Archive for Inspiration Home

Inspiration Home in Spring: See it on the Scott Homes 2013 Tour of Homes

DSC_5945The Inspiration Home will be open one more time for just one day. Sunday, May 5, from 11 a.m. — 4 p.m. Scott Homes was recently awarded ENERGY STAR’s 2012 Home of the Year “Best Demonstration Project” award. And, yes, we’re pretty proud of that. Coincidentally, we had a tour of homes planned this spring anyway. It all works out quite nicely.

If you missed the Inspiration Home last year, or if you want to talk to the owners and see if it’s living up to it’s potential, sign up for information on Scott Homes Spring 2013 Tour of Homes.

If you haven’t heard about the Inspiration Home, here’s the skinny: The Inspiration Home has every thing — energy efficient technology and finish — we could reasonably cram into one house. We wanted people to be inspired (get it? “Inspiration Home”?)

On the system side (dry information maybe, but pretty sweet when you get the monthly bills):

  • Ductless Heat Pump (DHP), one of the most efficient heat sources on the market
  • Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) to keep the home’s air fresh and healthy
  • Walls and roof of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for insulation, strength, longevity and reduction of waste
  • Solar hot water heater to reduce energy consumption
  • Starter Solar Panel Kit which can be easily expanded as needed
  • Triple pane windows
  • Raingardens — our goal is to have as little run-off as possible
  • Water-proofing system (NOT “damp-proof”) around basement

We also loaded the Inspiration Home up with our signature Craftsman touches. We could have added more interior details but that would have been going for Baroque.

  • Vaulted entry with custom twisted willow chandelier
  • Coffered ceilings (being in the Northwest, we thought we were getting coffee and asked for lots and lots [Oh, I've got a million of them])
  • Built ins surrounding gas fireplace
  • Re-purposed brick on the fireplace
  • Trex deck built for a lifetime right off the kitchen (BBQ heaven!)
  • Custom-built kitchen shelves
  • Re-purposed Craftsman buffet for the kitchen island
  • Custom built-in breakfast nook with the sweetest windows ever
  • Radiant heat floor in master bathroom
  • Lots and lots of storage
  • Very thoughtful ADA and multi-generational design

And, of course, there are lots of pictures to drool over.

While you’re here, take a few minutes to see all the fabulous partners who made building this home possible. Without their advice, design and products, well … we wouldn’t be calling it the Inspiration Home, I guess.

See you there!

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Bring a Little Sunshine

Last month we collected money at the door of the Inspiration Home (over $1,100!) to support our local Salvation Army. All that money gets used right here in Olympia to help local families. Thank you!

This Saturday we’re showcasing the warm, energy efficient Inspiration Home on the 2012 Thurston Solar Tour. For the Solar Tour we’re collecting cold weather clothes and gear.

As the morning’s mists linger into the afternoon and the nights are cooler, we’re all sorting through our closets, deciding what will be replaced and what will go. If you have any clean jackets, Read the rest of this entry »

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Why You Should Go on the Thurston Solar Tour

Why should you go?

  1. All the cool kids are doing it
  2. Last chance to view the Inspiration Home
  3. There’s a solar water heater and some panels to look at
  4. We’ve got programs showing real-time energy use and energy being generated (or not)
  5. Puget Sound Energy will be there with their energy efficient rebate smartnesses
  6. Exchange your incandescent bulbs for CFL bulbs for free (Rock the Bulb!)
  7. Smartypants-type people will be answering your building science questions (Why is there always mold in that one corner?)
  8. You can see what all the hubbub is about ductless heat pumps
  9. There’s plenty eye-candy for Craftsman style groupies
  10. Thurston Solar Tour is free with so many sites to choose from (we’re #4)

Hey! I came up with 10. I totally didn’t mean to do that. Neat.

Anyway, the 2012 Thurston Solar Tour is this Saturday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Inspiration Home is on it with its solar water heater and its solar panel “starter kit”.

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Inspiring Rebates from Puget Sound Energy

It takes less effort (and money) to save energy than to buy or build more energy. Puget Sound Energy has a vested interest in helping you save energy; it’s easier to provide energy-saving solutions and rewards than to build a new sub-station.

I know, I know. It’s hard to make the phrase, “We’re here from the utility company and we’re here to help” sound like something other than a joke. But it’s really, really true. See, population experts forecast Thurston County will grow by another Read the rest of this entry »

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Last Chance to See Inspiration Home

If you missed it in August, you have one. More. Chance. If you saw it in August, you have one. More. Chance. The point is that the Inspiration Home is open for one more day and that’s it. Bring a friend.

The Inspiration Home is part of the 2012 Thurston Solar Tour, this coming Saturday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you’re interested in solar systems (with panels and stuff, not planets), this is a great chance for you to see how your utility company — in this case PSE — works with your system. You can find out how your kilowatt usage is tracked as well as how PSE credits you back for the energy you’ve generated.

The Inspiration Home features a solar hot water heater and a PV “starter package”. Both of these were installed by our friend Kirk Haffner of South Sound Solar.

If you’re interested in Scott Homes houses, Scott Bergford himself will be there to answer questions about the methods he uses to design and build his extremely energy efficient homes. So if you’re wanting more about building with SIPs, ductless heat pumps, heat recovery ventilators and other amazing, cost-effective features, this is a great chance to experience what everyone’s talking about.

And if you just like pretty houses and are looking to kill an hour or two, you are just as welcome. We like to show off. (But no pets, please; there are allergy issues :) )

See you Saturday at the Thurston Solar Tour!

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Inspiration Home Winners! (Finally!)

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Inspiration Home open house door prizes … at last, at last!

For those of you who missed the Inspiration Home tour, your last chance to view this fabulous house will be during the 2012 Thurston Solar Tour, Saturday, September 29.

