Muppet Philosophy

A very wise friend of mine recently reminded me about Kermit’s musings on himself –  ‘It’s not easy being green’ – but it is a thought that applied equally to our ecological quest just as much as a Muppet’s colour. ‘It’s not easy being green’ resonated with us as we struggle through the information and choices that confront us about which ‘green’ products we need to invest in, especially what type of heating we would like to install in our new home. At the moment I am investigating log-burner central heating systems. We had considered a smaller bio-mass boiler (as we have a 35 KwH ETA boiler at Prospect and we are all very happy with it) but the logistics are just not workable; it would be impossible to site a pellet hopper within 15 metres of the kerb for bulk deliveries and bagged pellets are more expensive and have a greater carbon footprint. The decision is still under discussion and any information you might have about other alternative heating (or the woodkermit_8-burner option) gratefully received.

 

Week 4 at No 9

The roof before we have made any green changes. We're hoping to have 13 or more solar panels fitted
The roof before we have made any green changes. We’re hoping to have 13 or more solar panels fitted
Try writing a blog with Stephanie - it does my head in...
Try writing a blog with Stephanie – it does my head in…
What do you think Mr Blue Sky was trying to sell? His pitch was o.k. but the price was not!
What do you think Mr Blue Sky was trying to sell? His pitch was o.k. but the price was not!
If the extension proves difficult we can always fall back on Stephanie's cake-making skills. As the Blue Peter mob liked to say "Here's one I made earlier"
If the extension proves difficult we can always fall back on Stephanie’s cake-making skills. As the Blue Peter mob liked to say “Here’s one I made earlier”

A slow start but …

It is exactly four weeks since we completed on the new house and due to monetary constraints (the funds haven’t materialised yet – which is pretty constraining in anyone’s book), we have been forced to mull over ideas and ‘dreams’ for the new house.

This has been a most productive period in terms of the general direction in which we want to head with the renovation project and some of my more grandiose schemes have been shelved but less expensive and hopefully greener alternatives have emerged as the front runners.

So, instead of having a beautiful oak framed conservatory from Prime Oak – check out their inspirational website at http://www.primeoak.co.uk ; we agreed over a cup of coffee at The Ropewalk this afternoon that we would get a local architect to draw up plans for a similar extension. Going with the green and local ideals this would seem to sit much more easily with our whole aim to create a greener home.  This particular insight hit us forcefully earlier today when we were investigating the price of solar panels – as I had been contacted by The Big Green company on the telephone we thought we would make an appointment with one of their surveyors to look at No. 9. We were shocked to discover that the price for similar LG PV panels would be twice as expensive as the ones we had put on the family house last September; this spurred us into action and we will be contacting the local Grimsby firm, Solar 365, who supplied and fitted them with a view to purchasing similar ones for No. 9. We were very pleased with the work and professionalism of the people at 365 and would recommend them to anyone who lives in North Lincolnshire – http://www.365solar.co.uk.

It is always well to do your homework before committing funds, as we have just found out – there is a great variation in costs! I will be providing some excellent links to help with this minefield very shortly, so watch out and please contribute your knowledge and experience with the solar industry. I will also be incorporating an ongoing spreadsheet showing the costs of this project; it will include everything from the essential to the trivial or bizarre! Keep following us – more photos next time.

Recycled pallet struts created a planter box

Recycled pallet struts created a planter box

In the spirit of make-do and mend, recycling and saving money, Stephanie requested a specially tall planter in which to grow celery. A quick glance around the garden revealed an abundance of pallets and an idea was born. A couple of hours sawing, drilling, hammering and screwing(!) resulted in in a perfect environment for tall, blanched and erect celery (we hope).

Day 3 – Blog Day 14 – new home

Thank you to everyone who has commented. Yes, Dave, definitely a guest room and you’re welcome anytime (well, once completed!). Barbara, you are one of my inspirations – I would love to show your beautiful handicraft on this site so let me have photos.

As the title suggests, Chris and I are very new to the blog experience but hope that our much more ‘techy’ friends and relatives will help us out over the next few months. The background for the house is that we completed the sale on May 21st, collected the keys and let ourselves into our new domain – we were not alarmed by the challenges that lay ahead; new roof, damp proofing for rising damp, new electrics (only one socket in most of the rooms!!), re-configuring stairs, raising/lowering floors (depends upon our plans and designs), insulating to new standards and ‘greening’ the property as much as possible. Luckily we don’t have to live in the property while all this change takes place – a blessing and a frustration in equal measure. The up side is obvious, not having to live in mess and chaos (we’ve done that before) but another unexpected upside is that being away from the house allows you to think a little more rationally (barely suppressed splutters from those who know me well). The time away has meant that Chris and I have considered our ideas and discussed them with the family which means that ‘raw’ ideas can be refined or rejected.

Our son, David, suggested that we keep a visible chart of our spending on this project and this is something we will try to set up and maintain – just to let you know we have already spent £1.00 on ‘Green Your Home’ by Sarah Beeny (a charity shop find), a pair of beautiful brass bath taps for £5.00 (thank you Oxfam for your half price shelf) and a £32.00 water butt from B&Q (only £28.80 after we used our over 60’s Diamond Card).

Obviously the book has been read from cover to cover, the brass taps will be incorporated into the new bathroom plan in due time but the water butt is already in use and on its first two days ‘in situ’ was full to overflowing (it being unseasonably wet for the end of May and continuing so into June). Some of the plans we have discussed include a bio-mass boiler for heating, solar panels and water re-cycling (this is where Chris will come into his own). I feel sure that ‘greywater’ isn’t nearly so unappealing, or grubby, as it sounds! On the other hand (and I have Barbara to thank for this) I am envisaging a beautiful oak conservatory/extension for the back of the house – well, we’ll see and so will you if you keep following and contributing to our progress.