The first Green House Award from ColorBrightonGreen.org is given to Ruth Morton’s Cape Cod style home at 179 Maybrooke Road. This 1940’s home on a 1/3 acre lot is surrounded by bountiful, organic flower and vegetable gardens, including raspberries, rhubarb, asparagus, blueberries, hundreds of daylilies and other perennial plants. Ruth lovingly maintains the gardens and fills her camera with close-up photos of her flowers, some which we have included in this report.
Ruth and her husband purchased the home in 1953 for their family. They have built additions and completed numerous remodels, including a south-facing family space with triple-glazed windows, designed to take full advantage of passive solar gain from the sun. In the 1970’s, they installed a solar collector on their south facing rear elevation that serves to heat an upstairs bedroom with fan units. It is still functioning and in use.
The house has had a couple of energy audits, the most recent happening this year. The furnace and air conditioning unit are energy efficient models and most windows are triple-glazed. Cellulose insulation was added to attic spaces. Most lights bulbs are compact fluorescents. Ruth dries her clothes year round on a clothes line or drying rack, and only uses cold water to do laundry. Her electrical bill averages around 300 kwh/month!
Her eyes sparked interest as we discussed a book she recently completed reading, Omnivore’s Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan, a book which explores the social, environmental and ethical impacts of food choices. Ruth expressed her interest in purchasing food locally (that which she doesn’t pick from her own garden), so she goes to local farmer’s markets and is a regular at the Brighton Farmers Market on Sundays. She drives a 2005 fuel-efficient Toyota Prius and combines trips when she runs her errands.
Visually her house is a delight to the senses, but her interest in reducing her impact on the environment and conserve energy is in evidence in how she lives within the house’s comfortable spaces.