Friday, February 4, 2011

Living "Green"

When Orlo Stitt was growing up in Iowa, his parents and grandparents taught him:
"Don't be wasteful."
"Don't take things for granted."
"Give back to the Earth for all the wonderful things she's given us."
He carried those lessons with him, shaping every aspect of his life. Driven from childhood to practice conservation, his commitment to building energy efficient homes is evident the first time you meet him. We are lucky to call him friend and neighbor, and we're proud to say he built the home we love so much !
His new book Holistically Green Homes is an accumulation of many years of knowledge and techniques that he has researched and documented to build homes that are not only beautiful but truly energy efficient. In the book he lays out eighteen principles that describe what green home design and building are all about. These principles can be used with both existing or new construction.

We built our home 6 years ago this May. It was a difficult site to build on, a very sloping mountain side, but we fell in love with the wooded land and the view of the lake.
Stitt Energy Systems took our plans and tweaked them to build us a home that would have extremely low utility bills. The placement of the house with the largest expanse of windows being on the South and East side took advantage of the Winter sun's heat. The conservation of trees shades us during Summer months. Arxx blocks were used to pour solid concrete walls for the first floor, in our case our basement. Bio-Foam insulation, a soybean-based foam was used to give us high R-Values in the walls and the attic. Energy efficient CFL bulbs, EnergyStar appliances and Rheem 16-Seer heat pumps heat and cool our house. We chose a Noritz on demand hot water heater and have been very happy with the performance and costs. Those all add up to great savings on our energy bills. Last year our total cost for electric bills (for us that includes heating and cooling, 2 heat pumps) was $982 or an average of $81 a month. We don't do without anything to achieve these low bills, we live just like everyone else forgetting to turn off lights and wasting electricity sometimes. But we are that generation that reminded our kids to turn off the lights and television so we don't waste without some guilt !
The Master bedroom is on the second floor. Can you read the little pillow in the chair?
It says, "The Best Is Yet To Come"...
isn't that the most wonderful thought !?!
Our rooms are small, but they are open and I love that!
I wish my kitchen was larger though, it drives me crazy not to have "elbow room !"
 We built these patios ourselves, two old people ! It nearly killed us but we survived and we enjoy them so much. There are decks on the back of the house, but the patios are our favorite place to relax.


 The flowerbeds are all very rocky so everything has a "Natural" look.

 That's our excuse anyway for letting Mother Nature do our landscaping !
 The best thing about where we live is the lake. We like to fish and our Grandsons love the water like us. Arkansas is a great place to live and enjoy the many blessings of life. Living green is an attitude that we can all incorporate into our lives. We reap the rewards with lower energy bills. Small steps really can save you a lot on your utility bills !

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful!! Love the little patio the best....

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  2. You have a beautiful home....

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  3. The kitchen doesn't look small.
    Your home is beautiful and so is the setting. Arkansas is a beautiful state.

    I wish our utility bill was that small; I won't share what it is. It is embarrassing.

    Then heat is separate...propane.

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  4. Thanks so much, we feel very blessed to live on this mountain with all it's beauty! I hope that you read Holistically Green Homes and be inspired by Orlo to make changes in your life. The rewards are great, now... and for our planet.

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  5. Loved looking at your house. And, boy, am I impressed with your utility bills! We're not there yet.... but working on it. Hugs

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