This week on Upstater we’re going to be focusing on eco-friendly properties in upstate New York, places whose green features
range from being accessible by public transit (yes, that counts) to places with solar or gray water or geo-thermal heat, or any of a number of features that make me, um, green with envy.
Yeah, sure, the revitalized, de-politicized environmental movement known as all things green has taken a backseat to more urgent matters — the stuff that’s got the Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Street-ers all up in arms. And while that’s made it harder for me, personally, to make a living writing about sustainability and green building, as I did for the last ten years, it’s done nothing to quell my enthusiasm for that strain of architecture.
Lots of things can make a house green. I once interviewed a couple who bought a ranch house in Ann Arbor that just happened to be situated on its suburban-ish lot in such a way that it functioned as a passive-solar home — barely needed any additional heat during winter days, and with the help of increasing the length of the eaves and blocking out the fierce summer sun, didn’t need AC either. Sometimes landscaping is important: plants that don’t sop up much water, or are native and non-invasive.
What attracts me to green homes these days, beyond the do-gooder aspects and the lowered utility bills, are the indoor air quality aspects of them. Many use ingredients, from paint to drywall, with no fumes, low dust, anti-mold ingredients. My chronic sinusitis makes me crave a place like this. My friends build a LEED-certified house up in Saratoga (LEED is a designation by the U.S. Green Building Council that means the place has met certain environmental standards), and I guarantee you there is no cleaner spot on earth, indoors or out.
This week we’ll round up resources for finding green houses and check out some for sale. Read on!