Yesterday, I lugged my very heavy drawing table into the second floor loft. This will be a temporary situation for two reasons: First, I want to limit the amount of design-work I bring home. Second, we need a place to pay bills and set the computer.
We have decided to build a desk that matches the wood cabinets and will wrap around the northeast corner of the room. It was always anticipated to have a desk there, but didn't know if we'd find a piece of furniture or just build something in-place. We installed several receptacles for powere and data, but like other decisions we decided to wait until after we used the space for a while.
Right now at night, a person at the desk is a bit conspicuous to passers-by. But when the window treatments are installed we'll be hidden from the street but will still see the sky, trees, and vista across the river. The top-down/bottom-up feature of the window treatments provides that flexibility.
We just received our first full-month's electric bill. We weren't living there the entire month, but the HVAC systems were all running as if we were; to dry things out and test them. The electric charges were a good bit less than what we would normally receive in the summer before the renovation. That is really great news as we added 800 SF of conditioned space (50% more) and more-than-doubled the glass area of our house. Also, this past June and July were unusually hot. There are several factors that I attribute this reduction to:
- The old house had very little insulation in it. We more than doubled the effective R-value on the remaining old house walls and have a very high value on the new construction.
- The house has less air-infiltration than before. The expandable insulation helps as well as having new windows that seal tighter.
- The old single-pane aluminum windows were all removed and high-quality insulated (R-3)windows are being used throughout.
- The lights were hardly used before 8:30 PM. With so much window area and the open living areas, there is plenty of light to do most any task.
- The HVAC systems have a higher SEER value and should be more efficient.
We'll continue to monitor the energy consumption throughout the year and compare it to old bills for the 30 months we lived in the house before starting the renovation.