Kermit the frog always says “It’s not easy being green.” I always thought he was talking about his color but he may have been talking about green building. In February, we purchased 3 tubs to be used for recycling aluminum, plastic and steel and two 55 gallon trash cans. We were hopeful that the construction workers would use the bins. Our general contractor, Mike Gilles, warned us that we would be lucky if the trash ended up in any containers (it normally just gets thrown on the floor). The workers do use the 55 gallon trash cans and then we sort through it for the recycle. It is amazing how much aluminum and plastic the construction crews generate. On May 24, 2010, we set out the tubs below at the curb with our regular recycle bin. We’ve considered providing an old refrigerator, a 10 gallon water jug, powdered Gatorade and reusable insulated cups but, we’ve decided that would not go over very well. Do they make Dr. Pepper in a powdered form? At any rate, we have been able to keep up with the trash and only placed 280 lbs in the landfill.
On June 7, 2010, we delivered 960 lbs of scrap steel from the construction site to Standard Iron and Metal for recycle. This consisted of scrap rebar from the concrete work, metal tabs from the steel used to hold the aluminum forms together, nails, screws, steel banding from materials delivered to the work site, etc. I’m glad we we chose to do this because it is the right thing to do, as we only received $40.80!
Reclaiming the wood has been another challenge. A lot of lumber is used – even in the construction of a concrete home (see photo below.) We have been pulling the nails out of all the lumber that was used as scaffolding or part of the concrete forms and then sorting and stacking the lumber by size. The framing crew, Kristal Canady, used the reclaimed lumber for all the sole plates, top plates and cripple studs on the main floor. We’re hopeful our efforts will save 15 to 20% off the estimated cost of lumber.
Finally, on May 25, 2010, we attended the 2010 WindPower Conference and Exhibition in Dallas Texas. We went to see and talk to the Urban Green Energy folks about their roof mounted 4KW vertical axis wind turbine. We believe this wind turbine would be able to power the home. We have installed an anemometer 20 feet above the back porch roof of the home. We are measuring the wind speed to see just how much energy the wind turbine would generate. The federal government offers a 30% rebate of the cost of the wind turbine but we are still debating if we what to go through the approval process, which would include several steps:
- Get all of our immediate neighbors (anyone that would be able to see the turbine from their property) to sign an “approval” form.
- Send information packets to everyone in the neighborhood and allow folks to have a comment period.
- Receive approval from the Rose Creek Architectural Review Board.
- Get a variance from the city of Oklahoma City at a cost of more than $1200.
The photo below is a picture of the turbine we have chosen. In our opinion, its unique shape gives it artistic value.