Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Greener every day

Here’s the skinny, the lowdown, the continuing saga of me trying to get off the grid. Currently, the only juiced things operating are the refrigerator, the pool pump, and the computers.

  • I looked at the coffee maker recently, then at the stove, and then the microwave. All three have digital clocks. All three clocks are within a three foot square space. How many clocks do I need to reassure me that I’m already late? I unplugged the coffee maker.
  • All light bulbs frequently used have been changed to CFL’s.
  • I got out the gas grill, cleaned it, used it, loved it all over again. Propane is cleaner than charcoal, and is less harmful to the environment than using the microwave. Also, since its outdoors, I don’t heat up the kitchen, so I don’t need to turn on the fan. I intend to become one with the grill this summer. Picture it, a girl and her grill, turning out dozens of meals of grilled organic veggies.
  • I turned off the power to the bar bath water heater and the bar refrigerator.
  • The dryer has been broken for two weeks, giving me the opportunity to relearn the fine art of solar drying. I fell in love with sun dried sheets all over again. We are experiencing a second honeymoon.
  • Speaking of laundry, I’ve gone cold. I’m using cold water only.
  • The average KWH per day this time last year was close to 40. I’ve been watching the meter and have cut that amount in half. Most days I top out at around 20 KWH. Some days, less. One day I am proud to report I managed to use only 14 KWH.
  • I had a radiant heat barrier installed in the attic – www.energyhomeshield.com in 2006 and have seen the KWH average go down significantly.
  • Pella windows replacing leaky old windows on the west side of the house have made a dramatic difference. More windows will be replaced as finances allow.
  • I’m working on energy conserving Roman shades for the big honkin’ bay window in the dining room. They’ll soon be sporting Warm Window Insulated Shade System, www.warmcompany.com shades. The packaging has a customer quote that claims her electric bill is 30% less than her neighbors since installing the Warm Window system.

On other fronts –

  • I’m buying organic when I can, to reduce the pesticide usage as much as possible.
  • I’m turning 2 liter soda bottles into candle holders for distribution to my peace rallying pals. The bottom of the bottle gets cut off, the neck of the bottle is fitted with a candle, forming a nice wind shield to prevent candles from blowing out.
  • Speaking of candles, I’ve put all family and friends on notice that if they give me candles as gifts, to be sure they are soy or vegetable. No more petroleum based wax candles for me, thank you very much.
  • I’m using up all the bits and pieces of fabric left from other projects in a “trash quilt.”
  • I’ve been busy sending emails to everyone who sends me unsolicited mail requesting they remove me from the mailing list.
  • I rinse and reuse plastic bags, like Baggies. Also, those bags they provide for veggies in the grocery. I rinse them out and hang them up to dry.
  • I bring my own canvas grocery bags with me, and smile at anyone who asks why, before I tell them.

And tomorrow will be even greener.

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