Eco Friendly Remodel, Eugene, OR

Eco Friendly Remodel, Eugene, OR

Somewhat in the centre of Oregon, just off the Interstate 5, is Eugene.

This city seemed to have an exceptional quantity of solar panels. We saw roof panels in just about every residential neighbourhood we passed. We did interview two couples in this green city, but the timing didn’t work out for us to interview more.

Gary and Pamela’s eco-friendly renovation

Eugene Eco friendly home renovation

Gary and Pamela's Eco-Friendly home renovation

Gary and Pamela toured us through their renovated home in their inner city neighbourhood of Eugene. This home was one where they started with a renovation plan and the plan kept on expanding. It took a while, but the end result, was a home that fit the homeowners needs perfectly.

The couple got together just a few years before. When they married and were looking for a home together, they knew they required an office space for both of them. Pamela is a councillor and required a private space with its own outside door. Gary, a self-employed energy auditor, also required his own space. When they found this home, they could see it working for them.

Gary calls himself a “solar guy” but knows that the envelope of a home is just as important as the solar panels and other green elements. Therefore, walls were torn up and just some of them put back, but not before they were widened and filled with a Fibre Glass blown-in insulation. Windows were replaced – without Low-E – so that the suns rays gave the home Passive Solar heating and additional light. The ceiling was raised by the installation of skylights. A new kitchen with a better layout was installed and to Gary and Pamela, the list went on and on.

Eugene eco friendly renovation passive solar

Passive Solar lights the newly renovated living room

Gary told us that the most interesting renovation element was the one we couldn’t see. This was a Heat Recovery Coil put into the bathtub/shower drain. When a person is taking a shower, a coil wrapped around the drain, captures the heat, which in turn goes back to the water heater. Subsequently, the on-demand hot water system works less as you shower. This system was not complicated to install, but the idea opens up the imagination for other ways of recovering heat that otherwise is simply – going down the drain!

The hallway included a solar tube, a simple lighting system of glass and mirrors that brings sunlight into a home, even moonlight in the night. Other efficiencies were installed – many not noticeable but that really made a difference to their energy usage.

When we visited the couple, There was a Solar Thermal hot water panel on the roof. They were in also the process of installing Solar PV panels.

The couple was quick to point out that you must get efficient first, have a tight-well insulated envelope, then you can add the extras. We have heard this before, but it is so true.