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Sustainable Alternatives: So, what's next??

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Forum: Sustainable AlternativesReplies: 136, Views: 671
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darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 15, 2007
7:56 PM

Post #3285017

We have a handful of people on all the threads here, mostly the same people.

So my question is "How do we spread the word?" Surely out of the thousands of paid subscribers, and the hundreds of thousands of freebies, there must be more interest than we few have shown.

Any ideas??

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2007
8:07 PM

Post #3285052

Yes, there must be more people who care, but I am afraid most people are only interested in making their life easier no matter what the cost, financial or otherwise.
Most people don,t to work harder and do with less.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 15, 2007
8:35 PM

Post #3285145

I keep hearing 2 lines from an old song, maybe the early 70"s??

"Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?"

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2007
8:43 PM

Post #3285171

Well, you can count on me, I care, and I am sure many people do too, but we are so used to having it easy,
and getting everything we want when we want it, it is very hard to change.
bonitin
Gent
Belgium
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2007
9:28 PM

Post #3285322

Perhaps, another name for the forum could arouse more interest ?
Its present name might not be all that clear and appealing for every body ?
I suggest a tittle that could be for example :'creative with waste', or another one that describes, concern for our environment and how to avoid waste.
I'm not the best person to find the right name; my native language is not English.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 15, 2007
9:36 PM

Post #3285350

Darius - I think that the way to attract more people to this forum (I may of course be wrong as I have been in the past), would be to simply start more threads here and to post to them often - And they will of course show up in "recent posts" on the home page. Also utilize the post# reference on other forums (where appropriate) to point folks here. JAI.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2007
9:40 PM

Post #3285366

How about (Save the Earth and Save Yourself.) or ( Waste Not Want Not ) (Getting more for less ) ( Making Do )
Just some thoughts.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 15, 2007
9:52 PM

Post #3285395

I Like "Sustainable Alternatives - Save the Earth and Saving for Yourself ", after all, "walk gently upon the earth, for when you leave it, it is all you leave to your children and your children's children".

Gotta figure out who said that first.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 15, 2007
9:55 PM

Post #3285402

IMHO Dyson has the right idea. Sustainability doesn't have to be about more work or a reduction in quality of life. Actually in my personal opinion most truly sustainable ideas actually enhance quality of life. Take for example the tankless water heaters, an idea whos time has come and I never even thought of about posting about them here until I got my propane bill and started patting myself on the back for my energy saving improvements. The more we chat, banter ideas back and forth, keep our eyes open for new ideas to bring up the more interest will come. The forum is new and actually I think it is doing well considering this fact. Lots of folks here probably don't know it exists yet and I see lots of other forums here with less activity than this one. So persevere, if you talk enough, they will come. LOL
threegardeners
North Augusta, ON

March 15, 2007
10:00 PM

Post #3285412

I have been lurking here since the forum began, I had no idea what sustainable alternatives meant until I looked it up. Still not sure really...do we mean things like solar panels(which the average person cannot afford anyway), ethanol fuel(which I use all the time) or does it mean something else entirely???
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 15, 2007
10:02 PM

Post #3285417

Still if you are on a near topic - link the post to this forum and drive interest. Many DG'ers are not aware of this forum, I suspect that will change rapidly (hope so).

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2007
10:08 PM

Post #3285432

Actually I think this forum has a lot of activity, maybe not form many people, but the ones posting are really into it.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 15, 2007
10:25 PM

Post #3285469

I agree again Dyson, there are several forums that relate closely to this one, such as organic gardening, the folks there are bound to be interested in a lot of topics here.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 15, 2007
10:30 PM

Post #3285490

Actually threegardeners, both solar panels and ethanol would be considered topics for sustainable alternatives. I happen to feel the same way you do about solar panels, not only are they expensive, but they rely on batteries that eventualy end up in landfill. IMHO the technology has long way to go before these become remotely sustainable.
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 15, 2007
10:35 PM

Post #3285505

How about preparing a "sticky" with definitions. What are you talking about and not talking about. What are the criteria for things sustainable and things not. Is this the same as 'frugal living'. Is this the same as 'permaculture'. Also the sticky should have some references -- who are the founders of this idea? Does it have a philosophical or scientific basis?
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 15, 2007
10:54 PM

Post #3285568

Yous'e guys need to check out the thread on "micro-hydro" http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/695671/ - Don't have "running water", creek, river, etc. - do your neighbors? Would they be willing to share the water power if you made an equipment contribution?

