Date Archives October 2011

Getting Started with Energy Efficiency in My Home

As some I know I am in the midst of making some energy efficient upgrades on my home. I am finding that the $2500 dollar prize is great, but its only just a start.

To truly realize energy efficient gains I am faced with the choice of spending an additional three to five thousand dollars (and could easily spend more). I could get the blown insulation, but will really see and feel differences with spray foam insulation. Which costs a lot more.

$2500 would let us achieve at least 15% energy savings, but I want (and really need) more savings and a more comfortable home.

As with everything new, there is a learning curve. New experiences, new products bring new things to learn and new questions to ask. There are potential negative and unintended consequences to sealing one area of your house and not the entire unit. One of these unintended consequences is the off gassing from the spray foam insulation. It is something that I never knew about. I never knew you’d ask. I never knew not to ask.

This is a process … of learning, of asking questions, of digesting answers and asking more questions. It’s also one of budgeting.

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Keeping Charlottesville Sustainable

ASAP – Advocates for a Sustainable Population has a new ad (see? I watch local news) promoting their petition at

In part:

In signing this petition, you support keeping sustainability a planning priority for our quality of life, environment, and future.
Sign the petition. Speak up for sustainability and help maintain our quality of life.

My question: what does this mean? I’d like a petition to have links to their goals; this sentence – “A vocal minority has successfully pushed the Board of Supervisors to withdraw support for key environmental programs that help promote clean air and regional cooperation” – cries out for supporting links to stories that demonstrate what they are advocating.

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Albemarle County Debating Growth Area Expansion – How Should the County Grow?

Make no mistake, this is a big deal. Charlottesville Tomorrow reports:

The Albemarle Planning Commission began the review of the county comprehensive plan Tuesday with a work session on whether to expand the growth area to accommodate new development.

The county adopted a comprehensive plan in 1980 that designated 5 percent of its land to be used for dense residential and commercial use. Development is discouraged in the rest of the county in order to preserve environmental resources.


The county is estimating that it will have an additional 34,000 residents by 2030. Staff estimated there would need to be between 1,770 and 7,438 new units to accommodate that population growth. However, they also concluded there are just over 8,000 units that have been approved by the county but not yet built.

“There is sufficient residential capacity to accommodate population growth through 2030 within current development area boundaries,” said Andy Sorrell, a planner in the county’s community development department.

Is there? Per Charlottesville Tomorrow’s reporting, there are 12 currently proposed expansions of the Albemarle County growth area. Will this be sufficient?

We talked about Somerset Farm in June of this year – an additional 1900 homes! – what if Wendell Wood doesn’t get his rezoning (which geographically makes a lot of sense) and he builds by-right? Is that what the planners (and more importantly, the community) want?

This struck me, as the area just past Barracks Road has been largely protected from the sprawling growth other areas of Albemarle have experienced:

Next door is a 14.7-acre property near the Montvue neighborhood which developer Charles Hurt wants to include in the development area. Hurt is also applying to add a 156.8-acre parcel further up Barracks Road that, if approved, could see an additional 312 to 628 housing units.

That seems like a reasonable place to expand, although it would personally make me sad to see beautiful landscapes ruined.

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