported and under-valued in this province.
1111KWH’s above our base rate of 18KWH/day in the non-heating season. This is the consumption of our 12000BTU air source heat pump. We pay $0.1265/KWH including all taxes for $140.54.
We also burnt 1/2 cord of hardwood in our small airtight stove. We bought this wood when we were building at about $100/cord in 8′ lengths. So about $50 for the wood and a high estimate of $10 for gas and oil for the chainsaw to cut it up and the electricity to run the electric hydraulic splitter to split it.
So a fairly accurate estimate of costs to heat our house this year of $200 for 5 months of heating, or $40/month.
April may have a little extra heating costs, but I can’t see it being more than another $20 or so.
When most people are planning to build a new house they usually think about the number of rooms they will have, the layout and floor plan, maybe the type of heating system but rarely the insulation. Most people assume a new home built to code (whatever that jurisdiction the code is from) means that it must be well insulated and energy efficient.
While that may be true is some progressive jurisdiction, a lot of places the code barely mentions insulation, in any meaningful way at any rate. Or if it does it’s a minimum standard that falls well short of where insulation levels should be.
Insulation pays for itself, in most cases from day one as the increased cost to mortgage payments are more than offset by monthly energy bill savings. It’s rare that more insulation doesn’t help your bottom line in the short and long terms.
Some interesting ways to build conventional type houses with lots of insulation include:
2.36KWH in 205 hours works out to be about 100KWH per year. Compare that to my previous research that suggests a comparable upright refrigerator of the same size would use about 350KWH and you can see it has made a difference in our energy bills.
Inside you can see that it is about as full as a comparable sized upright fridge and we find the usability to be about the same as a regular fridge. We do put in a damp rid type product (Calcium Chloride) and have to clean the fridge about as often as a regular one. Here is the damp rid tray:
Alsmost time for a refill! You can see some rust from the first couple weeks we were using it and didn’t use the damp rid in it, since then we haven’t had any problems! We also have a 15 cubic foot freezer in the utility room/pantry for freezing things.
In our Energy market 250KWH a year is about $35, not exactly a lot of money, but every decision we made like having switched outlets to reduce ghost loads, drainwater heat recovery system to reduce the amount of electricity the hot water heater uses and CFL and high efficiency halogen lighting all add up to a good amount of savings per year.