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Category: Striving to Live Green

Ideas, tips and resources for living green and minimizing my carbon footprint.

Lessons from the Green Home Tour

Lessons from the Green Home Tour

I took my own advice and visited some of the sites on the Seattle Green Home Tour this morning. In very short order I discovered several inexpensive ideas I can implement right away (e.g. nylon rather than vinyl shower curtains) as well as some that I hope to install in the future (e.g. solar tube skylights and infrared radiant heat panels).

I also learned about a relatively new kitchen countertop option called PaperStone®. It is a truly beautiful, green and affordable alternative to granite and other pricey products.

There’s still time to join the Green Home Tour yourself, which runs until 4P today (Sat., 4/21) and from 10-4 tomorrow.

Then come back to this post and tell us what YOU learned 🙂

West Seattle Green Homes Tour

West Seattle Green Homes Tour

Looking for something fun and out-of-the-ordinary to do this weekend? Check out the Seattle 2012 Green Homes Tour, happening this Saturday and Sunday, April 21 & 22. And in particular, the West Seattle sites on the tour.

The award-winning West Seattle Blog has all the details, including a map of the five West Seattle sites, so grab your hat and a friend — maybe even the dog — and check it out!

Think that living green is costly? Discover how easy and inexpensive it can be to make your life and home a little greener. You’ll find lots of low-cost, easy-to-implement ideas on the tour. It’s free and self-guided.

Presented by Northwest EcoBuilding Guild.

2012 Green Home Tour coming April 21 & 22

2012 Green Home Tour coming April 21 & 22

Inspiration * Education * Solutions

That is the tag line for this year’s Seattle Green Home Tour happening Saturday and Sunday, April 21 & 22 from 10-4 each day.

Builders, architects, designers & craftsmen with deep green focus showcase their sustainable projects — FREE! Meet this outstanding community and learn about why green homes aren’t just the future, they’re in your neighborhood NOW!

So many ways to get involved:  > Host a site; > Be a Sponsor; > Attend with friends; > Exhibit at the Expo; > Learn at workshops; > Volunteer!

Everything you need to know @  www.SeattleGreenHomeTour.org

Presented by Northwest EcoBuilding Guild

Sponsored by a whole bunch of businesses and organizations 🙂

 

Links to sites with tips for living Green

Links to sites with tips for living Green

Sometimes it seems as if the amount of really valuable information available on the web is overwhelming, but I’m so grateful it’s there. I don’t know about you, but when I stumble across an interesting website, I have a tendency to bookmark it/add it to my Favorites, and then forget that it’s there.

Earlier today, I decided to sort through a bunch of my saved sites and I came across some real treasures, so I thought I’d share a few of the “living green” ones with you.

http://safesolutionsinc.com/ A site dedicated to providing non-toxic pesticides and green housecleaning products.

http://www.takeitbacknetwork.org/ This Network was developed to provide consumers with safe and convenient reuse and recycling options for products that contain toxic or hazardous materials.

http://greenlivingideas.com/ Provides ideas, tips, and information to help you improve the environmental sustainability of every aspect of your life: home energy, green building and remodeling, cars, food, waste recycling—and everything in between.

http://www.catalogchoice.org/ Free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more.

http://greenhomeadvisor.org/alice-kuder/index Green Home Advisor is your source for information about home improvements that save energy, reduce your home’s carbon footprint and save you money on your energy bills.

http://www.ecosquid.com/client/index.jsp Sell or recycle your gadgets. Instantly compare cash offers and recycling options from across the web in one easy search.

See what I mean? So much useful information and tips for living green, no matter what shade of green you are 🙂

What are your favorite sites for information about living green?

 

 

 

McLendon Hardware hosts “How to” clinics

McLendon Hardware hosts “How to” clinics

As a single woman homeowner, I’m always looking for resources to help me learn how to maintain my home. I’m a big fan of McLendon Hardware because I find their staff to be knowledgeable, courteous and helpful. They may not have quite as big a selection of merchandise as the big box stores, and their prices are not quite as low, but I am always amazed by how much they DO have in stock and I find their prices to be moderate/reasonable. Living in West Seattle, I frequent McLendon’s White Center location, but I have had equally good experiences at McLendon’s in Renton and Puyallup.

I recently became aware of the free “How To” clinics McLendon’s offers on Saturdays at their Renton and Puyallup locations. The latest is happening this weekend (Sat. Dec. 3rd). Learn how to fix a leaky roof and how to weatherize your home.

What is your favorite place to get help with home maintenance?

McLendon Hardware "How To" clinics are Free!
Christmas Trees: living green for the holidays

Christmas Trees: living green for the holidays

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, nothing says “Christmas” to me like a traditional tree. I love the lights and the ornaments and the smell.

I have a tiny little house, so some years I have opted to put up a Christmas tree and some years I haven’t. In the past, it often depended on how much furniture I had and how many dogs were living with me.

About a dozen years ago, I concluded that buying an artificial tree was a good way to further my goal of living green. They look so real that it seemed like a sensible, economical, earth-friendly thing to do, and I didn’t have to struggle with getting it home from the tree lot. So I bought a 7′ artificial tree when I was renting my loft apartment. Unfortunately, the house I bought in West Seattle the following year has 6.5′ ceilings.

I decided to give the tree to charity, only to discover that most charities wouldn’t take it. So much for being earth-friendly. I can just picture landfills overflowing with artificial Christmas trees.

I hadn’t decided what to do this year until I was shopping at Home Depot and saw that they had 3′ tall living Christmas trees (i.e. potted in soil) for $15! And some were even Colorado Blue Spruce! (I love the way spruce tree branches show off the ornaments.) So I bought one. Hopefully I can keep it alive through the holidays and transition it back outside to plant in my yard in the spring.

What about you? How do you feel about Christmas trees?

Here’s a picture of mine, all dolled up and glowing.

My living Christmas tree

And here’s a closer look at the Angel on top. My mother hand-stitched it and gave it to me as a birthday gift many years ago.

My mother's handiwork.
Living Green in my car

Living Green in my car

I am not a car buff. When it comes to my car, I want it to be dependable and economical with a little bit of “cute” mixed in. My 2001 Toyota Echo fills the bill. The only thing that is likely to convince me to trade it in rather than run it into the ground is the lure of an electric car (or at least a hybrid).

Yesterday’s Seattle Times ran two blurbs on the front of the NW Autos section that apply to me. The headline of the first read, “Been a while since you bought a new car? There are big advances to anticipate.” The second read, “E-FOCUS on sale.”

It’s true. When I see or hear about the features that are now standard in new cars, I feel as if I’m in a time warp. In fact, when I bought my car new, it was devoid of many of the updated features that other cars had, so now I am even further behind.

Even so, I’m pleased that I get an average of 33 mpg, have no car payments, and have logged over 110,000 miles with no major repairs. It fulfills, in part, my commitment to living green in terms of transportation. Yes, I could probably take the bus more often, but even though my job as a Prudential real estate agent requires a lot of driving, I still put fewer than 10,000 miles/year on my car. Fortunately, I live in the Westwood Village neighborhood, which is a very walkable part of West Seattle. Even in the worst snow storms I can walk to several West Seattle restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers, plus the Post Office, Southwest Community Center and more.

I suspect that it may take another 5-10 years for the auto makers to really perfect electric cars, which should be just about the time my current car “runs out of gas” (pun intended). That, and the $40,000 price tag on the E-FOCUS, give me the incentive to wait for my first electric car.

How about you? Will your next car be a hybrid or all electric?