03 August 2008

Carbon Footprint

Like many others we have been working to reduce our carbon footprint. Our biggest contribution to reducing our carbon emissions was done years ago when we began heating our home with carbon nuetral wood pellets.
When we moved into our new house we upped the ante by putting in the boiler so now we not only heat our home with pellets we heat our domestic hot water as well. This is our first full summer with that setup and it is working great.
On the example of friends who use an efficient wood boiler to heat their home and water we turn the boiler on once a day. We take our showers, do dishes, cleaning, and laundry that needs hot water then we turn it off. On average I would say it is on for about ten hours a week as opposed to 168 hours (24/7).
We also do most of our laundry in cold or cooling water and then hang them on the line to dry. I love the crisp fresh feel and smell of line dried clothes!
In the summer months and into the fall we use our wood pellet grill for cooking/baking. It has just as much temperature control (with a built in thermostat) as my oven/range, but doesn't warm my house and uses about one-fifth the electricity.
I went around the house about a year ago and unplugged everything. I plugged things in as I used them, and the others remain unplugged. I also make an effort to unplug things after I use them that I only use sparingly like the iron, an extra tv, boom box, pellet stove in the summer, and sewing machine. I do make an effort to unplug my cell phone and laptop chargers when I am not using them as they suck up almost as much juice whether or not they are charging/powering the device.
When we first moved into this house we changed our lightbulbs for the compact flourescents, and we are upgrading our windows and insulation as we can to decrease energy loss in the winter.
We also buy as much food as we can locally. I love the fresh milk and cream (especially ice cream ;) from our local dairy, and the fresh meats can't be beat. We joined the local co-op for our veggies, and get most of the fruit we eat from our yard. We have had great success with Damon using our greenhouse and fields for growing. Win- win there. Then, of course, we have the chickens now. They are way too much fun! You should have seen them fight over a few grapes I gave them yesterday. Best game of keep away I have witnessed in a long time...
We combine our trips so we aren't constantly in the car running up and down the hill. We got bikes and should be better about using them for local travel, but that is in the "still working on it" category.
The latest project for energy reduction is actually an idea from last winter. For Christmas we bought a 100 year old wood cook stove instead of gifts for each other. It was a little rusty and well used, but still in working order and will be beautiful with a little tlc. Of course, our plan is to adapt it to burn pellets (not changing it to a convective stove just using the pellets instead of wood for fuel). It sat in our friend's garage for almost two months after the holiday, then in the warehouse until today. (We had gotten a hearth pad for it in the spring...) Today we spread it all out and got the grinders and wire brushes out and start cleaning her up. Tomorrow I will paint it and then we can bring it home to set it up! We are putting it where the original house owner's had a wood stove. Venting through roof is done we will just have to adapt into it. Gee- I wonder where we will get the pipe from!LOL! Here are some before pics...


Cal said...


I came across this blog the other day and thought you might be interested in it- it has a lot about living green...




Shannon said...

My most frequently visited green liver is at http://www.poweringdown.blogspot.com/