Air-seal your home against the cold

Local green architect Hyland Fisher weighs in with tips on staying warm (and reducing your energy bill)

Local green architect Hyland Fisher knows a lot about reducing air infiltration.

Local green architect Hyland Fisher knows a lot about reducing air infiltration.

Photo By christine g.k. lapado-breglia

Tips for staying warm without breaking the bank
Local green architect Hyland Fisher, about whom I wrote last spring (see “Sustainable design,” CN&R, May 17, 2012), recently sent me a nice little piece he wrote on staying warm in the wintertime without going broke in the process:

“When the weather outside is frightful, we spend more time indoors expecting that our homes will keep us comfortable at a reasonable cost. However, our winter heating bills can come as a shock. There are numerous ways to make your home more comfortable and affordable to heat, but the most cost effective way is to reduce air infiltration.

“Air infiltration is the uncontrolled exchange of outside and inside air. Cold air seeps into your home via small cracks and openings no matter how recently your home was built. Air infiltration can account for up to 30 percent of your heating bill.

“Internet resources are provided below to help walk you through the process of identifying and eliminating air-infiltration sources. In short, you want to:

Caulk the floor and wall intersections, and wall and ceiling intersections

Caulk around interior door and window trim

Caulk, or foam, exterior envelope penetrations (dryer vent, plumbing lines, light fixtures, etc.)

Install foam barriers in outlets and switches

Insulate and weather-strip attic access hatches

Weather-strip exterior doors

When appropriate, close chimney with a fireplace plug.”

Fisher offers links to useful online resources on do-it-yourself air-sealing:;; If you are not the DIY type, he advises finding certified local professionals via these sites:;

Thanks, Hyland!

Chippin’ away
“Do you have fallen branches, overgrown brush and other vegetation that needs chipping?” begins a recent press release I received from the Butte County Fire Safe Council. The council’s Chipper Program, in its 11th year and in full swing through May 15, “provides an alternative to burning or hauling fire-hazardous brush.”

“We ask for a voluntary tax-deductible donation of $30 to support the program,” said council spokeswoman Calli-Jane Burch. “We provide up to two hours of service to each resident who makes a request; the value of those two hours is about $400. If, however, a resident is unable to make a donation, we still provide the service.”

To take part in the Chipper Program, call 877-0984. Go to for more info.

A huge sea-turtle puppet at last year’s Procession of the Species.

Photo By melissa daugherty

Puppets for the parade
Retired English professor Susan Tchudi—known, among other things, for heading up the puppet-making workshops that provide numerous large, beautiful puppets for the Procession of the Species parade at Butte Environmental Council’s annual Endangered Species Faire—advised me that this year’s puppet-making workshop is on the horizon. Free and open to the public, the workshop will take place on Jan. 26, from noon until 5 p.m., at the new warehouse/art space called the Habitat Lab (199 E. 13th St.).

For more info on Tchudi’s puppet-making workshop, email her at or call 781-4122. Go to to “like” the Procession of the Species; go to to see photos of the Habitat Lab.