A Toast To Norene's Five Percent!

A new blog in the sidebar, Norene’s Five Percent, has re-focused my attention on the efforts we’ve been making here at Earth Home Garden for the past 10 years or so toward reducing our waste and consumption.

During that period of time we swore off owning an automobile (January 31st, 1997) which we were driving about 12,000 miles per year. A modern vehicle that gets 20mpg spews about a pound of carbon dioxide per mile, so, by my reckoning, we’ve personally eliminated close to 100,000 pounds from the atmosphere in the past 9 years (This isn’t something everyone can do, but in our situation it was feasible to try it, and we’re very happy with our decision). You’ll notice that driving 12,000 miles per year for 9 years should add up to 108,000 pounds of CO2, but I think we have driven maybe a total 6,000 to 8,000 miles since 1997 in rented or borrowed cars.
I know we drove about 3,000 miles, this past few months alone, going to the hospital to visit our son and taking him to doctor appointments. We rented a car for that purpose until our neighbor Cheri said we could use hers whenever we needed. But that’s mostly behind us at this point.

About 1993 we made a list of all the electric appliances we could do without, the micro-wave, the food processor, the blender, the coffee maker etc., and then when our refrigerator, washer & dryer died we replaced them with the most energy efficient ones we could afford, and about that time we changed every light bulb in the house to a compact flourescent (an article I read awhile back stated that if everyone in California switched to flourescent bulbs our population could double before we’d need to build another power plant–I sure don’t want to see the population double but that was a revelation).

In 2002 we heavily insulated the roof (about R39 total) and the floor of our cabin, installed dual-pane low-e glass windows & doors, and a couple of years earlier we had replaced our water guzzling lawn with drought-tolerant plants & flowers native to this area.

In any given year none of these projects required 5% of our energy (well maybe the roof did, a friend & I spent two solid weeks up there, and the cost was about $3,500 total) but the resulting savings in resource consumption and utility costs are compounding quite rapidly. The State of California also gave us about a 25% rebate on the cost of the doors, windows and insulation.

But there is always more to be done and I see that we’ve slacked off a bit in our foc

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