Posted by: greenpinkies | August 20, 2010

What Gave Us This Idea or “Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away…”

When you are introduced to a couple, one of the first things that come up in conversation is “so…how’d you meet?” Our friend Robert Webb with Crye-Leike showed us the Happy Hollow house one day and was like, “I can just feel it in my bones…this could be an awesome house if you fix it up.”

We had Steven Rehbock of Safe at Home Home Inspections, inspect the home.  His report was positive and although the house needed WORK, there were no fatal flaws.  So, we started looking into buying the house.  We had missed the $8000 first-time home buyer incentive the government was issuing.  So, we looked into the different grants and mortgages that were out there.  Incidentally, we heard in a news report about the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM).  You can watch a video detailing it on YouTube. It introduced us to RESNET, HERS index, and Energystar (see our ‘Define, Please’ tab).  A RESNET rater was required to establish a HERS index value on a house: all needed to apply for the mortgage. We ended up not qualifying for that mortgage, but the idea of being energy efficient had already piqued our interest.  Thus, we continued on that route. 

Lauren googled for a HERS index rater in Arkansas and found Ron Hughes (501-353-0605), located in Little Rock, AR.  We were hoping to find someone local so that we didn’t have to worry about getting him up here to the house…that’s like a four hour drive each way.  To our delight, Ron referred us to a guy who IS in the area, Gary Kahanak of Home Energy Consultants who is an official RESNET rater.  Not only that, Ron was super positive about our project.  That positivity and enthusiasm built our confidence in our new venture and made us realize just what a hot topic “going green” is.   

Because of this trend, Kim was sure there was some sort of National competition for creating an energy efficient house.  So she searched the web and sure enough!  She found EVHA, a National home energy competition. Turned out that we missed this year’s competition, but we can enter next year’s.  In fact, this year was the first year for existing homes (i.e. renovations) to be entered in the competition.  Years past it was only the newly built houses competing. 

As with all competitions, it has guidelines.  And to enter the competition requires more than the usual renovations.  Makes sense since to become energy efficient requires higher quality materials & appliances and a bit more strategizing.  Well, with Lauren as a mechanical engineer, we have the strategizing part covered.  However, for the extra expense, we decided we would try to get sponsors.  Thus, we started telling people what we were up to and developed Green Pinkies.  How better to get the word out when you can direct people to a blog!

From our interactions so far, we have come to realize that this project, like the very nature we are trying to preserve, is symbiotic.  Companies (big and small) in the area have talked with us about trying out new products in our house.  Or have helped us figure out what brand is better than the other.  Some have suggested using our house as a model or guinea pig to try new things in.  And others would like to just be there to watch and see what happens.  So, it’s really turning into an ‘I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine’ deal.  It’s fascinating to watch and the enthusiasm buzzing around the project is amazing!


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