There’s something about digging my hands into the warm soil while planting my garden that connects me in some way to the sacred.   Something deep in my bones resonates with the simple acts of conserving and reusing.  You don’t have to be a tree-hugging, global warming conspirator, I think responsible living is something greater, something simpler.  Saving money, caring for the planet…good times.

“Going green” seems so trendy…but we’ve done a few things around our house that are not only good for the environment, but we’re saving some money as well.  Just a few ideas to let percolate.

Change a few lights to new CFL bulbs (probably overstated in every ‘green’ magazine every written), but really easy.  A few important things to keep in mind though:

  • A 60watt CFL is not near as bright as a normal 60watt bulb, so throw a 100watt or greater CFL in it’s place to get a similar light output. 
  • Most CFL’s do not work on dimmers, look for “use with dimmer switch” on the label if you plan to use the bulb with a dimmer. 
  • Most don’t work great in cold weather, ie. outdoors, enclosed porches, garages.
  • To avoid the ultra-pure, hospital white fluorescent light most emit, buy the “soft-white” or “warm-light” CFLs.
  • rates different brands of CFLs to find the warmest light, Phillips seems to be the winner according to most reviews, but not many stores carry them.

Make your own water.  If you have a garden, trees, flowers, maybe a lawn….you may have noticed water seems to be a key to life.  Just a couple quick, easy things you can do to reduce the amount of water you buy from the tap and reduce the watershed of your property.

  • Rain barrels, not to hard to find a few 55 gallon drums or even a specially built rain barrel on line.  Place one under your downspout, then attach a spigot for a hose, or use a good ol’ fashioned watering can to water your plants with the fairly chemical free water.  Use a screen or “dunks” from Tractor Supply to keep mesquites out.
  • Notice that pipe coming off your furnace that runs to the drain?  During the summer, unhook the pipe, stick a five gallon bucket under it, and see what happens.  When our AC is running, I’m getting at least 5-10 gallons of water a day that’s been condensated.  I’ve used that water for the last several years every day to water our garden, flowers, and trees. 
  • A dehumidifier for those really humid weeks during the summer can be a nice little source of water for the yard.  (less humid air also makes the house feel cooler).
  • If you wanna get crazy, divert your washing machine waste water to your yard, a holding barrel, or a system of pipes that waters your garden.  We’ve found an Arm & Hammer detergent, “Essentials” , that is supposed to be free of any harmful chemicals that could harm plant or animal life.