Don’t miss this annual springtime opportunity to gather free organic (and some heirloom organic) vegetable, herb and flower seeds at the Seed-to-Seed Library in the Fairfield Woods Branch Library in Fairfield. The Seed-to-Seed Library has seed packet donations from Comstock Ferre in Wethersfield, CT, the oldest operating seed company in the U.S., and other generous seed companies. There’s plenty to share.
The area is on the first floor near the Resource Desk and is run in partnership with the Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm. The drawers are categorized with seeds that are easy to difficult to plant, there’s a sign in sheet, tutorials, handouts and more. Open a packet, take out a few seeds and place in the little envelopes provided by the library.
Please remember to sign in so the library can track how well-loved the program is for future grants.
Funding for this program was generously provided by Fairfield Earth Day Committee. Seeds for the Seed-to-Seed Library were graciously donated by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., Mansfield, MO; Comstock Ferre in Wethersfield, CT, oldest continuously operating seed company in the U.S.; and Renee’s Garden—Gourmet Vegetables, Kitchen Herbs, Cottage Garden Flower in Felton, CA. A grant from New England Grassroots Environment Fund has helped to establish the seed library.
As promised in our earlier post today, Is a Free Energy Audit Worth It?, here is a checklist of things you want to make sure you do and ask for during your free energy audit:
Make it clear to whomever is scheduling your audit that you expect expert and seasoned auditors to conduct your free audit. Make sure that two auditors will attend your audit, or, one auditor and a quality-control representative from U.I.
Before your audit, make sure that your attic and basement spaces are somewhat clear enough for the auditors to get into (they don’t tell you this on the phone!).
Important: You are not allowed to go in and out of your house during the audit or else the door blower test will be inaccurate or they will be unable to do it. All interior doors need to be opened during the test, as well, so if your child is napping, or pets need to stay behind doors, the auditors need to know.
When the auditors arrive, ask them to give you a step-by-step rundown of the process or else you won’t know what is going on as they move through your home.
Ask them to fully explain why they are doing the door blower test, and what they hope to find. (They conduct two blower tests…ask them why…)
Ask them if you can follow them as they are doing their audit (however, if there are two auditors, this will be tricky).
Discuss your electric bill with them right away. Tell them you are concerned that it is higher. (No doubt they will tell you to talk to U.I., but you may glean some insights from confiding in them that your bill may have spiked in Dec./Jan.)
Make sure you find out what they are offering you for free. They should offer you CFL light bulbs, faucet aerators, rebates (this is tricky, however—the rebates are really only if you plan to hire a contractor to install high-tech insulation with high R-values), weather-stripping, foam insulation, and a handheld power meter. Ask about low-flow shower heads, although we were not offered any from Gulick.
At the end of the audit, they will sit down with you to go over their findings. This is tricky because you want to understand what they found, but they will probably feel rushed and need to go off to another audit. BUT, insist that they fully explain things to you. Especially have them explain the CPM Pre, CPM Post, and CPM Reduction which impacts your electricity bill (one of us was told that the CPM results showed that our bill will be reduced by $12 a month due to the services they provided during the audit).
If you did not get a handheld power meter because they are out of stock, call the audit company and make sure you are on the list to get one. It could take a couple of months to get it. The power meter is a device that helps you know the energy output of your various appliances. We didn’t see one, so we don’t know what it looks like. One of our auditors didn’t even tell us about it, but we knew we were supposed to get one from the grapevine.
Two Frugal Fairfielders have had their free energy audits, compliments of U.I. Was it worth it? We want to hear from you about your audit experiences, too.
We think it was worth it because it was free. If we had to pay for the audit, we would have wanted a lot more time and information from the auditors.
The bottom line: The experience is subjective based on your auditors and the information they offer. There are a number of companies doing these audits in Fairfield, we happened to have had auditors from Gulick. We know that there were a couple of articles in local papers, and through the phone number, 1-877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873), you could evidently find other auditors.
Some of the information and insights from our auditors were obvious (use CFLs, low-flow shower heads, etc.). But, the main issue the auditors address is the decompression of your house, which allows them to find serious air leaks.
The good news: the Gulick auditors give you some nice items, such as faucet aerators (some residents like them, so do not). To read more about faucet aerators, click here. They also replace some bulbs with CFLs if you don’t have them already. They add weather-stripping, foam insulation (bits of it, not whole walls) in holes, and caulking (but one of us can’t find where they actually caulked although they assured us they did “lots” of caulking).
The best news: Decompression, or, the blower test. To read more on blower tests, click here. The simplest explanation is that they suck out air flow from your house so they can find leaks and determine how airtight your home really is. In one of our homes, they found major leaks coming from the two pull-down attic doors. (This explained why the master bedroom feels like a meat locker in winter even when the heat is turned on. Note: Without the blower test, we could not feel the whoosh of cold air, but with the blower test, it was painfully obvious.) The auditors added weather seal tape (looks like packing tape to us) to the door to seal off the whoosh of freezing cold air on the unused pull-down door.
If you are going to have an audit, or want to schedule one, we will post a Part II with tips later today. You will definitely want to know these tips before your auditors come by.
We’d like to make “Did You Know” into a recurring post, so please stay tuned.
Did you know that you can check out free and discounted museum passes at the town libraries? Free passes include: The Discovery Museum, Beardsley Zoo, and Barnum Museum. Discounted passes include Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, and Mystic Aquarium.