Friday, April 23, 2010

Going green(er)

Yesterday was earth day, which a lot of people 'celebrate' by recycling, or carpooling, or turning off lights for an hour, or some other form of conservation.  The thing is, we already DO all that stuff, and more.  We are more motivated by the financial savings than by actually saving the earth, but I don't mind the bonus there.

We had solar panels installed on our home 2 years ago.  We own our home, and are not planning to move for 15 or 20 years, so the investment made total sense to us - and still does.  We don't pay an electric bill anymore - AT ALL.

I hate the stupid CFL (compact flourescent light) bulbs, but we use them all over the house, too.  Sometimes they flicker, or take a moment to warm up, or whatever - but they ALWAYS use about 80% less electricity than a traditional incandescent bulb.  We do have a few LED bulbs that use 95% less electricity than the incandescent ones, but I really really REALLY can't stand those - the light is just so harsh!  Anyway, I put up with the CFLs for the sake of the money we save, and it's really not THAT bad.

I love the fact that we recycle, and we only put out an average of 2 kitchen bags of actual 'trash' each week. It was hard to give up paper plates, but we decided that the extra savings in what we SPENT on paper plates would more than cover the extra water we use by washing 'real' dishes more frequently.  And so far, it has.  Oh, and technically we save money by not using as many trash bags.

We have a composter in our backyard, for food waste and lawn waste - grass cuttings, apple cores, orange peels, egg shells, etc.  Anything organic, except milk and meat pretty much.  This mixture gets stirred frequently and eventually turns into FREE fertilizer - though we won't make good use of this until I finish building up the backyard planter and fill it with rose bushes and a couple of fruit trees.

Have I mentioned that hubby and I also both drive Hybrid cars?  Mine only gets 32-40 MPG, but hubby's does an impressive 55-70 miles per gallon.  Too bad it only has two seats.  But seriously, when gas prices here in CA rose to nearly $5/gal, hubby's car had ALREADY paif for itself in fuel savings alone.  Crazy.

We changed out our front yard sprinklers from the old spray-style to 'drip irrigation' and our landscape has never looked healthier! Our already frugal water bill has gone down from about $75 to $60 a month - and yes, we all shower daily.  Ha ha ha

So, what does an ultra-conserving family like ours do to 'celebrate' earth day?  Well it was actually a coincidence that this happened ON earth day, but yesterday we had a plumber come out to install a new 'dual flush' toilet in our downstairs bathroom.  It has a button to press for a 'half flush' if you just peed...and a separate button that uses the full tank of water for solid waste.  But even with the full tank flush, this one uses about HALF the water that our old one did.  My hubby bought the toilet at Costco several weeks ago, and although I am sure he is CAPABLE of switching out a toilet, I know its a huge pain in the butt, so I had no problem with his plan to hire a plumber.  And I honestly thought it would sit there in the box for months, or maybe even until after the deployment, but I gotta tell you ladies, this man is on top of everything right now!

He even had my kitchen faucet replaced with a much nicer one - which has nothing whatsoever to do with conservation or earth day or even saving money.

I love this man.  Thanks to him we have the smallest carbon footprint of anyone I know - and those are some mighty big shoes for the Joneses to fill. 



A Marine's Wife! said...

I love love love that you have solar panels. I'm insanely jealous!

Kirsten said...

I wish we could make more changes like that... we rent our place so it's hard. Especially composting! I grew up in a family that ALWAYS composted. Whenever I go over someone's house and are cleaning up the kitchen I automatically ask "do you compost?" Normally they look at me like "huh?" But it's really great if you can do it!

Soldier's Wife said...

I love what you guys are doing. We are on post livers (<- lol) but we do also only use about 1 bag of trash a week and I need two recycle bins because once every two weeks we are over flowing!
I wish we could do solar panels and I wish there were more we could do in our own home but its not ours.. Thanks for being frugal!!

Laura said...

OMG Don't tell my husband you have solar panels. He will move into your backyard and spend every day examining them, testing them, preparing romantic candle-lit dinners for them...and then when he's all good and "solar-panel knowledged up" he will then begin to build his own.

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