I’m still “catching up” on the Insty posts I missed during August – mostly skimming the titles for anything that sounds interesting. This link to “Passive House” construction in the US caught my eye; innovations that make houses easier and cheaper to climate-control are all to the good, in my opinion. The technology is not quite “there” yet – it’s relatively easy to set something like that up in a moderate climate and much more difficult if you’re going to live in someplace that gets hot and humid or freezing cold. And it’s certainly still too expensive, but the only way for it to become cheaper is for the rich folks to experiment with it!
The only problem I really have with this is the architecture. I mean, really, guys, doing some “futuristic” “cool-looking” design on your passive house is what EVERYBODY does. You want a challenge, make it look like a popular historic design on the outside! That way in 20 years people won’t be laughing at you for your outdated house.
As for my own cookie-cutter townhouse, we did replace the original windows (they were in terrible condition) and all but the front door which is on our list of things to improve. We’ve done a lot of weatherstripping and sealing, and I made sure to get insulative window coverings because we have south and west exposure. I still need to figure out what kind of deciduous tree to plant on the west side of the house, though – we could do with a bit of shading in the summer! I’m not sure which to choose, though – it’d have to be a smaller tree to fit in the yard. Redbud grows in the neighborhood so that’d probably be a decent native choice (but for the full sun on an understory tree, hmm) – there are also plenty of crepe myrtles around the area. Guess I should be perusing the garden and landscaping stores this fall, as I wasn’t about to plant a sapling on the west side of the house BEFORE summer in this climate!