If two people work towards the same goal - they make twice the progress or more on an expadential scale. If three neighbors work together?

Granted I have lived, where I did not know the person in the apartment above me, but there is not much chance of that happening again.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 15, 2007
11:15 PM

Post #3285639

Good points, Everyone... Thanks.

Dave named this Forum but it is certainly subject to change, he says. We thought about "Green".. something, such as Green Building but that's a limited subject, doesn't apply to anything much but buildings whereas Sustainability implies it can go on and on... on its own mostly or at least cheaper than what's in current use whether in the garden, transportation or whatever.

Dyson, glad to see you posting. Good ideas about posting links on other forums.
biscuitz5
Iowa City, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 15, 2007
11:40 PM

Post #3285706

This became one of my favorite forums, once I found it, which happened when I searched "rainbarrel." I never would have found it otherwise, because I don't go to the HomeTalk tab.

There might be others like me. Could the forum be listed under both GardenTalk and HomeTalk tabs?

I think Sustainable Alternatives is a good name; if you want "green" in the title, how about "Green Living" or "Green Living and Gardening?"

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 16, 2007
12:47 AM

Post #3285947

Biscuit, Thanks for joining us. Glad you found us!!

I don't have any particular want or need to have "Green" in the Forum name, and many of our threads are so different from that title anyway. "Sustainability" so far suits me better but if I come up with a better name I will be sure to ask everyone what they think.
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

March 16, 2007
1:05 AM

Post #3286020

biscuit, I never go to the Home Talk tab either, only occasionally to go to the Photos forum but I usually use a posting link from the home page to go there.

I knew about it because I have regularly visited Dave's Forum to see what is happening, and the Forum got off to a very quick start so would have been easily missed. I think it needs a link on the Garden Tab too, I wonder if we should put it to Dave. He seems to be very busy just now, but a post on the welcoming thread might be a start.
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

March 16, 2007
5:58 PM

Post #3288966

I like the title: sustainable alternatives. A nice thing, Dave! Just need to give it some definition.

Also, I understand a forum can have a sponsor. Well, I have an idea about that.
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 16, 2007
6:02 PM

Post #3288976

do we subscribers see the sponsor? i've never noticed ads but then i'm probably not looking either.
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

March 18, 2007
1:10 AM

Post #3293504

I recently discovered this forum because Darius mentioned it somewhere else. It's a great idea, past due and much appreciated.

I've spent my whole life living somewhat green without even knowing it. It always just seemed the right thing to do. I think it started with the fact that my father grew up in Amish country in PA and was such a tightwad he should have been in the Guiness Records for it. Waste not, want not..

I built my current house in 1985 and incorporated as many of the latest energy saving factors as was economically feasible. Most have worked well and several did not. It's time for updates and I'm hoping to get the latest info right here.

I doubt I'll have much to contribute but I'm certainly reading.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 18, 2007
3:49 AM

Post #3293616

Twiggy, my ideas started with my dad too, I think he got his from his grandfather and we never had a lot of money when I was a kid so it was a matter of stretching what you had. Like you said, I grew up with the idea it was the right thing to do. My dad was into insulation etc. long before it became fashionable. For him it wasn't being "green", it was saving money in the long run. Thats how I still look at it a lot. My dad always taught me that the cheapest was not necessarily the cheapest in the long run. He would buy the best built car he could afford brand new, then he would drive it until the wheels just about literally fell off of it doing most repairs and maint. himself. Thats another thing I was taught, maintenance, maint, maint! Make it last! He also stressed take care of the important things first. Things like food, water, shelter. Build or buy the best quality you can afford and then make it last as long as you can. Sustainability fits right into that credo. Thogh I can't claim to be as much of a dollar stretcher as he was, being raised with that mindset has served me well over the years and it has given me the interest in applying the same ideals to the earth as whole.

And you may have more to contribute than you realize Hearing about failures is just as inportant as successes. As each of us implements what interests us and what we can afford it helps to learn from the mistakes of others so we don't repeat them. Its easy to get discouraged and quit trying when one makes a booboo so bring the failures out as well as successes!
claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
5:36 AM

Post #3293637

Hi everybody-
Just a couple thoughts about this topic - I come check out this new forum sometimes when I notice a new post on the 'latest posts' on the home page, and I think the mentions in other forums are a good idea too, but give yourselves some credit - for a newer forum, this one gets quite a bit of traffic, it seems to me anyway. That occurred to me when I looked at the DG Newsletter under the 'extras' tab. Yesterday it was #14 out of 227 forums by number of posts.

