Old Farmhouse, Cold Winter: First Steps in Energy Efficiency at River Bend Farm

A familiar tale throughout New England is that despite the undeniable charm of an old farmhouse, they can be quite a chilly place in the winter months. As The Ecology School's Team Admin planned to move to River Bend Farm, they knew the farmhouse needed to update the insulation material to keep everyone toasty at work. In November, Tim Gill from Simplified Green Homes conducted a home energy audit utilizing a thermal imaging camera to detect which spots in the farmhouse were most prone to heat loss. As a result of his recommendations, in December Simplified Green Homes air-sealed the attic (closing up every crack, hole, plumbing, and electrical penetration, including the wall tops), sealed the entire perimeter foundation sill of the building using non greenhouse gas spray foam in the basement, and removed the old fiberglass insulation in the attic replacing it with cellulose (recycled paper) treated with boric acid for pest control and fire suppression qualities. They also added programmable thermostats to control heating in the off hours. A full retrofit of the farmhouse is planned for the next chapter of the River Bend Farm project which will bring the building in line with the standards of the Living Community Challenge while retaining its beautiful historical nature.

And, funny enough, this wasn't Tim's first exposure to The Ecology School. He volunteered as a parent chaperone for his son's three day residential program with the entire 5th grade class from Lebanon Elementary School. Tim has this to say about his experience back at the beginning of November:

“I got the opportunity to spend some time at the Ferry Beach location and I think there just are not enough outlets for kids to experience this type of learning. You truly are a shining star, and I think it is great for the kids to meet a group of people who might not think like the people they run into in everyday life. It's great for them to meet a group of people who truly care about ecology, the environment, and friendship.”