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Remodeling Your Home to be More Eco-Friendly: Featuring Cape Painting & Carpentry, Inc.

By Kristen Bosse

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

I purchased an older historic house and exquisite piece of land on impulse during a visit to Cape Cod, where I was essentially stalled due to weather events and the Steamship Authority had to cancel their schedules to Marthas' Vineyard. I had grown up in part in the N.Y. Metro areas and had lived in older and historic homes. I totally changed my life in N.Y.C., moved back to Cape Cod, associated with Unique Master Carpenter and we started working together on my new home. I was his helper, then I became his helper and Full time Student and after we completed my project we formed a Construction Company and incorporated in 1973.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Our focus was originally interior trim, interior projects and related painting and finishes. This evolved into new construction, remoldeling and my first interest which became historic preservation and rehab. During the early 80s, Tom, the other owner, retired and I continued and formed a time employee base of experienced rehab Master Carpenters, other men and women just starting out in construction who wanted a career. Some original people are still with me since I treat them how I want to be treated AND management is top down and bottom up. We also are now employee owned.

How do you incorporate the theory of climate change in your design/build projects?

Climate change construction was really started with Pilgrims and native Americans. Homes were sited according to seasonal Sun directions, older homes were originally built around a main fireplace and chimney hearth with their rooms all directions around. We now have passive and active techniques to be sustainable and more efficient be too many builders and architects for get that a home or building should be addressed as a complete system. Many people add insulation but forget about requirements for venting OR add HVAC that would be adequate for a larger building that is overpowered and utilizes too much energyWhen other options are available and more than adequate. Everything we do has written standards, specifications and examples published or seminar information available.

What areas in a house cause the most environmental damage?

Debris removals to local landfills cause the most environmental damage. Purchase a newer so called energy saving window to replace a wooden older unit which if restored and maintained and probably with a added storm panel affords the same protecion and R values as the newer Expensive manufactured models. These newer window models cause long term environmental damages with the process and their components and of late their insidious negative quality control.

What suggestion do you have for changing these areas to make them more eco-friendly? What practices do you follow that make your company a "green builder"?

Study information & Common sense and have both builders and clients committed to be eco friendly and address long term or life saving first. Seek and study information available from messenger sources not seeking to sell. Question everything, search and research. Educate and enforce standards. We experimented building passive solar homes in the 80s where we have utility records for 35 plus years. On one of my homes, I am always trying new ideas and listening to suggestions/information over the years. I have solar tubes for water, enhanced and added insulation, floor radiant heating, I converted from oil to gas and recently corrected a soffit Venting situations which originally was less than good.

What are simple DIY ways someone can enhance the eco-friendliness of their home?

Think, research, study, and discuss and remember a whole house is a complete system even though it can require years of work improvements on and off to achieve better goals. We have a local Historic home 1738 which we have been working on sporatically for years.This is common rather than the exception.

Do you have any general advice for someone who wishes their home were more eco-friendly?

Research, discuss, question and perhaps a "wish list" for immediate ideas/goals and then do 6 mth, 1 year, 2,3 year etc. plans. We have actually had some projects that lasted 9-10 years in phases, plus some clients where we work on their multiple houses and buildings for 20, 30 or more years.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Peter Kroll @ pmarshallk@aol.com
Our web site: www.capepcarpentry.com
Office: 508 563 9393, Cell phone during business hours: 508 564 3298

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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