Daniel Ramage Bio
Anita and Daniel Ramage's
contemporary colonial home , which is perched high on a hill in Chester , is striking , from the entryways elegant winding staircase to the beautiful mahogany floors to the sunny rooms awash in light from a multitude of windows.
Their home , surrounded by about 400 acres of conservation land , works well for all occasions , they said . " The kitchen and living area was kept open and free flowing and is our favorite area ." he
Even the heated basement was kept open and spacious , a place where their two sons and the exchange students they often host can enjoy some wintertime fun in the form of indoor bike riding , hockey and roller-skating .
But for Daniel Ramage
, it's what you do not see that impresses him most - hos home's energy efficiency , which was a high priority for him when he
built the house last year .
Their five bedroom home has 9,245 square feet of heated space , yet the family's combined bill for heat , hot water and water well from October through part of March was a grand total of $944 - and that , he
says , was with the thermostat set at 70 degrees .
Ramage , president and founder of A+ Energy Services , performs energy audits on other people's homes for a living , so when it came time to build his own home - he did much of the interior ( and exterior ) work himself - he tapped those skills .
To keep the extra costs needed to achieve his
energy-saving goals to 15 percent over traditional construction methods , he
skipped costlier options such as solar panels , photovoltaic cells , wind power and pellet stoves .
Instead , his
methods ranged from advanced framing techniques and special Wall assembly to meticulously sealing ductwork and paying attention to all kinds of intersections in the home . He
also made sure his
heating and cooling system was properly sized . He
installed only 5 tons of equipment , whereas , he
said , the same home built by someone else would likely use 14 to 17 tons ( overkill is common ).
" No drafts even in the windiest of days . ... Even in the garage , without any heat , never drops below 42 degrees ," he
said , noting that it's great not to have to fear his
energy costs .
Indoor air quality was another priority for the Ramages because he's
allergic to mold , one son has severe asthma and both sons have severe allergies to dust mites .
" raised the bar for a healthy , clean living environment , which just so happens to lead to less dust and cleaning time ."
used natural paint with zero Volatile Organic Compounds on all interior surfaces , and a hard coat of low VOC water-based urethane on the mahogany wood floors . He
installed Italian ceramic floors in four of the bathrooms and marble in the the entry area and master bath . Any carpeting is made of all-natural New Zealand wool .
The kitchen cabinets were constructed of plywood instead of particle board , which he
said contains Urea-formaldehyde . He
also installed 90 percent efficient heat recovery ventilation to be assured of fresh filtered indoor air . And , he
said , there's no fiberglass in the house .
" Clearly the extra expense was well worth it and will provide a rapid payback ," he
said , adding that their efforts on the front were priceless .