0 Eco-Challenge - Preparing for Winter

Time to prepare the igloo and dogsled for winter. Having been in our home for a few winters now we know where the problems are and what we need to do to cut down on our energy losses over those cold cold winter months. Windows, doors and poor insulation can be the biggest source of energy loss in a home. Our home is fairly new and even still our windows and doors are terrible. Sometimes it is not the age that matters but rather the model and features available.

This week we will be focusing on winterizing our home. We plan to do the following:

* Placing plastic over the windows in the nursery, master bedroom, office, family room, dining room, kitchen
* Installing a new filter for our furnace
* Installing new weather stripping for the front door and the garage door
* Re-caulking windows where required
* Purchasing curtains with a lining for the living room and dining room (these are the biggest rooms and windows in our home. They cost us the most to heat.)

The best way to determine if the changes you have made have had any impact is to compare the amount of natural gas used in previous years compared to current year. Just make sure to normalize the numbers based on outdoor temperature.


0 Eco-Challenge - Batteries RESULTS

This weeks Eco-Challenge was to take inventory of everything we have in the house that uses batteries and what size they require. We could then make decisions on what kind of rechargeable to get.

We already have a charger that will handle up to 4AA batteries. From looking at what we have in the house I think that this will be enough. We mostly have things powered by AA batteries. We just need to get more rechargeable batteries that will work with our charger. Right now we have 8 AA batteries that are rechargeable.

We currently use: 26 AA, 10 C, 2 D, 1 watch battery, 9 equipment specific batteries (already rechargeable).

I am actually kind of surprised. I did not think that we had 26AA in use in the house. Some things we use daily and others maybe once or twice a year but still 26 is a lot. I don't think we will be buying another 18 rechargeable AA batteries but I think we will invest in another 8 to cover off all the items that we use on a regular basis.

In the meantime we will be be collecting the batteries as they die and then taking all of them to the hazardous waste facility when they have household hazardous waste day in the spring.

Related Posts - Check them out
Eco-Challenge: Waste Streams
Eco-Challenge: Standby Power


1 Recycling is Confusing

I will never understand why recycling isn't consistent between municipalities. We used to live in the Halton Region and could recycle just about everything. When we moved to the Waterloo Region I was surprised at the number of things we couldn't recycle.

I know that recycling plants are built and set up differently and therefore can handle different items but it just seems that there are too many differences. It is too bad that it isn't consistent so that people don't get confused and frustrated when they move to a new region. When we first moved here we got lots of those lovely little sticky notes on our recycling bin. Styrofoam - sorry we don't take that (but if you want to drive to our recycling plant we will take it off your hands). Tinfoil - I don't think so. Why not roll it into balls and let your cat play with it. Although I now see that we can recycle tinfoil - wonder when that happened.

I will take a sticky note over what happened a few months ago when we put out some cardboard. We had followed the rules and broken the boxes down. The recycling truck decided not to take it and left it at our curb. I watched as the garbage truck pulled up and threw the cardboard in the back. I didn't make it outside in time (I was 41 weeks pregnant) to tell them not to take it. Why not leave a note for the cardboard?

I totally understand why people get so confused and just give up recycling all together. Let's just wait and see how the confusion grows when the green box program is rolled out.


0 350 - What Can You Do. Part 1

Here are some bigger things you can do to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you and your family are producing.

Hybrid Car
Do you ever think about buying a hybrid to reduce your carbon footprint? I know I do. Our next vehicle will most definitly be one. I would get one now but it doesn't make sense to buy one when our current vehicle is still relatively new and in fantastic condition. Really when you think about it, that would be worse for the environment because we would be getting rid of a perfectly good car and having all the energy expended to make a new one for us. So we will wait...and I will continue to hope that Mazda will get their act together and design a hybrid otherwise Toyota here we come.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling
One day we would like to buy a piece of property and build a house. If we do I would love to install geothermal heating and cooling. It is expensive and the pay back is ridiculously long but I believe it would be worth it. If you haven't heard of geothermal heating and cooling before check it out.

Solar Heating
We have talked about putting a pool in. If (or as Joe says when) we do we will also be installing solar panels to heat it. My dad did this on their pool when we were kids and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I had no idea that it would end up being trendy. If your roof is the right size and pitch for solar panels it is a great way to save some money and also heat a pool or even power part or all of your house.


2 Maybe I am not Green enough

There is a new board on the Nest called Green Living. When it first started up I popped over to read what was going on. I have posted a few times but find that I just can not relate to a lot of the posts. Lately it has had me questioning how green I really am. I use shampoo, I wash my face and use a moisturizer. I don't make my own deodorant, I use Colgate and for the love of all things holy I do not use the Diva Cup.

Does this make me a bad environmentalist? I don't think so, and I hope others don't think so. I pick my battles, I put my effort into the area's that are important to me. For some making their own deodrant and using cloth instead of toilet paper is where their priorities are but for me it lays in reducing our energy consumption, planting native landscaping, buying locally and using green building products.

I guess my job plays a role in this as well. I looked back on what I have done in my career and the impact I have had. I know I have made a difference, I know the programs I have implemented have resulted in the reduction of emissions and waste from my employers facilities and the products they are making. Those aren't things that people who I don't work with can see. When someone asks what I do to reduce my impact on the environment my answer wouldn't be that I have helped a manufacturing plant find an alternative use for their waste product thereby diverting it from the waste stream and making it a raw material for someone else. My answer is always "oh we compost, buy from the farmers market, use EF cleaners". For me this just does not seem to even start to explain why I consider myself to be green.

