Saturday, June 30, 2012

PHIUS Update - No Certificate yet

Well, we've been in the house 3 months now and we're still not certified to PHIUS standards. The delay appears to be a lack of information and a "failure to communicate" - so the PHUS folks are waiting for some specifics on things like our appliances and the possibility to remove additional trees on the south of the house.  Apparently there is concern about heating needs during the winter months which drove that request.  Due to homeowner association restrictions we are not able to remove more trees (nor would we want to) so we're waiting to see what that does for the certificate.  In addition there are apparently differences of opinion on the efficiency of our GSHP and the construction methods used so unless those get resolved we may be waiting a long time for  the certificate.  I will say that with the recent heat wave our GSHP has been operating more than normal but nothing that I would consider excessive - today the outside temp reached 105 and the unit was cycling a bit to keep the temp at 76 inside.

  The ambient humidity means that we're pumping over 10 gallons of water out of the house each day which I am presently collecting in 5 gallon buckets and transferring to our rainwater collection system for garden watering.  The eventual plan is to feed that into a larger tank which feeds into the other storage system so we have a large amount of storage.  Right now we have about 850 gallons of storage but if the heatwave continues without any rain, we might start depleting that rather quickly.

Speaking of water - our veggies are coming along fine.  We have been getting about 5 cucumbers each day so today was our first experiment with dill pickles.  I can't 5 quarts of spears and the jars appear to have sealed well so we'll try the pickles in about 2 weeks to see how they taste. The neighbor who gave us the cucumber plants ripped his out due to bitterness of the cukes but we have not found that to be the case.  In addition we have 3 heirloom tomato plants as well as one cherry tomato.  The cherry is already producing (I ate the first three yesterday) and the Cherokee Purple are starting to turn yellow which means I should be harvesting them within a week.  I think our problem might be that we have too many tomatoes but we'll donate to our neighbors if that ends up being the case.  I've heard the wildlife around here has developed a taste for tomatoes so we may have to install an electric fence or similar to deter them from destroying our crop.

Our two fig bushes haven't grown huge amounts but each is currently bearing two figs.  We planted a couple of brown turkey figs so those will become my fruit of choice for the morning yogurt.  We also picked up 4 blueberry plants and intend to plant blackberries so that will provide a good source of fruit in the future.

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