We began the Green Home Blue Yard tour with happy hour at Other Bar and ended with a cocktail party. In between, we visited three sites that exemplify smart building and landscape design that keep our sunken city below budget and above water. All were within walking distance of The Other Bar and it was a beautiful October evening to tour the neighborhood!
Dana Eness, executive director of The Urban Conservancy, led us to a successful implementation of the Front Yard Initiative where a homeowner replaced front yard concrete with a garden. They showed before and after pictures of what had before been known as “Lake Valmont,” the street flooding used to be so bad. Now, the rain garden takes a major burden off the pipes and the street drains much better during heavy rains.
Michael Collins, developer and owner of The Other Bar, led a tour of houses he’s built to be energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and resilient. The first was a 5,000 sq foot home that has a monthly energy bill of only $90. We ended the evening with a cocktail party at his latest development, built with reclaimed wood from the neighborhood. They use a heat-gun to identify needed improvements in insulation and use argon-gas filled windows to keep the houses sealed.