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March 12, 2007

House Prices, a Yummy Meal, and Green Building

It was an absolutely gorgeous day here today. Unfortunately we spent most of it inside the house in a state of mad panic, trying to clean up our construction mess before the bank's property assessment guy came buy to have a look around and figure out what our house is worth. We're starting to worry that we're not going to be able to get enough for our house to make this property purchase happen smoothly. The house that's for sale nearby that we were basing our estimates on (it's the same size and age as ours) just lowered its asking price, so that's not really filling us with confidence. It's still in the ballpark of what we were figuring on, but it's starting to make us sweat a bit.
To take our minds off things, we went outside in the afternoon to start clearing out the flower beds and enjoy the sunshine. The fruit trees are all flowering or are just about to, the violets have started blooming, and things are starting to leaf out and green up. Spring is in the air.
To help soothe our stressed-out souls, I made comfort food for dinner. This recipe for Mac N' Cheese is a fairly recent addition to our mealtime repertoire, and it's a good one. It's easy to throw together and gives you time to relax before dinner while it's in the oven.
We're going to the property tomorrow morning to meet with the septic engineer to try and get an idea of what it will cost to have one installed. I'm seriously considering composting toilets and a grey water system instead, but my husband is worried about resale value (to which I say, why would we ever sell our dream home??). Anyone out there using composting toilets? I'd love to hear from someone with experience in this area. We're looking at the Envirolet low water remote system because it looks good and is Canadian made. I've heard a few negative things about them lately though, like people finding that they don't compost properly, so dual-flush toilets and water conservation may be the route we end up taking
Another consideration is the cost of running utilities to the house versus putting in alternative energy systems (I'm thinking about a combination of solar and wind power with either a geothermal or air source heat pump for heating). There's certainly a lot of research to do, so please feel free to share any insight you might have!

10 comments:

Malva said...

No first hand experience with the Envirolets but they look nice! And canadian is a definite plus. Did you look into masonry stoves for your heat source? They burn much more cleanly than conventional "high-efficiency" wood stoves. That would be my first pick for an off-grid heating system.
Hope it all works out!

Chelee said...

That looks delicious!

No experience with toilets other than the obvious.

So excited for you! Fingers crossed that yours is worth enough.(:

Steffi said...

I like your delicious meal Maccaroni and Cheese.Sounds good!

Floaty said...

Good power to you home, you can do it.

Eat noodle, cheese, strong for bad day.

Carla said...

Exciting times ahead. Unfortunately I have no first hand knowledge of the products you mentioned. Wish I did. I'm sure your house will sell in a snap.

Crunchy Chicken said...

I'm intrigued by the composting toilets, but I can't quite justify using them in the city.

As for solar energy, you might want to look into thin film laminates. They are like solar panels but appear to be easier to install.

The cost is the same as standard PV panels, but the installation is cheaper/easier.

Here's a link describing composting toilets in grand detail. You gotta love Mother Earth News!

heather said...

wow, you guys really are building the dream! i know this probably won't work as it is in vermont, but my husband has taken a class at http://yestermorrow.org/ . they are a not for profit design and build school that specializes in exactly what you are doing. it is not geared to professionals only. check out their website. my point of all this is i wonder if they could point you in the direction of something similar closer to you, there are so few around, i'm sure they would be in the know. good luck!

Cheryl said...

Malva - I've heard about masonry stoves, but don't know much about them. Thanks for the suggestion.

Chelee - Thank you!

Steffi - Mac n' Cheese is one of my favorite things!

Floaty - Words to live by!

Crunchy Chicken - Don't you just love Mother Earth News?!
I read that article on thin film laminates, actually. They sound great and look really easy to install. I think we'll have to price them out. Our government doesn't offer any rebates on such things yet though, but I'm hopeful that it's in the works. It might be worth waiting for that.

Cheryl said...

Heather - The school sounds great, they offer so many neat courses!
I've always wanted to do something like that, thanks for the info!

QT said...

Just found your blog and really like it. I live on 4.5 acres in Southern WI that I am hoping to re-build on using alternative energy.

We have a friend nearby that uses a composting toilet and his only complaint is that it actually requires frequent rinsing of the bowl to combat any residual ammonia smell from urine. This may just be his model, but he said there are systems now where you can divert the urine...

Just my 2 cents and again - glad to have found your blog!

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