Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel....

....was a close-out sale at Amicus Green Building Center in Kensington, MD.

We spent many hours on Friday searching for energy-efficient lighting at Dominion Electric in Arlington, VA and at IKEA in College Park, MD. With the exception of IKEA, contemporary-styled energy efficient lighting is not easy to come by -- at least not on a budget. In particular, we were shopping for recessed LED lights and LED "step lights" to go on the exterior of the house, in the interior hallways, and lighting the stairs into the basement. We received preliminary pricing from Dominion on several products -- none were the LED lighting we had hoped for as that was all too expensive or the sales rep felt the light would not be bright enough. They had none of the product in stock, it all would be special order, so we had to take her word for it. We had compared prices on-line, letting the Dominion rep know that we were "educated" customers and while we'd like to give our business to a local company, we are very cost conscious. By the end of the day on Friday, we were exhausted and feeling like we were compromising on design and, to some extent, energy efficiency, in order to accommodate our budget constraints. But we had narrowed down our choices and we were prepared to move forward with those options. Dominion offered us a contractor's discount and the pricing on the lights were more competitive than what we could find on-line. Stay tuned for more on the lighting.

Before meeting a friend for dinner, we went to the lot to sweep and tidy things up. Andreas also wanted to ensure the contractors who are doing the CEB walls plugged the extension cord back into the sump pump, since the weather forecast overnight and on Saturday morning was for thunderstorms, high winds, and heavy rain. There's one extension cord from the temporary power to the house and the crew has been using that instead of the generator to power their miter saw. It's a good thing we went to the lot -- we discovered that they not only didn't plug the cord back in, but they took the extension cord with them when they left for the weekend. I ran to Home Depot to buy a new extension cord while Andreas swept the dust from the basement.

As predicted, Saturday morning was wet and rainy in DC. We stopped by the lot to ensure the sump pump did it's magic (it did!) and the only water in the basement was what was dripping through the first floor decking. (We can't wait until the house is under roof!) From there, we went to Amicus Green Building Center since they were offering free workshops on sustainable landscape/gardening practices, which featured their own in-house expert and a representative from the National Wildlife Federation. The classes were interesting, Andreas won a door prize (The Best of Backyard Habitat - from the Animal Planet) and we spent much of the afternoon speaking with the owner of Amicus about various needs we had. Well, as it turned out, he had many FANTASTIC lighting options, including the exact step lights we wanted -- and they were LED!!! Even better, they were on close-out sale, substantially less money than the list price, and almost 40% lower than the non-LED, less desirable option we settled on at Dominion. We bought most of what they had left in stock. Amicus also stocks LED recessed lights, which we'll buy there, as they were at a very attractive price as compared to Dominion.

All in all it was a wonderful Easter weekend!