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Thursday, 05 November 2009 12:57

Going Green with Renewable Energy Products

A photo of our building back in late 70's!

In 2002, I decided to renovate our 25 year old, Fafco Solar building in Cape Coral...

In doing so, I tried to use as many green products and practices as I could afford...

Problem #1: I didn’t know anything about green building.
Problem #2: I didn’t know anyone else who did.

So, I had to go to Sarasota to find someone who had some knowledge and experience with green building.

Unfortunately, after his one visit to my shop, he never called back and I could never get him to return my calls. So, I was forced to search for another builder.

Eventually, I decided to use a local builder.

One I was familiar with, even though he had no knowledge or experience in green building. I had known him and his wife for many years. They both knew my father and on occasion he played cards with him. They also knew my son. They had a good reputation and I liked them.

So, I educated myself a little and told my builder what I wanted in the building. He thought some of my green ideas were strange but he did as I requested. When all was done, I was happy with my decision.

Unknowingly, my decision to renovate my existing building, rather than move and build somewhere else, was my first green decision.

By far, the most visible and impressive green aspect of the building is the 21 solar lights (tubular skylights) installed throughout the building. They allow the employees to work in natural daylight almost all day long without using any electricity... and they love it.

It also is a great demonstration of a product we offer.

People who visit are usually quite surprised when we tell them there’s no electric lights on. Stop in and take a look for yourself when you’re in the neighborhood!

All interior walls were painted with no VOC paint. (That stands for volatile organic compounds.) It wasn’t hard to find...even in 2002. We just had to ask for it.

We sprayed foam under the roof and into the block walls of the air conditioned portion of the building. During construction, it was noticeably cooler under the foamed portion of the roof.

We reused lumber from the deconstruction of the old shop in the new offices.

We installed a tankless water heater to eliminate stand-by losses since we hardly ever use hot water.

We also installed a dual flush toilet, a water cooled air conditionerlow E windowstile floors (except in two offices) and ceiling tiles made with partially recycled content.

On the outside, we planted native plants.

After moving into our newly renovated offices, we started improving our personal green habits, too. We, now, recycle almost all our paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and copper items.

Ultimately, my goal is to use zero fossil fuel within ten years. That would be a wonderful achievement! There’s still more to do, but we’re well on our way!

If YOU are interested in doing the same, contact me and we’ll make a plan to do it!

Energy independence is definitely possible!

For more information on green building, check out these links:

Have fun 'going green with renewable energy products', I sure did!

- Dan