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July 2010 – Amanda Doster

Amanda Doster, a graduate student, was looking for a way to create a quiet writing space in her 100-year old rambling communal Victorian home in Greenfield. The attic, which was unbearably hot in summer even with the air conditioner running full blast, and cold to the point of seeing your breath in the winter, caught her eye. With an old shag wall to wall carpet and sagging wall board, it had clearly been used in the past, but had sat empty for many years. She consulted with her talented housemates, drew up a plan, got their commitment to work with her on it, called in the building inspector, and they all rolled up their sleeves.

After several months of dust and dirt, she has settled into her dream office that is clean, modern-looking, and amazingly cool. “What has really amazed me is how cool it is, even on the hottest of days. We have even given away the air conditioner! The attic now stays cooler than the second floor - and I expect we will be able to heat it with almost nothing.”

On ripping down the sagging wall board, they discovered mouse-deteriorated fiberglass insulation and rafters that were only four inches deep. So the challenge was, how to meet code, which requires an R-value of 30, but 4” of fiberglass is only R12! Additionally, the could not afford to lose even one inch of headroom. They searched for other options, and found Four Seasons Insulators in Keene that installed Icynene, an environmentally-friendly foam, that would deliver R30 within the existing rafters. “Foam is pricy, but it was worth every penny. Fortunately we weren’t worried about the wall-depth, so we could insulate with cellulose there, which is less expensive.”

After rewiring, insulating, installing new double pane windows with a warm edge and low-e glass, recessed lighting, a small baseboard electric heater, and a wood laminate snap in floor, Amanda now has her dream writing space—complete with exposed beams and her recently won Poet’s Seat chair.
Amanda is Greening Greenfield’s Hero of the month for making energy efficiency her highest priority. To nominate a Green Hero, go to HYPERLINK ""

Think Global, Act Local EarthThrives tells the story of what is Green, Sustainable and Local for the Pioneer Valley, MA!