Where have I been?
7/19/2005 07:25:00 AM | Author: baloghblog
Well, my mind seems to be stuck in one of those phases where I am doing a lot of thinking and planning but not getting a whole hell of a lot done. I have about 50 ideas in my head, spawning 50 projects more that I don't have time for, all well getting back into the swing of things and keeping up the summer weekend schedule.

So anyways I figured I needed to make a list and start to prioritize, so I will post what I am working on, and perhaps any enlightened souls that come by my blog can offer me any tips. FYI I am still in the brainstorming phase of several of these projects which may or may not come in to fruition. I realize that I can't do it all, but hell, you can try can't ya?

To keep you from falling asleep on the keyboard, I am only going to post about the ideas that are related to peak oil, sustainability and Syracuse. The others can remain on the honey-do list for now.

1. Draw up plans for a "mud room" in the garage. I would like to create a small ante-room that separates the freezing cold garage in the winter (or likewise boiling garage in the summer) from the climate controlled air of our kitchen. I think that insulating this room, and providing a buffer from the cold (or hot) air would help us reduce our heating/cooling bills. I imagine that this will only entail putting together a framed wall, tying it into the existing beams of the garage, applying insulation, and putting up drywall(or wood panelling) and a door. If I get really into it, I suppose that I will have to tackle putting in new stairs as well.

What I don't know so far: How do I connect the wall into the concrete floor and what can I use to seal it from moisture and salt on the garage side?

[estimated cost $400]

2. Price and install new windows in the bedroom, office and bathroom. (the most used rooms in the house) I have a source in the construction supply business, so I can get the windows for a fair price, just "slightly" less than Comfort Windows and Door's $800 per window offer. I am just concerned about being able to trim out the windows on the outside of the home with the vinyl. The contractor that we were led to never called us back, so I think that we will have to do the job on our own.

[4 windows + trim material and insulation = $1200. Labor = blood, sweat, tears, case of ice cold beer for after-installation party]

3. Purchase and install new duct vents in the guest bedroom, and dining area to allow shutting off of heat/air, and increase circulation of other rooms.

[4 vents = $60]

4. Insulate water heater and pipes to the bathroom shower/kitchen.

[I am guessing $50?]

5. Research prices for used wood burning stove and 1/2 cord of wood. I guess I will start checking the local classified ad papers and swap sheets. New stoves are out of my price range at the moment, and I think at this point that a gas stove insert wouldn't improve the efficiency of my heating, compared with the gas furnace. Am I wrong?

[Again, guessing, $150 stove, $50 wood?]

6. The largest project and one that I have the least time for: Biodiesel. I am in the "pipe-dreaming" stage on this one. I am starting to gather info into this at The Higher Pie, Veggie Avenger, and Riverstone. I guess that I am wondering if I have what it takes to get in to the whole process of brewing bio-diesel, or if I should go the route of the SVO tank in a diesel car. I guess I am looking for any insight into my options that anyone has. Especially, how to go about finding a used diesel burning car for cheap.

So anyways that's what is floating through my brain lately, along with many other ideas, some outlandish, like ripping off the outside (north) wall of the house and "super-insulating" it against the heat and cold. Stay posted and I'll let you know if I get organized, get rich and get started on the next batch of projects.
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On 12:28 PM , Liz Logan said...

I can relate. Here's what I did to get that stuff out of my head and down on paper. I discovered a cool new product that is easel paper coated with dry erase stuff. It also is sticky on the back so you can hang it. We put up a wall of it which gave us a giant dry erase "board" for cheap. I wrote down everything I wanted to research and any action items I could think of.

As I am doing my research I am writting things up on large post it notes and sticking them up on the wall to be transfered in an organized fashion.

Its been really helpful to do a brain dump and now I have a place to jot down ideas and notes.

On 1:10 PM , Ryan Thibodaux said...

Hey Steve,

Glad your interested in biodiesel! I hope my site is of some help. You mentioned Veggie Avenger, which is a great place to start. The best forum (most active) right now is at biodiesel.infopop.com.

As for old/cheap/used diesels, I found both of ours at Craigslist. There's a Syracuse Craigslist page at syracuse.craigslist.org. Unfortunately, it seems to be much less active than the Bay Area page. Other than craigslist, I would suggest using any of the online used car sites like Auto Trader or even Ebay Motors. Otherwise, just drive around your neighborhood and I guarantee you'll find something for sale.

The most readily available cheap diesel cars are early 80s Mercedes (I see models 190D, 240D, and 300D literally all the time). You can find one very easily for well under $2000. They're good cars that often run for 3 to 400,000 miles. The 300D was kind of like the Toyota Camry of its day: They're everywhere, and parts are still easily found. The downside to the Mercedes is gas mileage; They rarely touch 30mpg, whereas many diesel cars get upwards of 50. Also, like any Mercedes, parts are a bit more expensive.

Other than Mercedes, the cars all biodieselers seems to want is a VW TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection). VW makes TDIs in their Golf, Passat, Jetta, and some other models. They're terribly hard to find out here, and usually overpriced, but maybe you'll have more luck on the east coast.

Let me know if I can help with anything else!

On 7:15 AM , baloghblog said...

I appreciate the info on biodiesel, Ryan. I look forward to researching it more, and hopefully will have the time and funds to do it.

I like the dry erase board idea Liz. Maybe I can put one up in the basement and clear out my head.

On 2:56 PM , Kate West said...

Wow, lots of great projects brewing!! Can't wait to hear the outcomes. :-)