Hot Off the Vine

Punch Up the Green In and Around Your House the Easy Way

Mention “green home” and chances are most people think of solar panels, sustainably-harvested wood, and other environmentally-sound but, let’s face it, pricey features.  What if I told you all it takes is a little weather-stripping?   Yep, you can make immediate energy-saving changes to your home through a few dollars of supplies at your local hardware store.  In addition to sealing those window leaks, pop in socket covers (the ones you use when you have toddlers in your house so they don’t stick forks in them) on outside walls to eliminate that little burst of cold air that comes in.  Remember when Aunt Ethel sewed the snake draft stopper and you thought it was hideous?  Well, guess what?  Those things actually help keep you from throwing money out the door. And they are a great way to recycle leftover fabric.  In fact, I think I might just make some as gifts for Christmas.  Don’t you just wish you were on my list?   Take a look at this diagram on the Dr. Energy Saver blog to see common air leaks in a house.

* Real Simple magazine takes you room-by-room with go-green suggestions, from using low VOC paints to buying a dining room table second-hand to adding ceiling fans in the bedroom.  Want to get a big bang for the buck and make your home more environmentally-friendly?  Check it out.

*Want to take your green scene up a notch?  The couple featured in that article, Jessica Jensen and Jason Pelletier, run this website, Low Impact Living, and offer this “impact calculator.” I’ve tried a bunch of these types of calculators and this one is particularly easy to use, and appears more specific than most.  I especially like that it gives a list of customized things you can do to improve your “LILI” (Low Impact Living Index) in an actionable list that can save not just energy but money.  Mine includes things like increase ceiling insulation, install a whole house fan, and insulate my hot water heater. Nice job, Jessica and Jason!

* That impact calculator did include a few questions about your landscaping, such as how much of your property is lawn and if you water regularly.  I “went organic” on my lawn three years ago and I hired a service company this past year to keep it healthy and weed-free with non-toxic inputs such as compost tea, corn gluten and citrus oil. You’d never know I’m doing anything different, except kids can cartwheel barefoot on it whenever they want.  And I love the little sign my service company leaves each time it comes.

* And, full disclosure, I’m a lazy fast-food eater, but for me that means I walk outside and pick my dinner from my garden.  Once you have a garden established, it’s not that hard to keep it going.  Not interested in getting down and dirty? There are now companies around the country who will help you do this.  They’ll even tend your garden weekly and leave a box of what they harvested on your table.  For example, these two farmers, Donna and Robin, own Your Backyard Farmer, a company in Oregon, that does everything but cook and eat the food for you.

Punch up the green in and around your home by letting Kudzu service pros help you with your green-living “punch list” and your insta-garden.


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