IT is energy efficient and can save you money. It is a good investment and can help the environment. It leads to less dependence on foreign oil and provides self-sustainability.
IT is renewable energy — solar, wind, water, or the earth’s warmth.
Starting this spring I have been experimenting with using a reel mower to cut my grass. With all the rain we have had I have been using it just about every weekend and it’s been a lot of fun (and a lot of work).
The obvious benefit has been not spending money on fuel for a traditional gas lawn mower. Because this type of mower takes considerably more effort I have also gotten a nice total body workout. Additionally it is much easier to store, and can even be kept inside your home as there are no hazardous materials involved.
Due to the fact that I am a chronic procrastinator I typically find myself doing smaller loads of laundry. When most people are thinking about getting to bed on a Sunday evening I am often just realizing that I don’t have a clean shirt for Monday morning. At this point in time I am too tired to bother with sorting out an entire load, I just want to throw in what I absolutely need to get by.
The “Big E” is the Eastern States Exposition Fair held in Springfield, MA almost every year since 1917. Last year 1.2 million people attended over the 17 day event.
I went to the “Big E” this year to help one of my vendors at their booth. I had never been before. It was a pretty amazing combination of carnival, circus, main stage entertainment, amusement park rides, fried foods, all sorts of animals from hatching chicks to competition horses. You can pay to see the tiniest horse in the world or the largest pig. You can see the amazing miracle knife, electronic and acoustic pianos, belly dancing coin scarves, sweaters made in Nepal, and udder butter all in one building. And there are about 5 or 6 of these vendor buildings. And you can buy beer or wine from 10 in the morning until 10 at night and walk around with it anywhere on the grounds.
I was recently introduced to a new website that helps individuals with their energy planning — monitoring, conservation, creating renovation projects, ideas for new construction, and finding companies to help them with these projects.
It is called MyEnergyPlan.net. There are 4 main sections to this website: the Personal Energy Planner, the Energy Notebook, the Energy Project Connector, and the Green Homes Tourist.
Every day is Earth day — that’s my excuse for getting out a blog post way past the date. Earth Day was officially April 22… and I did start this post before that but I’ve had a little trouble getting to the point of posting it.
But really, when you have to single out a day in order to acknowledge that the earth is important that implies that it isn’t important the other 364 days. That’s just not right. The earth is vital to our very existence… but it is true that we have treated the earth as a resource we can exploit and “use up” for a couple of centuries, so we need to change our habits and behaviors to think about sustainability.
Since I am in the middle of moving to my new business and home (to 78 Main St — which is my real excuse for not hitting ‘publish’ on this blog post), I would like to bring up some thoughts about re-cycling and re-using things. A push for conservation and sustainability is at least as important as figuring out how to reduce our use of fossil fuels.
On March 31, 2011 I got the occupancy permit for the residential section of our building at 78 Main St
! And I moved in last weekend. There is still some work to do on the commercial side (Energy Emporium’s future home), but I’m hoping to finish that and move the store in by the end of this month.
It has been a lot of physical, mental and emotional work, a lot of red tape (from permits to loans), and some interesting tweaking and modifications of the solar powered heating system to get to this point… but it came out really well. A lot of thanks goes to my general contractor, Don Roberts, who has been great to work with even while I changed things at the last minute to meet LEED (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design) and ZEB (zero energy building) requirements.
The term ‘Daylighting’ refers to the practice of adding windows or skylights to a building to allow more natural day light into the room. Needless to say this is not a new idea, but with a renewed emphasis on saving energy and saving money, it has been getting a lot more attention and discussion.
If you can turn off or dim your electric lights because you get enough sunlight through windows or skylights, it can be a significant savings.
Mt Garfield, Oct
It is time to work on your weatherization projects and finding all sorts of ways to keep the heat inside your house this winter.
Here in New Hampshire and Vermont there are a number of resources to help us save money and keep the heat indoors. Here is a new website called UV Heat (Upper Valley Home Energy Action Team) that was started by 3 local non-profit organizations: SERG (Sustainable Energy Resource Group), COVER home repair, and the Upper Valley Housing Coalition.
We are finally making some good progress on our house renovation at 78 Main St
, and the electrician is finishing up his rough work while the walls are still open. So last week I did some research on kitchen appliances to make sure we were meeting the electrical requirements.
Two of the goals for this house renovation are: Zero Energy Building and no combustion. A zero energy building gets all of its energy needs (heating, hot water, and electricity) from renewable sources; and no combustion means I don’t want to burn anything in the house — no oil, no gas, no corn, no pellets or wood. There are many sustainable ways to forest wood and pellets and corn are becoming a popular alternative to fossil fuels, but it is a goal for our renovation for personal reasons to help keep fumes down and allergies under control.