Burning Wood Reduced Our Oil Consumption 42%
Reducing Energy Consumption
As part of our ongoing commitment to combating the effects of climate change we are reducing our year-over-year carbon footprint through conservation and use of renewable energy…
With our continuous implementation of energy efficiency measures over the last three years it is nearly impossible to establish an operational baseline. Each year we replace large older appliances with new ENERGY STAR efficient appliances. Last year, we made four large appliance investments that will further reduce our electric consumption. Those that stay in our Loft Apartment Suite will enjoy the cooling benefits of our new LG Room Air Conditioner with almost twice the cooling power of the previous unit.
We’ve adjusted our day-to-day energy consumption behaviors from hang drying clothes, shorten appliance cycles, only washing full-loads of dishes and clothes. This year, we’ll be experimenting with hang-drying the linens (only after tree pollen season ends), but not to worry, the towels will still be dried in the dryer!
Replaced 153 traditional incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs on the entire property. Efficiency Vermont offers sizable discounts on all LED light bulbs at participating retailers.
Green Mountain Power Weekly Energy Consumption Profile Report, helps us actively manage our electric consumption. We reduced our quarterly electric consumption over the previous year by 8%.
Oil & Wood
In 2018 we replaced our wood-burning stove with a high-efficiency Jotul cast iron wood stove that reduced our oil consumption 42% over the last two years. And, burning wood is a renewable and CO2 neutral source of heating—Jotul stoves are manufactured from 100% recycled scrap iron, which aligns nicely with our overall sustainability efforts.
We recently purchased six cords of wood for the next 2-3 years—95% of which is ash, considered the second-best wood for burning that produces a steady flame and has a very strong BTU output.
Installed Programmable Thermostats in the Main House and the Loft Apartment Suite that provides improved energy-efficiency and creates a cozy atmosphere throughout our interior spaces.
Weatherization & Environmental Efforts
Our cedar shake roof was replaced in 2018 with asphalt shingles that included adding ½" plywood decking that reinforced the roof structure and provided another insulation barrier. We also replaced all the existing fiberglass insulation with ROCKWOOL* building insulation, which was crucial to reducing our energy consumption, and has a superior R-value. Together, with the wood-burning stove we have considerably elevated our overall seasonal comfort.
We not only ask our guests for suggestions, but we actually implement their suggestions!
Here’s one example; the Cottage roof is metal; and when it rains the soothing sounds of rain on a metal roof should help you fall into a deep and peaceful sleep—that’s the theory. The flip-side is that it doesn’t! A few of our guests politely mentioned that with heavy rain sleeping is not as delightful as some English literature portray.
That said, three years ago we replaced all the existing attic fiberglass insulation with ROCKWOOL* building insulation that not only helped keep the Cottage cooler in the summer months and warmer in the early spring and fall seasons, but from an acoustical perspective, the product’s attributes significantly reduced the negative impact of rain-noise—now our guests are sleeping more comfortably!
*Impressed with the company, ROCKWOOL, and their Sustainability efforts, we’ve included a link to their 2019 Sustainability Report. “Over the lifetime of its use, the building insulation we sold in 2019 will save 100 times the carbon emitted in its production.” Quote from ROCKWOOL Sustainability Report 2019, Page 14.
The Environmental Benefits of Upgrading the Main House Septic System
In 2018 we had a choice of maintaining the current single-septic-tank configuration or adding a second concrete tank to provide a secondary wastewater treatment stage. The cost difference was considerable. The benefit is that the wastewater is further purified by a second-tank filtration step and cleaner semi-purified wastewater is then sent to the drain-field where the water is further purified by filtration & decomposition by microorganisms in the soil. The semi-purified wastewater then percolates to the groundwater system.
Our decision to replace the much smaller plastic tank with two one-thousand-gallon concrete tanks was clear. Although the added cost was significant, it did not compare to the environmental benefits of cleaner wastewater and the reduced stress on our drain-field. Locally, Roberts Plumbing & Heating and Davenport Excavating helped us with our decision and are two of the best in their respective fields. Both are highly recommended and continue performing work on our property every year!