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Monday, May 24, 2010

"Old Is the New Green"

Some days we get caught up in whether our brand-new buildings are going to be LEED-certified. It's become a great selling point to say that your new house is "green". But Pittsburgh is filled with old housing stock, and the most green behavior of all is re-use.

Over in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Matt Grocoff is renovating a 110 year old house. His goal is to reach a net-zero energy home. Given all the old housing stock here in Pittsburgh, we could all take a few lessons. We don't all have the funding to drill geo-thermal wells in our backyards or add solar panels to the roof, but we can all make good choices when doing our renovations. Programs like WattChoices even make these renovations cheap or free. Did you know you can get a $50 rebate for buying a programmable thermostat?

I'm currently in the process of re-doing my attic, turning a previously unpleasant space into a master bedroom and bath. So far, I've added CFL light bulbs, a dual-flush toilet, water-saving faucets, purchased sustainable bamboo flooring and added blown-in insulation. Whether you're adding an addition or just updating the look of your house, it's easy to add some green changes. What green choices have you made?