Green Homes – Ugly Ducklings Or Beautiful Swans?

A “green” home is a home that is highly energy efficient, has excellent indoor environment, and is built to exceed local building codes. So are they ugly then? Look like the Jetson’s space-age house? So obvious they would stick out like a sore thumb? No. No. and No. A green home looks just like conventional construction inside and out.

The beginning of a green home is a set of plans that starts with a conventional floor plan and elevations. Then an experienced green home building will modify the systems of the house to accommodate green home features and energy saving devises – A geothermal system rather than air conditioning; in-floor heating rather than a conventional natural gas forced air system; a grey water recapture system; energy efficient windows, doors, appliances, and water heater; and high quality, high ‘R’rated insulation.

The best part is that these systems work very different from their conventional counterparts, but are invisible to the homeowner and their guests. The home will be quieter and cleaner without the dust and noise of conventional forced air heating. And the energy cost savings are substantial, depending on your particular situation.

Energy Star appliances sip electricity but are similar or identical to your current appliances. And cabinets and trim can be identical to conventional houses or use recycled material or earth-friendly woods for a more eco-friendly alternatives.

The cladding and shingles on the outside of the home are no different than a conventional home making the home blend in to its neighborhood seamlessly. However, the market value is probably higher than the surrounding homes due to its energy saving advantages and tax incentives.

So a green home is a beautiful swan, not an ugly duckling, at all!

11 Tips for Stripping Wallpaper: How to Get Rid of Ugly Wallpaper!

I broke my promise to myself and stripped wallpaper again. The only reason I did this is for $100,000 profit. My family and I did not have time to wait for professional help. We sold our investment property before finishing the work and needed the home ready for appraisal.

While stripping the wallpaper, I realized that many homemakers get wrong advice for this horrendous task. After years of experience on over 30 houses, I offer my tried and best tips:

1. Use a clothes steamer or rent a professional steamer

2. Soak a large section of the wall

3. Run a “Paper Tiger” scoring tool across the damp section

4. Steam the section again

5. Spray the section with fabric softener and hot water

6. Score the section with the paper tiger again

7. Steam again

8. Remove any curling edges (sometimes large areas peel off)

9. Scrape with a six inch sheetrock blade

10. Repeat the above steps on the section until most scrapes off easily

11. Scrub with hot water, TSP, and a sponge with a scratchy surface

Cautions: Use the Paper Tiger gingerly so you don’t scratch or gouge the walls. Use gloves with the harsh chemical TSP.

Don’t live with ugly wallpaper any longer!

P. S. Please email me if you have any additional tips on stripping wallpaper that would help others!

Copyright © 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author’s information with live links only.)