Gail of Green Living


“GREEN” Christmas Gifts

Green Christmas gifts

I went in the car today for only my second Christmas shopping trip.  This time it was a short trip to the Museum District to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Gift Shop.  They always have the best stocking stuffers for all ages and interests.  From left to right, I found shopping bags that will easily pack in the corner of a handbag or it has a clip on it to attach to your belt loop or key chain.  The crayons are made from old crayons and they are large and easy for young hands to hold.  They remind me of the candles I used to make from old crayons in Girl Scouts.  The MFAH has many other items made from recycled products, and of course, the design is always clever.  The little white rolls on the right are produce bags I picked up at HEB while food shopping, and they are great to replace the plastic bags at the supermarket.  I find them to be strong and easy to wash in between shopping trips.

Wrapping paper and ribbon are the most difficult to re-use.  But this wrapping paper from Target is 100% recyclable.  I don’t try to re-use it.  It is a little fragile, but the colors are vibrant and you can’t see through the paper. One year many years ago, I used newspaper to wrap gifts, and several years, I used craft paper, but it is so sturdy and heavy now, it’s not so easy to use.   The ribbons I buy are usually the wired ribbons, and they are easy to save and re-use without having to iron them.

We have saved time, energy and a lot of gasoline using online shopping this year.  FedEx, USPS and UPS are coming down our street every day anyway.  Many businesses did not even charge for shipping, and we were able to take advantage of sales online, too.  I highly recommend it!

How are you greening your Christmas?

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GREEN Medical Center Home For Sale: The Windows

HurricaneShield® Impact-Resistant Insulating Glass

This high-end energy-efficient, Fortified-rated home in Braes Heights, a neighborhood quite near the Texas Medical Center, Rice University and the Museum District of Houston, TX, is for sale for $1,695,000.   I have written in previous posts about many of the energy-efficient features of this home, that are far beyond any I have ever read about or seen.  The Fortified Rated home designation has a lot to do with the choice of windows and doors.

The windows are from the Pella Architect Series/Hurricane Shield product line.  The Pella website describes these windows as follows: “An advanced polymer layer is sandwiched between two layers of glass, offering strong protection from flying debris — while increasing the safety, security, ultraviolet protection and energy efficiency of your home.”

The frames are reinforced aluminum clad all wood windows, which have a low maintenance exterior, and a paintable or stainable interior.  These windows offer protection from the periodic hurricane as well as any attempted break-in.  They have a great R and U value and unparalleled sound dampening.   This quality cost the owner an additional 50% on windows and doors, but windows of this quality were required for the Fortified Rating.  The increased costs should be paid back by savings on energy and having to have no replacements for many years to come.

This home also includes a Fresh Air System, low-vox paint, American made plumbing and electrical products,  and an Envirogreen Mosquito Control System.  The landscaping includes native plants watered by a drip irrigation system hooked up to the cistern where rain water is collected.

The owner shared with me that he thinks the increased costs to make this home qualify for LEED Platinum and the Fortified Ratings, were probably 20% over traditional building.  See more photos and details of this home.  Contact me and I will be happy to get answers to your questions and give you a tour!



Green Townhome
1414 Southmore

I have this property listed in the Museum District, which is just adjacent to the Medical Center.  It has some green features you can usually count on finding in a property built since 2005.  Several of these features would be easy to put in an older townhome to make it more efficient.  One is low-e windows.  There are more windows placed on the north and south exposures than on the west, where intense heat can add to energy use in the summer.

Another feature that is easy to add to any home is a digital programmable thermostat.  Set it to be warmer in the summer while you are at work and have the house cool by the time you return.

A feature of this home that you don’t see in many green articles is the flooring.  All floors except the two bedrooms on the second floor, are Italian carerra marble tile.  In Houston, this creates a cool floor that is very comfortable in the summer.  The second floor living area has very high ceilings that trap warmer air at the ceiling and make this living area more comfortable.

Ceiling fans throughout the home allow the thermostat to be set to a warmer temperature in the summer.  In the winter, the fans can blow the warmer air toward the floor for added comfort.

A North-South exposure is another feature that makes heating and cooling this home more efficient.  In the winter, sun will come in the south windows to heat the home.

Another green feature of this home is its location.  It is within walking distance to the Metro Rail that can take you to downtown venues or south to the Medical Center, Rice University and Reliant Stadium.  You can also walk to Hermann Park, lots of museums and Miller Outdoor Theater.  You can park your car in the garage and improve our air quality and gasoline.  This feature is beyond reality for most Houstonians!

Look at other pictures and information for 1414 Southmore http://goo.gl/shGxO  and let me know if you or someone you know might be interested in this stunning property.