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Meme - How Green Are You? 
13th-Mar-2008 02:35 pm
DHD folks - this is about the house, but nothing new.

From spiritdance

Name 5 things you are currently doing to help the environment, and 2 things you are planning on implementing or are in the process of implementing:


1. I *do* use bottled water (our low-grade ore is undrinkable.  Period.) BUT -- I get 5-gal bottles from a water company, and they reuse their bottles.  I buy one (1) six pack of the cheapest, non-processed bottled water for the carry containers.  I wash and reuse them.  Attrition usually steps in before unhealthy bacteria do.  I end up buying a six-pack approximately twice a year or less.

2. We're switching to CFLs as bulbs burn out.  When we can, we'll get LEDs.  (Husband wants our lights on an X-ten or other programmable system, and the LEDs aren't cooperative that way, as yet.

3. I don't accept plastic bags -- I insist on paper.  My client uses the bags (they have handles) to package orders for local customers.  I also use paper bags to collect other paper for recycling.  The back-supply I'm using as cushioning for packing boxes.  When I'm done with them, I'll hold them until a friend comes to visit who has a local source to recycle plastic bags.  (Unless someone else has a need for them?)

4. Recycle everything.  Donate what we can.  Trash as little as possible.  Compost garden waste.   I joined Green Dimes to reduce my junk mail, and add trees to the world.

5. When I can, I wash with cold water.  I only wear natural fibers, so I line dry or block most of my clothes.  I, too, stop the water as I brush my teeth.  (Learned that one from a school paper by my then 3rd grade god-daughter.)

6. - Bonus: As much as I can, I am eliminating "processed" from my food vocabulary.  This is largely a health issue -- I want to eat real food, not manufactured food products.  But I also want to encourage *true* organic farming (as opposed to slightly modified agribusiness calling itself organic.)  I looked into CSAs, but there is nothing promising near me.  On the other hand, there are a lot of farms around here that hold their own markets, so part of the year I can at least get my produce that way.  I'm alarmed at how much petroleum goes into feeding the world.


1. Biggest of all - the geothermal system.  The energy savings and efficiencies of this is a long list, all of which add up to less energy spent heating, cooling and recirculating the air and water in our house.  It was a "must have" for our new house.

2. We planned the orientation of the new house to take advantage of the lay of the land for efficient energy use.  South facing windows will heat the house on sunny winter days; the surrounding woods will cool the house on hot summer days.  We have a nice cross-wind in any direction, since the house plan is open, and I have put a window for light on every single outside wall.

3. Husband plans on helping out with the American Chestnut program by planting them on our land.  We also intend to get some of the new hardy American Elms, and we'll plant them.  I'm planning all ground-cover (no mowing) instead of lawn for the cleared area around the house -- the rest will be left to do what forests do.  I also plan to plant rain gardens here and there, particularly on the slope part of our surround.

4. We ended up with gutters after all (the original plan didn't call for them, because we had a hipp roof, and we installed a pea-gravel trench around the house to channel water through the ground slowly down the hill.)  So, I'm planning a rain barrel or two.

5. When we bought our land, we agreed to consider it as entrusted to us.  These 25 acres, indivisible by deed, are ours to tend while we are alive.  We will husband the forest.  We will plant as many natives as we can.  We will live in peace with our non-human neighbors who share our forest and meadow.  We will try to rid our land of the invasives choking the woods (I say try because garlic mustard is infamously difficult to check.)  And, somehow, we will figure out how to continue this trust beyond our lifetime.

Oops!  I just noticed that we were to list just 2 things for future.  Oh well.  So I revealed more.  Sue me.
13th-Mar-2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
Our house hunting ran into an interesting snag. We wanted to buy a house that was 100% solar. The mortgage companies won't finance this because it is "high risk." Not surprisingly, we don't have enough cash on hand for 100%.