Grand Prize winner: $1,000 off Ductless Heat Pump
Ben R. plans on purchasing a home in the next couple months. His family was very impressed with all they learned about ductless heat pumps‘ energy efficiency and comfort. When they find just the right place, we’ll make their new home all cozy and warm and ready for the holidays.

Complete Home Energy Evaluation
Rick W. won Northwest Infrared‘s complete Home Energy Evaluation (valued at $350). Brent Foster will come to Rick’s house, inspect it visually and with his infrared camera, and then do a blower door test. These things combined will show Rick where his house has any air leaks, moisture problems, or insulation issues. Rick will get a written report with Brent’s findings as well as Brent’s notes on what can be to improve the home’s energy performance.

Black & Decker Circular Saw
Linda H. won the Black & Decker circular Saw donated by ProBuild of Olympia. Linda doesn’t have much use for a saw just now, but their son does so everyone is happy. ProBuild of Olympia spent a lot of time advising us on things like siding, decking and cabinets for the Inspiration Home. We truly appreciate their-above-and-beyond donation.

Le’Saric Gourmet Caramels
Jim T., Doug T., Katie B., Nathan A., Jacque B., Janet R., Christine B., Steve H., Jay L., Rosey T., Brandy B., Heather R., Addy B., Glen K., Bev S., Chris N. each won a lovely quarter-pound box of locally made Le’Saric Gourmet Caramels. I brought some from a craft fair one day and everyone at Scott Homes (who likes caramels, anyway) took one bite and said, “Ooo! Moh gosssh, mmmese er mood! Mreally mood!!!” So what better prize to give to you than Olympia-made, classy caramels that make us talk funny? We use them as thank you gifts as well, because nothing says thank you like sugar and butter.

Batdorf & Bronson Coffee
Wendy C., Linda H., John B., Diane P., Lucas K. each won a $10 Batdorf & Bronson coffee card. You just can’t go wrong with coffee that’s been locally roasted using 100% renewable energy right here in Olympia. We practically lived on B&B while building the Inspiration Home so we are very pleased to share it with our visitors.

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Discount Tickets to OMB’s Big Home & Garden Show

Look what I found in my email box this morning! A Living Social deal for two tickets to the Olympia Master Builders’ Big Home and Garden Show! Cool beans.

For five bucks ($5) you can have two tickets for either Saturday, September 15th or Sunday, September 16th.

We’ll be there as well as many of our friends and supporters from our Inspiration Home project:
Northwest Energy Team. Answering ALL your questions about the extremely energy efficient  ductless heat pumps and basic, inexpensive ways you can make your home more comfortable in the coming cold season.

ProBuild.Lots of folks who were at the Inspiration Home had questions about the TREX deck and its drainage system. There also was a lot of discussion about the home’s HardiePlank siding. These are the guys to ask.

South Sound Solar. SSS installed the solar hot water heater and the photovoltaic “starter kit” on the Inspiration Home. Kirk and Dever will be right across the aisle from us which is good because they’re really smart and know all about the rebates and credits involved when getting a system.

Thurston Energy. These are the people to start with when you plan to do an energy upgrade on your home. Their job is to help you thoroughly evaluate your home’s issues. If there’s things you can’t improve yourself, they’ll help you find an approved company.

Thurston County Solid Waste. “Why do I need to talk to these people?” I hear you cry. Well, they tell you how to dispose of the tricky stuff like bicycle frames and pesticides. BUT the part I like best is they are very interested in figuring out ways to reduce the volume of stuff that goes to the disposal sites: composting, re-purposing, etc. We used crushed glass for fill at the Inspiration Home. That is about eight square yards of “garbage” that was put to good use.

Puget Sound Energy. PSE was with us every day of the Inspiration Home Open House and boy! did I learn a lot. They have rebates I never heard of. They estimate that with the continuing rise of energy demands we are going to need enough energy to run another city the size of Seattle in the very near future. It’s easier to conserve energy than to make new systems to harness it. So go talk to them. Bring lots of questions and an open mind. They even impressed my dad (imagine a Walter Matthau picture here).

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Fabulous Prize Update for the Inspiration Home!

Remember when I said there would be more door prizes, but I hadn’t collected them yet?

That’s right! There’s more!

When you visit the Inspiration Home (the last weekend is almost here — Aug 25/26, 10-4), you can sign up for a chance to win all sorts of things including:

A rather nice Black and Decker circular saw from Probuild (oh, ProBuild, we love you so) in Olympia. You can have it if you promise you’ll watch your fingers. All of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Inspiration Home FAQ’s

With one more weekend of the Inspiration Home Open House to go (Aug 25, 26, 10-4) I am finally getting around to answering the most common questions. So here we go:

What is the …
Kitchen counter top?
“Absolute Black Satin” granite. It’s got a more rustic finish and you do have to clean it properly (but not annoyingly) every couple weeks or so. From Granite Gallery in Tumwater. They do a beautiful job and are a JOY to work with.

Bathroom counter top?
Soapstone “smoke” from Granite Gallery.

Master bathroom floor?
I spent two weekends telling people the floor was slate. It’s porcelain tile. Sorry. It’s called “urban concrete” and Granite Gallery spent a loooong day cutting big 24″ x 24″ tiles down to 4″ x 12″. And it looks so nice. Read the rest of this entry »

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No, No! Don’t Runoff! Jeffrey B Glander Saves the Day!

One of the goals for the Inspiration Home (we have a lot of them) was to have no stormwater runoff from the lot. The best way to do this is by constructing a rain garden* to catch and filter the runoff.

Eliminating stormwater runoff is a good and conscientious goal but we were slammed trying to get the Inspiration Home together on time. There’s no one around here experienced enough for rain garden research and design. So it was: Read the rest of this entry »

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