The Frank family of four has lived in their house at 829 South Winton Road in Brighton since 2008. Because they model green living through their everyday lifestyle and the changes they have made to their home, they received a Green House Award from ColorBrightonGreen.org.
They had an energy audit on their home in 2009. Actions taken as a result of that analysis include the following:
- Added insulation in the attic and basement;
- Installed an on-demand hot water heater;
- Installed a hybrid furnace. The furnace uses a heat pump to bring in heat from outside; the gas furnace kicks in only when it is too cold to sufficiently heat the house (below approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit).
Other energy-saving appliances they have purchased include:
- An EnergyStar dishwasher;
- A front-loading washing machine that uses only one-third of the water of a standard washer.
When it comes to drying their clothes, they hang them outside whenever the weather permits for the ultimate in energy-saving.
The Franks installed solar panels on their roof in 2012.
- Building support: The Town of Brighton required construction of a supporting wall in the attic, but no further modification to the roof was required.
- Installation: The panels were installed in just four days.
- Financing: Although the total cost of the system was about $20,000, the out-of-pocket expense was approximately $6,000. The reduction in cost came from a combination of a loan from the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA), a 30% federal tax credit, and a 25% state tax credit.
- Electricity output: In the first ten months of operating the system, they generated 3,576 kWh, of which they sold 2,148 kWh back to the electricity grid through a process called “net metering.”
- Environmental impact: They saved over 6,000 pounds of CO2 in just ten months of clean electricity production.
- They grow blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, mint, beans, peas, and radishes in their backyard garden.
- They purchase as much food from farmers’ markets as possible.
Waste and Recycling
- The Franks recycle two full bins per week, but produce only one can of garbage per month.
- Cheryl has worked with ColorBrightonGreen.org since it started as a Town committee in 2008.
- She has spearheaded recycling efforts at the Brighton Farmers’ Market and Council Rock Primary School.
- She has also worked on education and outreach through ColorBrightonGreen.org’s energy fairs, Curb Your Car weeks, Earth Hour, and tabling at other organizations’ events.
The Frank family always seeks to get where they’re going with the least possible impact.
- They walk to karate and tutoring.
- They bike whenever possible, to work or to meetings, even in rain and cold weather.
- They carpool for Girl Scouts and Gymnastics and combine trips whenever possible.
- When the car needs to be driven, whoever is traveling furthest always takes the more efficient vehicle, a Toyota Prius.