The banks seem to be fighting efforts to improve energy usage :(

On the other hand, we're looking forward to being somewhere that recycles. Driving recyclables 200 miles to drop them off just doesn't seem like a net gain.

We did the switch to CFLs in Oakland. The nicest thing about them is how long they last, especially for the places that are difficult to access. Our high grade ore is pretty undrinkable, too, so we use the refillable 5 gallon bottles (the ones that we can refill while at the grocery store). Water goes from there into a glass or a mug. Most of the houses we are looking at use well water, so we'll have to see how it is once we move.

The biggest thing I am probably doing to help the environment is teaching my students about little things they can do.
13th-Mar-2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
Have you looked into an on-demand water heater system? I'd like to get one for our place, but it will need to be a few years down the road, yet. I'd also like to look at geothermal and/or solar, but that will likely be if/when we build a place (or look into buying someplace under construction, when the geothermal would be easier to install).

Oh, and I think your new setup for cat waste disposal is really great - again, something we're looking into for future purchase (eliminate both the cat litter, and the regular cleaning of the boxes that can cause some allergy problems).

Edited at 2008-03-13 07:30 pm (UTC)
14th-Mar-2008 03:16 am (UTC)
Well, actually, I don't think we can do on-demand together with geothermal. In fact, the geothermal requires two water heaters, although one can be left off unless you have a need for lots of extra hot water.

The geothermal constantly circulates liquid through the loop. The whole point of geothermal is that you use the constant temperature of the ground below surface soil level to heat or cool. So the ground-temp water feeds into the first water heater, then into the second water heater, which is the one you use to heat the water further.

That's a bad explanation, but it's about as well as I can manage until I've read this stuff a few more times. The point still remains that on-demand does not mix with geothermal, and geothermal is more efficient than on-demand, so ...

I should think it would be quite expensive to retrofit geothermal. It's not cheap to install in any case. But the duct work and the fans are totally different - in size as well as function. That's a lot of ripping out of walls.
14th-Mar-2008 08:21 pm (UTC) - GreenDimes here
Thanks for making us your Work-In-Progress. We have a cool downloadable impact widgets now that shows our member's progress
16th-Mar-2008 02:33 am (UTC) - Hi Carol
Hi there: Fabulous update. Thank you for sharing. I'm following your lead ... :-)

Geraldine (renovating in Orlando)
16th-Mar-2008 04:27 am (UTC) - e-mail
Carol, is there an e-mail address where I can send you some info about getting a signal for internet?

16th-Mar-2008 06:39 pm (UTC) - Re: e-mail
I confess to being leery about posting my email on a national (international,even!) public forum.

I'm not sure how to get around this ... yeah, it's fear. Let me know if you know some bright way. I'll ask Husband when he calls me tonight.

17th-Mar-2008 06:57 pm (UTC) - Re: e-mail
Carol, I don't blame you . I thought maybe there was an e-mail link here that I had missed....or that perhaps you had created an e-mail address just for people from this site who want to communicate privately.

So I did just that, created a new e-mail just for you! Write to me at Adak99546@aol.com and I will give you my "regular" e-mail address. By the way, I am not "jay" from DHD

19th-Mar-2008 04:17 am (UTC) - American Chestnut
I just read an article in my local paper that was about the renovation of my former high school, built in 1936. Mostly all of the woodwork was chestnut --- it is all being preserved and some is being re-milled to fit into the "new" school. The school is on the Historic Register so many things are mandated. I cannot wait to see it.

J/aka ADAK99546@aol.com
19th-Mar-2008 02:49 pm (UTC) - Re: American Chestnut
Cool. Take pics, ok?

I'm looking forward to roasted chestnuts!
19th-Mar-2008 07:20 pm (UTC) - Re: American Chestnut
Carol, I have heard that we may be able to go into the school for a tour in mid-summer. I will take lots of pics...I forgot to mention that this ENORMOUS school, which takes up four city blocks, is now an elementary school. That makes me pretty sad.

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