Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome USGBC Webinar Attendees

If you have come to this blog after David Gulyas' presentation on the ReGreen remodeling guidelines and their application to kitchen and bath projects, congratulations. You are in the right spot! For a quick list of projects he helped with, you may look at related blog posts here or here. Or visit a summary of our green remodeling.

I must say David was instrumental in helping us go green with our kitchen remodel of Humphrey House, encouraging us to do things behind the walls such as tightening up the building envelope and maximizing daylighting in the space, as much as focusing on the materials and resources selected in our kitchen remodel. When evaluating materials, he helped us to think of products in terms of their overall lifecycle contributions, pointing out that the "embedded energy" in a product like bamboo cabinets, due to the manufacturing in China and transportation to the US, may make them less sustainable than cabinets made from local hardwoods.

And although the lack of green in our budget didn't allow us to be as green as we may have wanted, David was very supportive by telling us that was okay and "real" because we had to struggle with compromises and trade-offs.

It is great to see David get some attention and allow him to give back and help spread his knowledge among professionals.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Donating Building Materials Just Got Easier

At least in Chicagoland anyway, thanks to a new organization, the ReBuilding Exchange. Here's what they do:

The mission of the ReBuilding Exchange is to divert building materials from the waste stream and make them accessible to the public for reuse, protecting community health, creating jobs and saving resources.

They have a great list of all the materials they accept from 2x4s, to old doors and windows, to cabinets and more! Bonus: you get a donation receipt that can be a tax deduction next year.

The ReBuilding Exchange is having a grand opening on Friday, February 13th, with an open house, a live and silent auction, live music, food and drinks. Although Illinois has other locations such as the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Chicago Heights and Elgin, it's nice to see another entity promote the reuse of quality building materials right in the city. The ReBuilding Exchange is located at:

3335 West 47th Street
Chicago, IL 60632

Our garage has been a bit of a storage area for building materials taken / left over from Humphrey House that I was saving because I just couldn't see them going to waste. Now I know where to take them to give them new life when I clean out the garage next spring!

Friday, January 09, 2009

A New Look For 2009

The Humphrey House Blog has got a new look for 2009 - don't worry you're still in the right place! Just thought we'd spruce it up a bit ... can you guess the three people who are featured in the header?

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Cats Pay Their Rent

Or at least, one of them did.

Early Sunday morning, we uncharacteristically woke to the sound of our cat Cosmo sitting inside a plastic storage container in our bedroom, playing incessantly with a toy, as our other cat Merlin watched in approval.

Jen awakens several times and yells at him, "Cosmo, cut it out! We're trying to sleep in for once! Go downstairs and play!" But he ignores her and keeps slapping his toy against the walls of the plastic tub.

He finally crosses a line, and Jen gets out of bed to go over to him and shut him outside the room. "Ahh!! Jay! Wake up, Cosmo caught a mouse!"

Having been oblivious to all of this in my usual slumber, I groggily raise my head, and peek in the tub. "No, that's just one of the toy mouses we have for the cats. Go back to bed."

Suddenly, Cosmo removes his paw from the toy and we both see a tail that is much too long for the fluffy little pet store mice strewn about our house. Close by were two small but very distinct red splotches in the tub.

Yes, it was a real, honest-to-gosh, formerly living "Mickey" (as Rocco used to say). A mouse in our house. And whether it was Cosmo or Merlin, both cats were both clearly presenting their kill to us as a morning treat, surely expecting accolades and awards. It was hard to explain to the cats that people do not necessarily enjoy waking up to dead mice.

The oddest part of the experience is that there have been no signs of mice in the house. No chewing, no pooping, no nothing. Who knows where he came from? This weekend we packed up all of the holiday decorations, and completely cleaned and reorganized the basement. A lot of stuff was moved around. Maybe he slipped in from the garage (where we definitely have evidence of mouse). In any case, somehow our cats (both of whom are without front claws) caught the mouse, and delivered him. Ain't no little mouse living in this house!

And so, just a few days into 2009, the cats have already paid their rent.