Clean Windows for a Clean Conscience
There’s a new trend burgeoning in the US. Affluent homeowners, who for whatever reason, are in no position to retain their property but don’t want to sell it, want to give their legacy over to people who can prove that they will cherish the abode or property as it was by the giver. Complicated? Not at all! Owners conduct essay competitions, with an entry fee of $100 or $200. Those who don’t mind parting with the entry fee have everything to gain if they win! And really, how difficult is it to pour out your heart’s desires, and it’s bullseye if it echoes the owners’ sentiments. Most times, the owner just wants to know how one plans to keep up the place and improve upon the existing infrastructure so it can be sustained well enough to withstand the rigors of everyday living! In one instance, an essay contest with an entry fee of $100 for the Center Lovell Inn in Maine, won a bed and breakfast facility by a woman named Janice Sage, in 1993. Janice wrote a 250-word essay that demonstrated her culinary and hospitality skills, and her ability to care for the inn. She recently decided to retire and give the inn away by holding another essay contest rather successfully – an inspiring tale, indeed!
How would I plead my case? There’s a small farm to be won in Virginia, which has a fully equipped woodworking shed attached to it. While my husband and I are both in our mid-fifties, Cedric is a carpenter by passion, and I am a potter. Cedric lost his job, and a few years ago, the bank foreclosed our property. We live in a rented apartment, which we manage going through an assortment of part-time jobs. Our only son is with the Merchant Navy in Singapore and is away at high seas most of the time. We have to get our act together, and quick!
If I were to win that property, here’s what we would do to maintain it –
First of all, Cedric would make use of the carpentry equipment to make me a shed of my own, where I could set up my potter’s wheel, and we could both supply our neighborhood with custom made furniture and lead-free table pottery that was my forte.
We would first take care of the fencing, checking for any rot as we go along, to keep the property perimeter secure. We would go through the established irrigation and cultivation practices that make the farm a self-sufficient entity, and continue to keep it going so we would have fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit through the year, and sell extras as fresh produce. There were about 30 cows and a bull on the property, and Cedric, having grown up on a cattle farm in Colorado, would be able to sustain them, with a little bit of my help.
We would use green practices to not only cultivate the existing crop, but also to sustain the house, making it energy efficient as we go along so that we would save precious bucks as well as our precious planet. Some of the green practices we would incorporate are –
1. Use the cow manure to fertilize the crop. We could also use part of it to produce biogas that we could use as cooking fuel. Apparently, a pound of manure can yield about 28 liters of biogas, enough to cook for 4-6 people a day.
2. Cedric could use his know-how to implement a rainwater harvesting system so that we would never run out of water, even in the height of unseasonable summers.
3. Dirty windows are ineffective windows – we would keep the glass panes of all the windows and doors sparkling clean so that solar gain could be effectively harnessed to reduce the load on cooling and heating systems. We would also keep windows open as often as possible to effect natural cooling, and ventilation during winter. We would use roller solar shades comprising performance+ fabric for windows and doors – this means that the fabric has a metalized reflective coating on the side facing the glass. Such shading is used to manage and redirect the sun’s rays outwards so that interiors are kept cool and fading of surfaces is prevented by the unwanted UV rays. Conversely, in winter, the shades can be turned, so that the reflective surface faces the room to direct the much needed heat of the sun inwards, but in a diffused state that does not wreak havoc with interior surfaces. This way, he load on the HVAC systems is reduced to an extent that effects about 30% savings on power bills, protecting the environment at the same time. Graber’s LightWeaves Roller Shades are also GreenGuard protected against off-gassing, ensuring clean indoor air. Timed automated shades would be even better, and we could upgrade when we are able to afford it. Light dimmers could also be used to reduce the intensity of the light used. Spotlights would be effective for task oriented work to be taken care off, rather than bright overhead lighting.
4. Slow flow taps and shower heads would also make sense to use, as water is a precious resource we cannot use indiscriminately.
Well, we’ve presented our case as best as we could. We can only hope for the best for our future, with our fingers crossed.