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GREEN HOME GIVEAWAY 2013

Congratulations to this year’s Green Home Giveaway winners, Peggy and Chris Biga.


 

The couple’s home home, a historic 1927 Crestwood residence, received plenty of green swag to update its efficiency. From a new water heater to a programmable thermostat, the changes to the home are sure to bring new comforts and lower energy bills to Peggy and Chris Biga, pictured left.

 


Alabama Power

Jill Sills • Residential Marketing • 800.245.2244 • alabamapower.com

WHO WE ARE: Alabama Power provides the valuable combination of competitive prices, reliable electricity supply, and unparalleled service to 1.4 million homes, businesses, and industries in the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

HOW WE HELPED: For increased energy efficiency in the home, Alabama Power replaced the old existing water heater with a more efficient unit. GE donated the GeoSpring hybrid water heater. This innovative technology uses the ambient heat from the surrounding air to heat the water inside the tank. Energy Star products such as this provide a more comfortable and affordable home. Selecting energy-efficient products will help any homeowner save money and energy.

Blue Stone Building LLC

Kelly Watson • LEED AP Homes  • 205.874.1188 • bluestonebuilding.com

WHO WE ARE: Blue Stone Building specializes in custom new home construction, remodeling, and renovation projects. Working with some of the best architects in Birmingham, Blue Stone delivers craftsmanship and attention to detail with each project. 

HOW WE HELPED: We wanted to get involved with other green-minded professionals to create a green-home transformation, and My Green Birmingham caught our eye. As contractor for this year’s giveaway, we offered our expertise as backup support to the other makeover sponsors. Our job was to help identify building codes and potential structural issues as needed. We also helped with coordination issues that might weigh in on the improvements to be made on the home. As it was, the sponsors were on top of everything and we more or less stayed in the background and watched them perform flawlessly. The Biga family now has a smarter home that is less drafty, is better insulated, and has a new high-performance heating and cooling system and heat pump water heater. 

Eco-Three

Jonathan Handey • 205.314.3500 • eco-three.com

WHO WE ARE: At Eco-Three, we are your energy efficiency experts. We specialize in home energy evaluations and energy-efficient upgrades. Our goal is to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. We provide each homeowner a prioritized list of cost-effective recommendations to help save money. Through an Eco-Three energy evaluation, you will learn how to lower your utility bills and live more comfortably in your home. 

HOW WE HELPED: Eco-Three provided a comprehensive energy evaluation on the Biga home. This is a series of tests that are run on the home to determine where and how the home could become safer, more efficient, and more comfortable. A custom E3 Upgrade Recommendations Report was prepared for the Biga family and was explained to them at the start of the process. Energy-efficient improvements included the installation of new insulation over the entire attic to an Energy Star level. Before the insulation was installed, a number of areas in the attic were air-sealed to keep more of the conditioned air inside of the home. In addition, new weather stripping was installed on doors. 

Portera

Andy Portera • 205.807.9090 • porteralandscape.com • andy@porteralandscape.com

WHO WE ARE:  Portera Landscape Design is a full-service landscape company that specializes in residential design and installation. Our passion is creating sustainable landscapes that are low in maintenance and high in conservation of natural resources. Our design principles focus on using native plants, conserving water through efficient irrigation systems and rainwater harvesting, using organic materials to feed our clients’ landscapes, and attracting beneficial wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

HOW WE HELPED: In approaching the landscape renovations at the Biga residence, our goal was to make the surroundings beautiful, low maintenance, and functional. To increase curb appeal, we added different colors and textures, including a host of perennials such as homestead verbena, Shasta daisy, creeping phlox, salvia, and cardinal flower. We also included plants such as Heuchera and Sweetspire. To keep maintenance low, we installed many native plants like Climbing hydrangea, Christmas fern, and Carolina jessamine. For functionality, we planted a vegetable/herb garden that includes thyme, lavender, oregano, lettuce, stevia, and rosemary. In addition, we recycled many of the things that the Bigas already had in their yard. For example, we moved existing wintergreen boxwoods and decorative grasses to different locations for more continuity, and we also left the shade trees and ground cover. Going forward, this landscape will look great, will take very little time to maintain, and will put fresh food on the table!

TOTO

Marci Jones • 205.251.8833 • totousa.com

WHO WE ARE: GLS Supply is TOTO’s premier Gold Showroom located in the Greater Birmingham area. For nearly 100 years, TOTO has been the recognized leader in performance innovation and design for premium plumbing products that enhance the luxury bathroom experience. Dedicated to engineering products that respect the environment while also meeting people’s needs for comfort, beauty, and performance, TOTO stands by its corporate philosophy of People-First Innovation. This philosophy guides all of the company’s processes, from engineering and design to manufacturing and sales.

HOW WE HELPED: TOTO installed eco-friendly toilets that use significantly smaller amounts of water without sacrificing performance. With these products in their home, the Bigas will enjoy the satisfaction that comes from knowing they have chosen a brand that innovates to improve quality of life. TOTO continues to raise industry standards and consumer expectations.

Standard Heating & Air Conditioning Company

Tyler Kime • 205.322.2679 • WeSetTheStandard.com • tylerkime@standardheating.net

WHO WE ARE: At Standard Heating & Air Conditioning Company, we provide sales, service, and maintenance programs for residential and light commercial heating and cooling equipment. We also do residential plumbing and generator sales and service. In addition, we recently started a Home Performance division to test and upgrade a home’s energy efficiency. Our company was started in 1939 and is family owned and operated.

