About Gwen Ames

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So far Gwen Ames has created 9 blog entries.

New Life for an Old Barn

As a remodeling contractor, there is nothing more satisfying than saving one of our iconic New England barns and giving it a new lease on life. The barn at the Harrisville Inn was built in 1842 and was in serious need of major repairs. A timber frame that sits upon a laid up field stone [...]

New Life for an Old Barn2017-05-21T16:00:58+00:00

Don’t Show Them the Cellar, Honey

As an energy auditor and energy remodeling specialist, I have been focusing most of my attention on our charming classic homes. You may be the proud owner of an old Cape, Colonial, or “New Englander.” Chances are, that old girl has probably had some cellulose blown into the attic or walls. Windows may have been [...]

Don’t Show Them the Cellar, Honey2017-05-20T18:55:24+00:00

Best Bang for the Buck

For the last seven years I have been focusing primarily on making homes in the Monadnock region more energy efficient. I have conducted numerous energy audits and have completed a few dozen major energy retro-fits. This means remodeling for maximum energy based on a prioritized list of improvements called out by the audit. I feel [...]

Best Bang for the Buck2016-08-31T13:27:00+00:00

What is “Zero Net Energy”?

The term “Zero Net Energy” (ZNE) is new to many. Generally, it applies to homes which produce all (or more!) of the energy that they consume on an annual basis. Consider that residential energy usage accounts for approximately 21% of our nation’s energy use. ZNE construction yields incredible benefits to personal finances, enhances local and [...]

What is “Zero Net Energy”?2017-05-20T18:55:24+00:00

Looking Back

This was a good year for developing some new systems for energy retro-fits and re-modeling. Basement Transformations Utilized a different approach to insulating basement floors that involved using sprayed on closed cell urethane foam under slab floors. Developed a new framing system that accommodates a pine paneled finish. This system is more practical than drywall for [...]

Looking Back2016-04-26T12:52:12+00:00

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 4

Air sealing and insulation of walls and roofs are top priority in your energy retrofit project. Windows and doors, which can easily be a complex agenda, are the next priority in your home’s energy improvement plan. For a window to perform its functions of ventilation, light transmission, security, a view on the world and aesthetic [...]

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 42017-05-20T18:55:24+00:00

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 3

In the last two posts we discussed the importance of doing an energy audit. By using a blower door machine we can locate hard to find cold air infiltration points. I also mentioned using small spray foam cans to seal up those nasty little leaks. We also touched upon insulating foundations and beefing up the insulation [...]

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 32017-05-20T18:55:24+00:00

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 2

We last discussed the importance of an energy audit and how to find hidden air leaks. In this issue, we will look at how to go about sealing them. There is a lot that you can do yourself. Self-adhering weather strips around doors, attic hatches and windows can help a lot. They have a limited [...]

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 22016-04-03T13:27:43+00:00

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 1

“Reduce your carbon footprint!” “Build sustainably!” “Go solar!” “Go green!” What does it all mean, and where is the line between doing what we can for the environment and taking care of our home finances? Most of us embrace these principles, but the reality is that only a small percentage of us are actually acting [...]

Surfing the Green Wave: Part 12016-04-03T13:26:59+00:00