Month 11 – Insulate the Water Heater

My latest green home project was to insulate the water heater.  Our 50 gallon gas-fired water heater was installed in 2009.  Various websites recommend insulating your water heater if the R-value is less than 16 or 24.  I couldn’t find the R-value, but since ours was warm to the touch, I figured it couldn’t hurt to add…

Month 10 – Home Energy Audit

At work, we played a fun game called Cool Choices.  To earn points, every day for 6 weeks, players make environmentally sustainable choices such as carpooling, driving the speed limit, and turning the water off when brushing teeth (duh).  Different actions are worth different points.  The game made sustainability more fun and competitive.  It was…

Month 9 – Cover Unused Registers

Even with our Nest thermostat, heating our home will be a big energy cost.  Our heater uses natural gas which produces 11.7 pounds of CO2 per therm.  This means, that during each winter month, we are responsible for ~1,665 pounds of CO2 from heating.  For comparison, that’s as much CO2 as 83 gallons of gasoline.…

Month 8 – Grow Food

The ultimate of eating local is growing your own food.  This summer, my husband and I planted a raspberry bush and a blackberry bush.  When the plants are mature, we’ll have delicious food that is organic, didn’t require fossil fuels to be transported, and didn’t come wrapped in packaging destined for a landfill.  Also, when I…

Month 7 – Skip the Clothes Dryer

As far as appliances go, they say clothes dryers use quite a bit of energy.  According to the EPA, dyers can use more electricity than a refrigerator.  To check electricity use from my own house, I noted the meter readings over a few days.  For a nerd like me, the results are interesting: I found…

Month 6 – Install a Smart Thermostat

Phones send e-mails and respond to my voice.  Maps talk to me.  I learn world news almost instantly.  And now, my thermostat knows when I’m home or away.  The future is HERE! The most recent eco-friendly change in our house, is a Nest Thermostat.  Previously we had a programmable thermostat, however in search of even more…

Month 5 – Backyard Composting

Having a backyard makes it easier to do backyard composting.  As a house-warming gift, we got a Gardenline Compost Bin.  This month, I set it up and started using it for grass clippings and food scraps.  The set-up was very easy, however I didn’t really know how to get it started.  Should I start with some…