Category Archives: Green Your New Year’s

Energy Efficiency For The New Year

I’ve had lots of people ask me in the last couple of weeks how they can start being more green, start being more energy efficient, in the new year.

It seemed logical to not only answer them, but to share those answers with you all.  As it turns out, making your house and your lifestyle more energy efficient is actually pretty easy. It takes some changing of lightbulbs, and a few changing of habits, but it’s not nearly as hard as foregoing sugar and wheat, as one of my friends is doing this year, bless her heart. I might actually waste away to nothing without my two major food groups.

But back to energy efficiency:

1. Change those lightbulbs – but no need to take out perfectly good incandescent bulbs, just change them when they burn out and change them to CFL (compact flourescent) or LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.

2. Weather-proof your doors and windows, or replace old double-hung windows with new double-pane versions. There are manufacturers of new, up-to-code double-hung, double-pane windows out there. Weatherproofing is easier and weatherstripping can be purchased at your local hardware store. We bought enough to do our 1,000 square-foot apartment for under $50.

City lights from Space. Image from http://www.urbancom.blogspot.com

3. Turn off lights when you leave the room. I know, this sounds like such old news, but it’s easy to leave lights on all over the place.

4. Hang-dry your clothes. I have to admit, I thought this was the biggest pain in the neck when I first moved to the tropics and didn’t have a washing machine, much less a dryer (and there were no laundromats – we didn’t even have electricity on Tuesdays and Thursdays). But, once I had a dedicated clothes line, I found stepping outside and seeing the day (cloudy, brilliantly clear, windy, still as holding your breath), taking time to breathe and stretch as I hung each piece, was a welcome 10-minute respite from bench-work and the computer. One of my most favorite things was hanging clothes in the moonlight. There is nothing like rustling palms, a warm breeze, gazillions of stars, music from far off in the distance and only the light of the moon to see by. For one night (and I was lucky to have many) of that experience I would hang-dry my clothes for a lifetime.

5. If you’re remodelling, or have a pre-1995 major appliance, go with ENERGY STAR. You’ll save money and energy. Check out Recurve for rebate information.

-Jocelyn Broyles

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Green New Year’s Resolutions or Resolutions to Green Your 2011

I am a big fan of New Year’s Day, so tonight I’ll likely be doing something pretty chill that includes some bubble bath mentioned in my list of alternative things to do for NYE, some bubble liquid, and an early bedtime.

My big plan tomorrow is to take the doggies to the beach, rain or shine, no matter how cold it is. It won’t be quite the same as waking up on New Year’s Day on a deserted beach and jumping au-naturel into the warm waters of the tropical Pacific, but there is no joy like that of dogs frolicking in the sand.

I am also a big fan of resolutions, though I tend to make mine whenever I feel change is needed in my life, rather than on January 1. But in honor of all those out there making lists, I thought I’d make my own this year and share it with you.

1. I resolve to be less judgmental: of people, of situations, of myself.

2. I resolve to be more kind: to strangers, to my family and friends, to the air that I breath and the water I drink.

3. I resolve to donate time and energy: to at-risk youth, to helping others realize joy in small things, to saving animals and ourselves from ourselves.

4. I resolve to use my voice: to be kind, to show love, to sing, to write and to instigate change towards more earth-friendly (and therefore human-friendly) lifestyle choices.

5. I resolve to use less, buy less and waste less.

My resolutions, written off the cuff but with great care, just for this post, turned out to be more existential and less practical than I expected. So here is a list of more easily applicable resolutions to Green your 2011:

1. Buy recycled-content (post-consumer content) toilet paper.

2. Stop buying paper towels.

3. Replace all soaps and detergents in your house with earth-friendly, biodegradable detergents and soaps. I like Opas Soaps, Dr. Bronner’s, Method, BioKleen and Seventh Generation.

4. Shop at you local farmer’s market.

5. Use green dry cleaners when you have to dry clean.

6.  Use all-natural and organic skin care products. My favorites are homemade, but there are some wonderful brands out there doing good green stuff: EO Products, Kiss My Face, Lily Organics, Noli n’ Nali, Sumbody.

7. Buy organic and local using Local Harvest’s zip search and database.

Image of comic taken from http://www.uclaradio.com

8. Compost! Home composters are affordable and fun (and contrary to popular belief, they don’t stink). It’s amazing how much waste you can save from the landfill. Greennii likes Nature Mill and Nature’s Footprint.

9. Hang-dry your clothes – you don’t even have to do it all the time, even once a week helps! It’s especially quick and easy here in Northern California where it’s relatively dry. Ideas from Eco Housekeeping, Gaiam and Urban Clotheslines.

10. Reuse or give away something you were about to put in the garbage.

Happy New Year! May it be filled with peace, tranquility and joy.

-Jocelyn Broyles