So....my name is Jen and I have made a difference. I have helped companies reduce their waste generation and air emissions by thousands of metric tonnes. I have turned waste into raw materials. I have opened people's eyes to the real impact a company can have and that it can save money by investing in environmental technologies. Oh and I also have a backyard composter, an organic mattress in our son's crib, a truck that runs on ethanol and a tankless water heater.

Don't base what you do for the environment based on what others do. Do what is your passion, do what makes you happy and know that using paper towels does not make you the devil.


0 350 - Local Action

Interested in finding out what is going on in your are for the International Day of Climate Change on October 24th?

Check out this map and enter in your city. If you don't see anything that interests you or there is nothing planned in your area think of starting something yourself. Enter the information here and others in your area can find you in the search and join you.


0 350

Is not the number of bowls of cereal I have eaten this week. It is not the number of dirty diapers we use in a month. It is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We are getting dangerously close to that number, to being past the point of no return.

Today is Blog Action Day. It is a chance to spread the word about the impact we are having on our atmosphere and make plans to start to change the way we live. On October 24th people all over the world will be taking action to stop climate change.

Think about what you can do on the 24th to a make difference. To get the word out that something needs to be done. Make sure you continue to check back as I will be talking about ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what Joe and I will be doing on the 24th.


2 Go Green Goes Under Construction

I know that I have not been the most consistent blogger. I go through phases where I am all bloggy blog blog and then the dust bunnies roll through. I have made the decision to put a lot more effort into Go Green and documenting what Joe and I are doing to reduce our impact on our environment and make this world a better place for B.

So over the next several weeks you will notice some changes in the format and the look of Go Green. I'll be gentle, I promise :)

If you have any suggestions on what you would like just flip me an email. I would love to hear your ideas!


1 Eco-Challenge: Batteries

Batteries batteries everywhere. Why does every baby product require batteries? We have a recharger for AA batteries but not for the sizes that all these new products require. I hate buying so many of them and not being able to reuse them.

This week we will focus on finding out what we have in the house that requires batteries, how often we go through the batteries and what size is required. With this information we can figure out if we need more rechargables and what kind of recharger to get.

We will also look at how to properly dispose of the used batteries we currently have. I keep them in a bag in a cupboard and since the bag is full I think it is time to get rid of them.

You can see the results of our eco-challenge here


0 Green News

What is new in the world of the environment?

Automated e-cycling machines - put your gadget in and get some cash out.

Mandatory emission reporting - new laws make it mandatory for large companies in the UK to report their emissions.

Becoming energy self sufficient - A town in Denmark completed a 10 year project to determine if it could become energy self sufficient.

Vancouver goes Green(er) - A green economic plan is revealed for the city.


1 Pee and Poo is bad for the environment

Well at least if you do it on a plane.

In the news this week the airlines asked passengers to use the washroom before getting onto a plane in order to cut down on gas consumption and thereby reducing emissions. Who know that passengers pee and poop weigh enough to make a big enough difference in fuel consumption.

I have no doubt that while they spun this to make it look like it is for environmental reasons it is really all about the money money. I guess it is only a matter of time before we have to pay to use the washrooms on planes. $2 for #1, $5 for #2. Please have exact change. Maybe they will create combo's where you can get headphones, 2 #1's, 1#2 and a bottle of wine for $20.

I think I will just travel with my Sh*t box from now on.


0 Selecting a Green Disposable Diaper

Since B was born we have tried 4 types of diapers with mixed result. We were looking for diapers that had a minimal impact on the environment, were economical, were available locally and worked for B. It is funny how you can think you will 100% use on product and then when you try it you realize that it just doesn't work for you. That is what happened to us.

Huggies Pure and Natural Disposables - Rating - 1 dirty diaper our of 5
We tried these out when B first came home from the hospital. We used them because they were readily available in the store...at the time they were the only non-traditional diaper in the store. We were not impressed with them. They leaked all the time and that resulted in not only using more diapers but always having to change his clothes. These aren't biodegradable and interesting enough when I asked some friends about them they all thought that they were. Clearly this is green washing by the company.

Cloth Diaper Service - Rating - 2 dirty diapers out of 5
We were set on using a cloth diaper service and we did try it out for a bit. The issue was that he developed a rash while wearing them and we were having to change him more than once an hour. Call me lazy if you want but with everything that comes with adjusting to having a newborn the last thing I wanted to be doing was changing a diaper (and his clothes) every 45 minutes. If there had been more options in All In One's (AIO) available we would have most likely gone that route instead of the service.

Seventh Generation Disposables - Rating - 3 dirty diapers out of 5
When cloth didn't work out for us I looked into Seventh Generation and was pleased to see that you can now buy them at groceries stores in Canada. But what did surprise me is that they aren't biodegradable. For some reason when I saw the name Seventh Generation I automatically thought that they were. Overall the diapers were good and B liked them. I did not however like that they were not biodegradable.

Nature Babycare Disposables - Rating - 5 dirty diapers out of 5
My niece gave us a package of Nature Babycare diapers for our shower. I am so glad that she did! They are biodegradable and organic! They are readily available in most major stores or online. You can add these to your regions compost system (call first to ensure they take them) or your home composter (but you have to add extra nitrogen). This was our diaper of choice from when B was a few months old until he potty trained.

What diapers did you end up trying before you found one that you loved?

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Related Posts - Check them Out
Potty Training (babies really should come per-trained)
Raising Green Kids
Speed Bumps