Folsom's Rainbow Bridge

Folsom's Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge crossing the American River in Folsom, CA

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Energy and a New Begining

It has been a very long time since I updated Local Fruit! - so long that I don’t even know if the links are still connected.  But here we go with a quick update that should have occurred several years ago.

The very green house in old Folsom was completed in October 2012, and when we moved in we started tracking utilities.  Before construction began, we projected that the intense insulation and solar system would reduce our energy usage by 30%.  We would have been happy with an actual savings of 25%.  However, the actual hard dollar savings between our prior home and the new home-both homes of comparable size-was well beyond our goals.  The actual savings in dollars was 67% for electricity and 71% for natural gas.  The savings in kWh and Therms was equally impressive.  The outstanding energy reduction results are a compelling case for the use of advanced framing techniques and superior insulation methods in construction. 

The down side of building such a solid and well insulated home is that when it warms up in the winter, the upstairs zone is overly warm.  I find it occasionally too warm to sleep at night.  In the winter I like to sleep under the weight of a comforter, which means I get too warm at night.  When it is coldest in the winter and the furnace heats the downstairs zone to 68-70 degrees, the upstairs will warm up to 72-74 and stay there! So last winter when we had a good freeze, lows in the 20’s for a week, my bedroom window was open 4-5 inches all night, every night. During a normal winter the house is very comfortable, but a during a really cold spell it is actually too warm.  Such a warm little house! When I am a little old lady who is cold all the time, maybe I will finally close that window…

We planted what little area we could plant. The historic district lot is small at only 50’ wide which allows for a small and easily manageable patio and garden.  Located by a river and greenbelt, the views are borrowed from nature as are the wildlife. The landscape area outside the fence is deer territory; they regularly trim the bushes and have twice eaten the grapefruit tree down to stubs.

Back to Local Fruit!   This blog started as a way to share the experience of building an energy efficient home in a cool historic neighborhood in a fun California town.  Stay with me as I expand the Local Fruit!'s  footprints to add vineyard tales in northern California, especially El Dorado and Amador counties.  The Local Fruit! adventure will continue in 2015!