Thursday, February 4, 2010

Holding Pattern

No, we haven't dropped off the edge of the earth - right now we're just waiting, for the Certificate of Occupancy. In addition to the building official (passing the final inspection, see Mike's earlier post), a few other departments at the City have to sign off on the "C of O" application: Zoning (is the house where it is supposed to be), Engineering (is the grading appropriate, is exposed soil stabilized, are erosion and sediment control measures - rainwater cisterns, etc. - in place), and the Arborist (did we kill any trees).

Speaking of arborist: the City has a fantastic program where they deliver wood chips to your driveway for free. They're a great way to stabilize soil; they look good; they're an environmental choice (they come from the City's tree operations); and ... they're free. We've already spread two truckloads full, and we're getting two more. Thank you, Falls Church!

While we're waiting, Stella came to clean the house and it sparkles! Now that the construction dust is over, we've been able to turn on the TRV (Total Recovery Ventilator) - it works (!) and it does what Earthcraft guidelines ask us to do: flush the house with fresh air for a week continuously before moving in.

Something else that I got excited about is the rainwater system: that, too, works: with the flip of a few valves, we can switch the water supply that runs to our outside hosebibs and to the toilets, from City water to the water from our rainwater cisterns. Our plumber had plumbed toilet tanks and outside hosebibs on a separate water line; and through the position of two valves we can choose which water (City or rainwater) gets fed to that line. Rainwater gets pumped into the house by a small (Grundfos) suction pump. And a one-way valve prevents backflow of the rainwater into the line that carries City water. It's a simple system, but it works - and it makes me feel good to flush rainwater down the toilet, instead of precious drinking water.

In other news: the port-a-potty that has for so long been a landmark on our construction site ("you'll find it by the green port-a-potty") is now gone; and so is much of the silt, super-silt, and tree-protection fencing (some of that still has to stay up through the spring). Inside the house, we're saving the leftover wood from the interior carpentry for Mike's future woodworking projects; for firewood; and the sawdust as an environmental alternative to sand for icy sidewalks.

OK, too many words already without pictures! The next post, hopefully, will have a picture of our Certificate of Occupancy.

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