Energy Efficiency & Maintenance

Home Energy Renovations: When You Can’t Go Down To The Studs

A couple of months ago I met with a client who wanted to make significant energy improvements to an older house. But because the house was occupied, it wasn’t possible to go down to the studs to do the kind of deep energy retrofit Project Rebuild is doing in Canton. (If you missed that story in The Leaflet, you can find it here in the October issue.) Still, there were a lot of opportunities to reduce the energy usage and lower their utility bills. In fact, the suggestions I made for that house provide a pretty good checklist for things you might want to consider for improvements at your own home. Read More Here…

Raising the Bar for the Quality of Home Construction

Our country could be building better quality homes, but we aren’t.  Why not?  The number of newhomes built has risen steadily in the past 5 years, and continues to do so.   Unfortunately, most of these homes will be built to meet the current building code, and not much better.  Perhaps the worst news is that many of the people buying these homes don’t know that they COULD have a house that cost less to heat and cool, is more comfortable, is more durable, and provides a healthier environment for their families, at less total cost than a similar code minimum house. Raise the Bar by Reading More Here

Checking for Icicles


This is a great time of year to see whether you could lower your heating bills by adding insulation. If you can see the pattern of your roof rafters in the snow on your roof…Watch for Icicles Here…

Get Ready for Winter

Now that it’s almost November, you’ve probably spent some time getting your yard ready for winter by raking leaves, putting the gardens to bed, and maybe putting away some outdoor furniture. But before you get too comfy with that cup of hot chocolate, you’ll want to make sure your house is ready for winter. And fall is the best time to start planning that renovation or addition you are thinking about for next spring. I’ll give you a few tips on things you can do to winterize your home. Get Ready to Read More

Green Certification and You

So, you may ask, just what is  Green certification and how does it help in building a Green home, or renovating my existing home? 

Simply put, Green certification is a way for you to know that a new home or renovation really incorporates design and features that make it more sustainable than a home “built to code”; that the word “Green” isn’t just being used as a marketing tool.  Several  regional and national organizations have developed programs to create Green benchmarks, with the goal of encouraging more high quality, sustainable home building around the country. Read more here.

Window Condensation Problems

I had a past client call the other day with a question about their windows. This summer they had some morework done on their home in Bath, including new siding and more new windows. Recently, as the temperatures outside got lower, they had been getting condensation inside the new windows. They’d never had condensation on either the original windows or the larger triple pane ones they had installed as part of our project together, so they wondered if the new windows were faulty. Read the entire article here…

Project Rebuild

*Project Rebuild:
Making A House Built in 1915 Green Enough for LEED Platinum

Photo of Project REBUILD class with project partners from Saint Gobain, Northeast Ohio USGBC, Malone University, Learn About Green LLC, and New Leaf Home Design

Who says a house built in 1915 can’t have super low energy bills, great indoor air quality, and be super comfortable to live in?  New Leaf Home Design is excited to be a part of  the Project REBUILD, Inc. deep energy retrofit of this Canton home.  We are setting our sights on a LEED Platinum certificate, which will provide third party verification that the house meets a broad range of sustainability criteria. Read about Project Rebuild here.

Battle of The Energy Audits

I recently had not one, but two energy audits done on my house. I’ve mentioned before that Dominion East Ohio is offering audits through their Good Cents program for just $50. Then at the Home & Flower

jpeg (1)Show, I learned that Dr. Energy Saver will do an audit for free. I had wondered before how the Good Cents audit compared to others, so I decided this was a great opportunity to find out. My research isn’t complete though, since I have not (yet?) had an audit from Green Street Solutions, another local company who is currently charging $250. Even at $250, an audit is a great investment, since it provides you with information that can help you save considerably more than that. Here’s what I’ve found…

The Energy Audit Saga Continues

In my last newsletter, I wrote about the two energy audits I had done recently: one through Dominion East Ohio’s Goo

dCents program, the other through a company specializing in audits. If you missed that article and would like to read a comparison of the two audits, just click below: Battle of the Energy Audits. Well, after getting all that information on where my house is losing energy, you might wonder what I’m doing about it. Read all about it here…

Energy Efficiency Opportunities when you Renovate

Last week I talked with two different potential new clients about renovating their homes.  Two

home-rigid-foam-insulationthings on both of their lists were new siding and new shingles.  I perked right up because those are both great opportunities to make a home more energy efficient, and if you pass up the opportunity it will be a loooong time before you have another.  Let’s face it, energy efficiency usually isn’t the main thing that makes us want to renovate our homes.  The need to move the Master Bedroom to the first floor, the desire for a more functional Kitchen, and even wanting to update the look of the house are the kinds of things that motivate most renovations. Read more here.

Zero Energy Ready

zeroenergyreadyIf you have been following the buzz on sustainable homes, you may have heard the term “Net Zero Home”.  The idea of Net Zero is to create a home that generates as much energy as it uses.  Since energy usage affects both the operating costs and the environmental impact of a house long after construction is done, it’s arguably the most important consideration in building a more sustainable home.  So how do you know if you’ve met Net Zero?   And what can you do if solar panels are part of the long term plan for the house but you won’t be installing them right away? Read the answer here…

Shaker Design Competition

In January of this year I had the honor of participating in a design competition hosted by the City of Shaker Heights.  Twelve teams submitted conceptual drawings for infill lots in the Moreland Heights neighborhood. Read more here…

A Renewable Energy Future Is Here

Greetings!  It’s been quite a while since I wrote, and a lot has happened for our family since then.  Last spring my parents moved from their home of 42 years in Athens to be closer to us here in Akron.  Click here to read the entire article.

Smart Sustainability – What It Meant For Us House

Smart sustainability isn’t one size fits all. It wouldn’t be smart if it were. Each situation, each house, and each family are different. And each budget. So how do you decide what are the smart sustainable decisions for you? It’s a process. I recently went through this process for our family’s heating and cooling system, and here’s what it looked like for us. Read the article by clicking here.