As the fall harvest was winding down with frozen vegetables (no pickling this year) and seed preparation, my efforts returned to Green4r, the renovation project consultancy I felt was needed (and I’m still “validating” the service, which means finding out what people want and when). Green4r (Edit, 2017: now Rewilding) is basically about the same philosophy as this blog: if you’ve got space (and if you live in a dwelling, you usually do), use it to

  • produce some of your own food,
  • recreate space that the natural world can “take back,”
  • impact the natural world less by conserving the resources you use,
  • and to protect your abode and your investment in it by enhancing its quality, durability, and appeal.

The last point sounds dry and markety but really, it’s about an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; and the more long-range the decisions you make about your home, the more you are likely to love it, the more hospitable it will be, and the better its intrinsic and emotional value in the long run. Because people want to live in a place that is not only green, but unique, considered, and loved.

In brief, over the past year I took a course on home renovation put on by Héritage Montréal, and then put my new knowledge and project management skills to work. I created a large project plan based on the scope and systems I wanted to change here and their logical order, and different government subsidy programs that were implemented to kickstart and consolidate the sometimes-lagging green renovation economy here in Quebec. Across various months, the following items changed here:

  • Recessed lighting removed and sealed over from the second-floor ceiling (venting into the attic, not good!), and reinstalled (same halogen/LED-compatible fixtures) to the downstairs home office/den
  • Installation of two solar tunnels to introduce light at the central stair column and provide extra brightness in the main bathroom
  • Lighting changed in the main bathroom, as well as decor changes that the new lighting required (vanity counter and sink, new faucets, and tiling saved for the final stage of the current list)
  • Replacement of an open pre-fabricated fireplace with a high-efficiency pellet stove for auxiliary heating
  • Reinsulation of an inadequately sealed storage room, to help with what I would call extreme coldness of the room above the storage room. Without heating these rooms, temperatures in January tended to be 4-6ºC in the storage room, and 10-14ºC in the bedroom above. The two other unheated bedrooms were a balmy 16ºC, which is good enough for sleeping. This effort finished this week! However, the basic photo of the “after” has only one difference than what would have been before: the wall to the right, a fire wall (mur mitoyen), is now covered and insulated all the way.
    The far end is the knee wall facing the attic of the garage: pretty much uninsulated, no vapour barrier or sealing: now corrected. The floor was filled with blown insulation, and the other walls insulated with pink rigid styrofoam, vapour barrier, and covered.

Presently, being spring and getting ready to plant the garden, the driveway renovation is the going concern. And that is going to be a treat, as I have wanted to convert my driveway to a green driveway almost since the beginning, scoping out the project five years ago. It’ll be done in April and I’m looking forward to that!