Understanding the benefits of reducing consumption
The mission of The Bob and RodMan Home Show boils down to minimizing maintenance and saving money. Coincidentally, following the “green” principles of “reduce, reuse, recycle” will have that same effect. The target for today is “reduce.”
The first step is to reduce expenditures dedicated to maintaining whatever domicile you currently occupy. If you practice pre-emptive maintenance you not only keep the home-place in top shape but reduce your overall expenditure in time, money and materials.
Examples: Regular inspection and service of an attic-installed HVAC unit will disclose deterioration of the vital drain line for the condensate pump. Easy, inexpensive fix when discovered. Neglect results in condensate-water dissolving important parts of your home. False economy argues for the selection of bargain-basement paint or stains to preserve siding, decks, etc. Pre-emptive maintenance dictates the best-quality material your budget can afford. You paint/stain less often and are less likely to be faced with replacing inadequately protected construction elements.
When looking for a new home, however, you have the opportunity to take an even more significant step in reducing your own costs and long-term environmental impact. Not suggesting the Walden-Pond-extreme—although Henry David Thoreau spent a couple of good years in a 15-x-15-foot timber-frame cabin on the shores of the pond. Just choose a home that suits the scale of your requirements.
Frequently, e-mail questions directed to Bob and RodMan begin with, “There are several rooms in our home that we no longer use…” or “Should we block off the HVAC ducts to sections of our home very rarely occupied?” Many people live in a home much larger than practical considerations dictate.
Choosing a home that fits the genuine requirements of your lifestyle is also a way of maximizing quality and durability. Budget is dedicated to making your home the best you can afford, not just the largest you can afford. Choices are made on the basis of real utility; comfortable access and internal mobility; ease of maintenance; and frugality in heating, cooling and mechanical operation in general.
One practical resource for reviewing options when considering reducing home size is the Not So Big House series of publications. The general guidance found in those books and on www.notsobighouse.com provides valuable insight into structuring a home that will meet your needs and still reduce your carbon footprint. Naturally, Atlanta Home Improvement magazine eases the implementation of that reduction in scale with a cornucopia of locally specific resources.
This is America, land of the free and home of the brave, so you can choose to live on the scale that suits you. There is no Commissar of Housing to pass judgment on your choices. You might find it rewarding, however, to covet quality-of-life more than quantity of square footage.
Tune in to The Bob and RodMan Home Show every Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. on 920 AM-WGKA to learn how to improve your house or apartment. RodMan is a certified home inspector, knows residential property appraisal and is a hands-on home renovator. Bob owned a roofing company, has reclaimed distressed properties for years and has Master Licenses as a plumber, electrician and HVAC mechanic. www.bobandrodman.com