Fairfield ‘Pride In Our Homes’ Contest winners announced

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The Greater Fairfield Board of REALTORS® announced the winners in its annual “Pride In Our Homes” Contest. The Pride in Our Homes – Going Green in 2016 – Contest was comprised of three different categories encouraging homeowners to increase their efforts in going green while also beautifying their homes and properties.

The three categories focused on green improvements and sustainability in both homes and gardens. Residents entered the contest by applying online or by being nominated. The contest was chaired by Kaitlyn Walsh of Denise Walsh and Partners, William Raveis; Kelly Higgins of Coldwell Banker; and Justin Eagan of Residential Mortgage Services, each of Fairfield, and judged by Erin Buckley of the Center for Green Building, Dan Cora of Plantscapes Organic and Kathleen McHugh Realtor/Green Designation.

The three categories are: “Green Landscaping,” by exploring properties that are utilizing irrigation and composting techniques along with choice of plantings that are indigenous to the area and are drought resistant or require very little watering; “Budget Friendly Green,” for people who already are in a home and who are watching their budgets but have explored how to make their homes and carbon footprint more sustainable in easy and creative ways; and “Green From the Ground Up,” which explored cutting edge sustainable building methods that are best implemented in newer construction homes, renovations and additions. In this category, the board was interested in how people implemented green and sustainable features when they build a new construction home.

“We have four people whose homes or properties have won,” said GFBOR President Stephanie Barnes. “They are each uniquely different from the other. Everyone has done really cool things to their homes. We are hoping that people can start recognizing that they can do things in a different way – that they can build in a different way, that they can heat and plant and fertilize in a different greener way. That’s truly the point of the contest is to create awareness, not a winner.”

“The Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors (BFBOR) gives thanks to our Pride in Our Homes co-chairs for their time and dedication and to our Judges for contributing their time and expertise to the Greater Fairfield Board of Realtors and to the community,” said Barnes. “We also want to thank our sponsors who gave so generously; Attorney Albert Strazza, Appraiser Taylor Beerbower, Attorney Beth A. Grassette and Attorney Patrick J Hanna. Through your generosity we were able to give our contest winners gift certificates to enjoy a meal at the Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton. Thank you for your support.”

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Winners included the late Carol P. Duggan of Round Hill Road; Scott Thompson of Hunter Road; Larry Kaley of Jennings Road; and Reini Knorr of Alberta Street. The “Natural Pool” on Reini Knorr’s property is chemical-free and is “one of the first built here in Fairfield, however it has been done throughout the United States for many years and is very popular in Europe; in Germany, France and Portugal,” said contractor Candide Valadares. “Very few residents know of the concept. We use a balance of plants and nature to filtrate them. It is naturally done with no chemicals. It’s kind of a mini river basin system.”

Larry Kaley, “has one of the most amazing gardens you’ve ever seen,” said Barnes. “I moved in in 1972 and the garden was a big lawn,” explained Kaley, Chair Emeritus of Fairfield’s Earth Day. “I built a stone retaining wall, have a green compost pile, interplantings, vegetable and flower gardens, rain barrels, the wire around the garden also serves as a trellis almost doubling my space. I eventually realized I didn’t have to spray pesticides at all – my garden is all organic.” Kaley’s house too is energy efficient right down to solar powered heat pumps.

“I am a part of the Clean Energy Task Force,” said Thompson. “I moved here about 10 years ago and started doing what I could to reduce my family’s carbon footprint. I bought an electric car, use a biomass stove for heating and more – the first five years I lived in the house I cut the carbon footprint down by about 80-85%. Our goal as a society is to cut it by 20 percent in 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050. I did it in about six years. The solar makes 120 percent of my electricity including the electric car so all the fuel for the car is essentially from the sun.”

“The best place to start is with a Home Energy Audit,” continued Thompson. “It’s called the Home Energy Solutions Program (www.energizect.com). It’s very subsidized. You pay small co-pay and get about $1,000 worth of service in that energy audit from a qualified vendor and they will give you a road map on how to upgrade your home for efficiency and then come talk to the Clean Energy Taskforce about going solar and about electric cars, we can help with all of those things. We have gotten more than 450 homes in Fairfield to go solar, so we have about 16,000 homes to go!” Thompson also shopped local and had concrete counter tops installed in his kitchen by Concrete Encounter in Bridgeport. “It couldn’t get more local and the counter tops have a very beautiful and unique patina.”

“We would like to congratulate all of our contestants for participating in our contest and to thank you for sharing your home and property with us,” continued Barnes. “Along the way we learned what people in Fairfield are doing in their homes and on their property to utilize sustainable forms of growing food, harvesting solar for home and for driving, swimming in a chemical free swimming pool (Natural Pools by Candide Contractor), using rain barrels, indigenous plantings and so much more. It has been fascinating learning the process for our committee and judges. We thank you for your time, passion and dedication.”

By Kendra Wingate
Dec 3, 2016
Read more at the Fairfield Minuteman


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