Wednesday, August 06, 2008

i wanna know - are you living green?

Abby is off for a week of eco-cottaging with Granny. They left last Friday and as you can see she was a tad excited. I talked to her tonight while she was visiting Uncle Dave and she said she misses me and she's cried for me, but she is having so much fun and she's glad she went.


So what exactly is an eco-cottage you may be asking. Well basically it's a wooden tent. Just a simple A frame cottage with no hydro. Real roughing it, with there being no TV and all. You see that word eco popping up everywhere. That or it's close cousin, green. Environmental issues are huge right now. There are countless spots running on TV on how it's our responsibility to reduce, reuse, recycle, use less water, less hydro, less gas.

I've always been a pretty responsible recycler. Making sure that everything that can go in the blue box does. And there was a time when I thought that was enough. It's not. I have been educating myself on living green and I am far from an expert. I'm not planning to build a straw bale or tire home. I'm not going to "live off the grid" although Mike and I would both really like to. But every little bit can only help, so here's how I'm doing what I can....

The green cart; After some trial and error I have found the best way to make the green cart experience user friendly is to keep a garbage bowl on the counter for food scraps. It makes it so I have no reason not to recycle my compostables. I usually dump it during my after dinner tidy up. Also vinegar is your best friend. Buy it in big jugs. Every Friday after the cart is dumped I pour a healthy slug of vinegar in the bottom and give the side walls a good spray. That works at keeping the bugs at bay.

Shopping; I really try to avoid single use purchases, like juice boxes and water bottles. The girls take litterless juice boxes in their lunches. Now I just have to work on my ziploc bag addiction. I use way too many.

Water; Our property has no well, so we have our water trucked in. Too make a load of water stretch as long as possible we collect rain water that gets diverted into our holding tank. We don't drink the water here, but rather refill our water cooler jugs at the Water Depot. We recently purchased a dehumidifier for the basement. It draws 18L of water in a 24 hour period. You know I couldn't let that go to waste, so use it to flush our toilet, which Mike said is mighty redneck of us, but that was before I saved us 400L . Now he thinks I'm a genius. He's right. We've also been collecting our pre-shower water. You know when you run the shower to get it hot. We waste approximately 5L of water every time one of us showers.

Hydro; We've changed all our bulbs to compact fluorescents, got rid of our dimmer switches, use ceiling fans to help circulate air, set our AC two degrees warmer than we normally have it, unplug unnecessary plugs like chargers, line dry our clothes, switched our Christmas lights to LEDs. For all of this we've noticed a significant drop in our Hydro bill. In fact when it comes time to balance our equal payment plan budget for the year, we're looking at a Hydro overpayment that should work out to a minimum of two months free hydro and that's after a mid year equal payment plan decrease.

Maybe not all that impressive compared to some, but it's something. And if money were no object you better believe Mike would have the roof of this house covered in solar panels and windmills and there'd be a brand new Chevy hybrid in the driveway.

So what I wanna know is this....

How are you living greener?


Cristan said...

WOW! That's pretty green! I was patting myself on the back for recycling and hanging clothes on the line (sometimes)!

Leah said...

I would like to say we were on your same level, but we are far from it. We do recycle everything allowed in the blue bins. I have no clue what a green cart is, so I'm guessing we don't have those around here... We use re-usable grocery bags when we go to the store instead of the plastic bags. We'd love solar panels on our roof as well... We generally do the "yellow's mellow, brown goes down" tactic with the toilets to reduce water waste, and we don't fill the tub really full when bathing the kids. We don't bother watering the grass over the summer. We don't have AC, and we keep our house at 67, have swapped most of our light bulbs to the energy efficient ones. I think we do okay in being "Green" but we definately have a lot to learn

darlene said...

um let me see.....1st of all real cute pic of Abby!!...and um well...we use the light bulbs you do, and only use the air when needed....recycle like crazy, Tim is a bit nuts with this!!...and no lights on here...we sit in candle light tripping over cats...gesh!...someone help me!!

Shan said...

Cristan - thanks and you should. Every little bit helps.

Leah - Oh I forgot that one. We have the reusable shopping bags as well. I love that it's cut down on the number of trips it takes to get the groceries in the house. And we let our yellow mellow as well. Also when we're finished with the pool we drain the water into our holding tank as well. And the green cart is for organic garbage like food scraps, tea bags, coffee grinds, paper plates, paper towels, waxed paper and such.

Darlene - thanks I thought it was pretty cute myself. That's all really great too!!