Attention all you Seattle eastsiders: Have a Very Merry “Green” Holiday!
Give a tote bag or sign someone up for weekly home deliveries of local produce. Full Circle Farms has terrific produce available.
Can you re-use a potato chip bag to wrap presents? Check this video out to find some interesting sources for wrapping presents.
Is it better to have a natural or artificial tree? Which is better for the environment?
And if all else fails for inspiration, The Examiner has a compilation of holiday “green” sites.
I have a big, fat carbon footprint! I’m surprised and I’m not happy. I took a survey to determine my carbon footprint and found out that it takes over 30 acres to support my lifestyle. If everyone lived the way I did, it would take multiple planets to support all the people on earth! Very humiliating and disappointing.
I recycle as much as I can. I recycle a lot, in fact. My recycle bin is overflowing every week and my trash barrel holds just a small bag. I don’t eat much meat. I prefer fish and chicken. I don’t drive a lot, except for work. (Driving is a hazard of my profession.) I have many reusable bags. I rarely use paper bags. I unplug electrical appliances. I use CFL’s. I turn my lights out regularly.
So where have I gone wrong? Why wasn’t my carbon footprint score better? I have a few theories for things I can do better, but I plan to learn and do more. Over the next few days, I’ll be attending a class put on by the Earth Advantage Institute from Portland, Oregon. The class is Sustainable Training for Accredited Real Estate Professionals, S.T.A.R. The group got off to a good start by sending out a list of all the class attendees hoping we would hook up to car pool. Wouldn’t it be great if people and organizations did that for all their meetings, classes, etc.? Such a simple idea, but one most of us don’t take time to consider.
I’ll share what I learn, because if I have a poor carbon footprint score, I imagine a lot of us do. Stay tuned! By the way, take the survey and see how you do. You may be surprised.
Are you feeling bombarded about “greening your home?‘ There’s so much stuff out there to absorb. There are articles flying around about all the good “green” things to do. Don’t get me wrong, I think reducing our carbon footprint, going green, and hopefully, saving money are all important.
But, I just recently came across two articles that look at the costs of going” green” more closely. Just because something is “green” doesn’t mean it truly reduces our carbon footprint or helps you to save you money. One of the biggest offenders is bamboo flooring. Since most bamboo is sourced in the Far East, the cost and impact on our carbon footprint for transporting bamboo may outweigh the fact that it’s a renewable resource.
During these crazy times it’s important to analyze how you spend your money on your home. It’s important to think about the payback to you and the environment, in addition to the payback for when you might sell, even if selling your home is in the future. Going “green” is important to consider, but according to some, there are different ways to handle going green.
Two recent posts on different blogs talked about this very issue. The Bigger Pockets blog listed 7 green items that could be a waste of money. I’m not sure I agree with all that is said. For example, CLF’s, Compact Fluorescent Bulbs are more expensive than standard light bulbs, but they are a fairly inexpensive way to reduce our carbon footprint. Sure they are more expensive than standard light bulbs and may become cheaper, but it’s important to start now and with CFL’s, it is a great place to start. From the EnergyStar website:
If every American home replaced just one light with a light that’s earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.
Other things, such as location, factor into making a “green” decision. Bigger Pockets felt solar panels were not efficient enough yet to warrant the cost. If you live in Seattle, it probably isn’t cost effective to install solar panels, especially with all the gray 65 degree days we’ve had this summer! However, in Southern California it makes perfect sense. I have a friend who installed solar panels and is receiving a substantial rebate for the first five years, plus a check from the utility company for helping to supply power back to the grid. The payback for these people will be 5-7 years. Not a bad return for a fairly expensive item. But these folks have no plans to move, so the investment should more than pay for itself over the years.
Worldchanging tackles this same subject with a video of how to “green” a new construction home and other thoughts about how to reduce our carbon footprint. The post mentions a book by Eric Corey Freed and Kevin Daum entitled “Green Sense for the Home: Rating the Real Payoff from 50 Green Home Projects.” The book is divided into three handy sections. The first covers things that can be done now, like using CFL’s or insulating a hot water tank, to more expensive changes like adding solar power and new windows, to building a “green” new home.
The bottom line is everyone should be thinking about making changes, both big and small to save energy and money. Some things work better for some people, homes, and locations than other “green” changes. It is important to decide what works for you. Do the research and make good decisions to maximize your dollar and to save energy.
What ways do you find to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint? If you’ve got some “green” tips, ideas, etc., please do share.