Sunday, September 28, 2008

Roofing materials given a second life

We've been working on a project that included removing part of our roof, and with it two layers of shingles and several roof decking boards (tongue and groove). You know, just a little weekend project ;-) So anyway, like all our projects we wanted to figure out a way to make this one as green as possible. Unfortunately, rather than putting on a metal roof or a green roof, we went with 50-year asphalt shingles. I say 'unfortunately,' because those options would definitely make us feel better about ourselves. But the rest of the roof is asphalt and this section needed to tie into the rest of the roof.

Anyone who has ever re-roofed a house knows what an incredible mess it makes. Most people hire other people to do this terrible job, there is usually a dumpster involved, and a big pile of asphalt, wood, aluminum and nails heads off to the landfill. In fact, I would be lying if I said that's not what happened when we had the front out our house re-roofed last year. But we all learn from our mistakes, and this time we did the work ourselves, and therefore took care of the aftermath ourselves as well.

The first step was to separate out the old demolished gutters and drip edge. Those we took, along with some other metal we had laying around, to Calamari Recycling in Essex, CT. We have brought several loads of metal to them in the past, and they give you a decent price for your scrap metal which they sell to companies that melt it down for re-use.

The second step was to separate the shingles from the roof boards. We didn't just scrape all the shingles off and then remove decking, instead we cut off chunks of wood and shingles. So we separated the two materials into piles, removing and collecting most of the nails along the way as well (those will head to Calamari in a subsequent trip).

Once we had the shingles separated from the wood, we drove the shingles up to a place in Bloomfield that Nicole found online. This company, Incorporated Industries, LLC, happens to be the only company in Connecticut that recycles asphalt shingles. They grind them up, separate out the nails (we were nice enough to do this for them), and sell the ground up material to companies that mix it in with regular asphalt for paving roads, driveways, etc.

The big pile of wood, which also contains scraps from the framing lumber, will be chipped up in a rented wood chipper and used for mulch.

All of these steps, in addition to re-using the bricks from the chimney we removed as a walkway for the garden, have taken what would otherwise be several loads of landfill material and turned it all into reused material.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pedaling feet become a renewable energy source

This is so great, and the company that installed the technology has plans for widespread distribution at a rapid pace. Living in a time like this can be depressing sometimes, especially with the current financial mess in this country, but we also live in a time of unbelievable exploration and innovation.

From WSHU:
With energy costs shooting up in the region and across the country, there's been increased interest in renewable sources of energy, like solar and wind power. WSHU's Craig LeMoult has the story of another potential energy source - fitness buffs.

Listen to the story at

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Furnace Replacement Rebate Program

When I was researching the boiler we got last fall, I found some information about a Rebate Program in the state of Connecticut. I emailed for more information and at the time, it was an unfunded program that was still being established. The Office of Policy and Management was collecting names of people that were interested in the rebate, with the promise to send out the paperwork once they got funding. Well, a week or two ago, I got a packed in the mail with all the forms I needed to fill out, and I strongly encourage anyone thinking of replacing their furnace or boiler to look into this. It's a simple form, and as long as your new unit is better than 84% efficient (I'm not sure why anyone would purchase a new system if it WASN'T at least that efficient, it will qualify for this rebate, which is a maximum of $500.

Here is the information from the website, but by all means head on over, sign up, and recoup some of your expenditures. All of the forms are now right there online for you!

The Furnace Replacement Rebate Program is an incentive program for Connecticut households to replace their existing residential furnaces or boilers with more energy efficient models. The program is designed to provide rebates of up to $500 to households that purchase and install replacement natural gas, propane or oil furnaces and boilers between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2017. Rebates will be available for replacement natural gas furnaces or boilers that meet or exceed Federal Energy Star standards and propane and oil furnaces and boilers that are at least 84% efficient. The amount of the rebate will decrease as your income rises above a certain level. The Office of Policy and Management, authorized by Connecticut General Statutes Section 16a-46e, is responsible for implementing this Furnace Replacement Rebate Program.

The Furnace Replacement Rebate Program has a retroactive start date of July 1, 2007. Furnaces or boilers purchased and installed prior to that date will not qualify for a rebate.

For further information call 1-866-940-4676.