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2008 March » Our Sustainable Home
Archive for: March, 2008

Tree & stump removal

March 27th, 2008

There were some tree removal guys on our street the other day and so we asked them for a quote to remove our trees for us. They seemed like nice, honest folks and that certainly came through in their sales pitch:

“It’s still winter and we’re desperate for any work you can give us. We’ll cut you a deal that’s a fraction of what you’d pay otherwise. If you wait until spring we’ll be busy, but we can do it now for a song.”

Indeed their price seemed to be about half of what I had been quoted earlier. Fortunately we already have our removal permit in place from last year so they’ll be coming tomorrow to take them down.

They also gave me a great tip regarding the stumps: If you build a flower box over them you’ll remember to water the soil in the flower box regularly. A wet-soil-covered stump will rot to pulp all on its own in about 3 months. (If one leaves the fresh-cut stump in the sun to dry out, it will stick around for decades.)

Posted by Colin
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Redesigning for ICF

March 25th, 2008

Today the architect and Project Manager (PM) had a conference call to discuss the design changes that will be required to move to an ICF system for framing the house.

The PM performed a quick estimate indicating the cost of stick-frame materials and labour would probably be about equal to the materials for ICF. The labour for installing ICF walls for the entire foundation and house came in around $20,000, making it quite reasonable considering it will leave us with around an R50 wall!

Note: The ICFs will frame the house as a ‘box’ only. It seems using ICF for the gables would have involved quite a bit of additional labour so a different wall system will be used for the entire roof area of the house.

The architect has someone redesigning the plans as I type and hopes to have them ready by early next week.

Posted by Colin
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Contractor selected

March 19th, 2008

After another round of interviews with prospective builders our selection has been made!

To maximize our flexibility in dealing with changes as they arise, we’ve opted for a variation on a “structured management” arrangement with our builder. Technically, we will act as the General Contractor and they will take care of managing all the details, with the exception of signing cheques. (This nicely avoids that nightmare situation where one pays the General Contractor, but the General Contractor doesn’t pay the trades, who then lien the property.)

Another interesting aspect of our arrangement is that the exact fee paid to our ‘project managers’ increases as the total project budget decreases (and vice versa). This provides them with a financial incentive to keep expenses down for us.

But the most important aspect of selecting our builder was a strong sense of trust we have in working with them. All the final candidates seemed like people we could work with but our “warmest, fuzziest” feeling was with our selected builder.

Posted by Colin
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Baby!

March 6th, 2008

Today Lumahai Zephyr Iseman Foster (Zeph) was born at home (about where the dining room table will be) at 6:31pm.

Yes that’s right: We’re building and have a newborn to take care of. Apparently we like a challenge.

Posted by Colin
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OPG removes annual fee for Home Power Generators

March 1st, 2008

I had previously noted that in order to put power onto the grid, one had to be registered as an official Ontario Power Generator at a cost of $800 up front, and $800 per year.

This fee has since been amended to a one-time fee of just $100! In coming weeks I’ll be putting together a new comparison contrasting traditional power, green power, common solar power, and Nanosolar power.

Should be intersting!

Posted by Colin
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