Monday, April 25, 2011


This morning, we dealt with the failure of a 6 month old router, no signal, hard to diagnose problems, you know, we all have days like this. I'm beginning to feel like I can't wait for cloud computing. Hopefully somebody knows what they are doing in the cloud and we'll all benefit from not having software, links, applications and connections that conflict. Won't that be nice?
But, finally, back on-line, and I get a delightful e-mail from John Clapp, the owner of the Green Dream House from Mc Cook, Nebraska, pictured above.
When we visited in September of 2010, we were told the house was sold to a new owner and as far as anyone knew, the new owner wasn't giving tours of the place.
Well John Clapp is the new owner and he is definitely giving tours.  He's owned the house since 2004 and says requests have tapered off. A woman by the name of Judy Mahoney won the the Green Dream House from the American Recylers in a drawing a number of years ago. Many, many recycled materials went into the place. You can see the original blog of Sept. 12, by clicking on 2010 blogs, go to Sept. until you find it.

Here is an excerpt from John's letter:

The story that I heard about some of the history of the process of this home was that of the $200,000 winnings $40,000-$50,000 was used to purchase the lot (location) and to tear down an older rental home.  The original plan was for a finished basement and a matching garage in the back of the house.  I guess that the building funds ran short and these items were never completed when I purchased the home in 2004.  The actual builder, who I never knew, Tim Gilpin became ill before the house was completed and passed away due to cancer.  The basement is still unfinished, but in 2006 I completed a detached 3-stall garage behind the home facing south.  I used the same siding board and green metal roof that matched the original house as I was hoping the keep the recycled theme alive for me and any future owners.  An interesting  point was that these recycled materials were more expensive than regular materials in the building process. The home is all electric with two heat pumps and I have never had a bill more than $175.00 per month during the cold Nebraska winters and very hot Nebraska summers.

Thanks for stopping by McCook and posting the article as I found it very interesting.

Thank YOU, John, for the information.
Now recycled building materials and sustainable forest products are coming down in price. I've seen bathroom walls tiled with junk yard porcelain toilet lids, and wall board made from ground prescription bottles, and outside walls built from straw, adobe, lath and mud plaster, steel beams, foam blocks...the list goes on and on. Yes, many of them are as expensive as traditional materials but some are not. You can make the wallboard and adobe bricks yourself.  The good thing is the prices are getting more and more affordable as people demand "green" building. My daughter and her husband built their cabin out of mostly recycled wood. Old decking boards, "window mistakes" and wrong sized doors they picked up ahead of time were drawn into the plans.  You can buy used cabinetry and appliances that have been discarded when people remodel. They can be picked up at bargain prices. You can buy end lots, or close outs in tile and hardwoods cheaply that  blend and are beautiful, and new.  Warehouse carpeting that's new but not fancy. This Old House, a PBS television program does this all the time. Its worth a little extra effort to find the bargains and make a second use of what might otherwise end up in the landfill. In fact, some old reused products are better than what you can find on the market today.


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