HOW WE HELPED: For the Biga residence, we addressed three major concerns: inefficient equipment, a poorly designed and leaky duct system, and hot and cold spots throughout the home. The best approach was to install a new Carrier Performance Series 15 SEER heat pump in the attic to serve the main floor. This included a new sealed duct system for proper airflow distribution and energy efficiency. The new heat pump will provide energy savings on heating and cooling. A separate thermostat was also added to the existing system to serve the lower floor.

Mayer Lighting

Susan Burks • 205.583.3400 • MayerLighting.com

WHO WE ARE: Innovation, high design, and energy savings—Mayer Lighting Showroom has it all! Since 1930, Mayer has been the “go to” place in Birmingham for the best in lighting, design, and technical assistance. And now, customers can visit one of three showroom locations: Birmingham, Pelham, and Dothan.

HOW WE HELPED: In the 2013 Green Home Giveaway residence, Mayer has featured Satco Advanced Technology. Consumers want the energy savings of today, but many are reluctant to give up the familiar look and performance of the incandescent bulbs they’ve always known. Ditto LED replacement bulbs from Satco are virtual twins of their incandescent counterparts but they use up to 80% less electricity and last about 10 times longer.

Integrated Media Systems, LLC/Scarecrow Security

Tim Brice • President, Integrated Media Systems/Scarecrow Security • 205.956.4545 • imsysllc.com • tim@imsysllc.com

WHO WE ARE: Integrated Media Systems, LLC/Scarecrow Security provides custom electronic system design, installation, and services in residential and commercial markets. Our specialty is providing a unique and more satisfying experience for our customers with one-stop shopping.

HOW WE HELPED:  Integrated Media Systems, LLC/Scarecrow Security installed a state-of-the-art home-automation system from Honeywell Security International. The Bigas can control systems such as lighting, security, heating, and cooling, from the convenience of an iPhone, iPad, or Droid app. The system also offers energy-saving benefits, including the ability to set both time and occupancy schedules on the thermostat. This will allow the Bigas to run their HVAC system less, requiring less maintenance and lower operation costs. For security, door and window sensors were installed and specified to be either hard-wired or wireless. Security keypads, glass breaks, smoke detectors, and motion detectors were also installed. The result is peace of mind for the Bigas as they know their home is safe and secure, with the added benefit of today’s latest home-control and energy-saving technology.

Ethan Sawyer

334.294.5125 • sawyerwoodwork.tumblr.com • sawyerwoodwork@gmail.com

WHO HE IS: Ethan Sawyer has been producing custom, hand-made furniture since 2008 in a manner committed to the benefit of the planet. A supporter of creative re-use and sustainability, Sawyer constructs a majority of his work from wood salvaged from old buildings. This process extends the life cycle of useful building materials and celebrates the history of the old buildings from which the wood was gathered.

HOW HE HELPED: For the 2013 Green Home Giveaway, Sawyer used various woods left over from previous furniture projects, as well as 200-year-old salvaged wood. The coffee table is constructed of walnut, mahogany, birch, maple, and pine salvaged from an old mansion in Montgomery, Alabama. The piece has a water-based polycrylic finish.


Natalie Kelly, founder of MyGreenBirmingham.com, shares her tips for making your own home greener, one step at a time.

INCREASE HVAC EFFICIENCY AND IMPROVE AIR QUALITY IN YOUR HOME Make your HVAC system more efficient and the air in your house healthier by performing this simple maintenance task: Change your air filter! Dirty filters make the equipment work harder and can reduce efficiency. A completely clogged filter can make the coil freeze up, causing water problems and reducing the life of the system. Regular cleaning and changing of filters ensures the best filtration, enhances the unit’s efficiency and longevity, and provides healthier, cleaner air for the home environment. Most 1-inch filters should be changed once every three months but as often as once a month if you have several animals and/or allergies.

PURIFY WITH PLANTS Freshen up your indoor air with a little green.
Utilize purifying plants to naturally cleanse the the air in your home which can become tainted with allergens and other particles from the outside. Some of the most effective plants are bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, dragon tree, English Ivy, peace lily, and snake plant (also know as mother-in-law’s tongue).
These plants reduce carbon dioxide, reduce airborne chemicals and VOCs (stuff that comes from cleaners and paint in your home), and cultivate healthy levels of humidity.
Who knew a potted plant could be so multi-functional!

SLOW YOUR FLOW AND SAVE SOME DOUGH! Did you know that average indoor water use in a typical single-family home is 70 gallons per person per day?  In addition to taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth and washing your hands, you can make these simple upgrades to easily help conserve water in your home and reduce your water bill:
• Swap standard bathroom sink faucets which typically flow in excess of 2 gpm (gallons per minute) for higher efficiency versions that lower the flow to 1.5 gpm-a reduction of over 30%.
• Change out existing showerheads which tend to flow at 2.2 gpm or more, to a low-flow showerhead which flows at just 1.75 gpm or less.  An average family of four using a low-flow showerhead can save approx. 29,900 gallons of water each year.

TAKE STEPS TO MAKE YOUR OWN HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT The Birmingham WISE (Worthwhile Investments Save Energy) home energy program offers homeowners a realistic set of solutions for saving energy and lowering utility bills, making your home more efficient and comfortable, and reducing your home’s impact on the environment.
Working with its partners, Birmingham WISE is able to provide up to $750 in rebates to homeowners who install efficiency measures that result in an energy savings of at least 20%. For more information visit birminghamwise.org.

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