Another thing I noticed is the thread about on-demand water heaters - that thread alone got more posts than the entire plumbing forum has in months. Well, I'm not sure that's true, but it may be. There's a lot of overlap of 'Sustainable' living, and plain ordinary living; more all the time, I hope. Maybe the word "Alternatives" makes the forum seem more... I don't know... stereotypical 'hippie' or something? Just thinking out loud here... maybe some way to link some of the lesser used home forums to 'sustainable'...? I'm sure if some of us had our way they might be LOL ... just an idea. For all I know it's been discussed before.
Mike
wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
8:30 AM

Post #3293765

I started lurking here after someone recently 'advertised' the new forum in Organic Gardening.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 18, 2007
9:06 AM

Post #3293866

Well, I posted it on the Organic Gardening forum, the Soil and Composting, the Frugal Living, and Homesteading. I hope it helps to get the word out, but I think this is a very active forum compared to others, so don't feel bad guys, we have lots of activity.
Josephine.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 18, 2007
9:21 AM

Post #3293917

I think Darius was concerned that in the beginning we were a small group, lots of posting but mainly by the same small group of people. But I see that beginning to change already thanks to you getting the word out to other related forums. Also I think we have to remember that not everyone who reads posts. One thing I wish DG had is a listing of the number of views each post has. That would be a better indicator of the amount of interest in each topic.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
9:24 AM

Post #3293926

Views: 127
wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
9:52 AM

Post #3294003

128

:~)
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 18, 2007
10:46 AM

Post #3294162

oops, now I see it! Thanks guys. 133 is a lot of views Darius! Even when you consider a lot of them are multiples from the same people.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
11:13 AM

Post #3294269

Actually it does seem we are getting the word out. Yippee and Thanks everyone!!

I just don't want this forum to languish as so many others have. Claypa, that's an interesting comparison on the tankless water heater thread and the plumbing forum activity. Although I do my own plumbing (even sweating copper) I don't know where I would have looked for tankless info, but probably not the plumbing forum. I wonder if Dave might make a stickie on some forums suggesting this forum as well??

There are SO many cross-overs of good ideas on many other forums that could also be here.
fremar
Comer, GA
(Zone 7b)

March 18, 2007
11:54 AM

Post #3294386

I too started lurking around here after I saw a post on the organic gardening forum. You folks have some great ideas going here and thanks for the ideas you've given me.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
1:55 PM

Post #3294691

Hi all,

This is my first time checking out this forum and will give my overall impressions. Keep in mind I have only sampled a few of the threads, though I read through this one entirely.

As for the title, I completely agree with claypa. It does have a hippie or flower child implication. Now some people might not mind that (they may have been one!), but the idea is to get the mainstream to embrace some of these concepts. Seeing a thread named 'Let's start a commune' certainly does nothing to dispel the hippie impression! I think the title should be changed. Maybe Responsible Living or something like that. I'm sure there are many possibilities. And yes, there is definitely a lot of overlap with other forums, but that should not be seen as a liability.

Also, you will never get many converts if the primary tool is to make them feel guilty or selfish. Of course, there are elements of that in play though. With all our scientific / technical ability, it's inconceivable to me that being responsible equals doing without.

It's very important that people not approach this subject with an agenda or militant approach. I have come across that many times, whether it's organic gardening, breast milk vs. bottle, planting only natives, use of any technology in food production, vaccinations, etc. Again, people do not want to be slammed over the head. It will have the exact opposite effect.

People who believe strongly in this subject need to keep an open mind as well. For example, there has been talk of dishwashers. Unless you are washing with cold water only, there is a very good chance you are using MORE energy than if you used a new, energy efficient dishwasher. Also, ethanol is not nearly what it's cracked up to be. It makes the vehicle LESS efficient and does not reduce the cost of the fuel. And the E85 sources are few and far between. This is all according to Consumer Reports. It's a political, not a (sound) energy decision. And it has significantly raised the cost of corn. Another - a recent business report showed that only 6% of U.S. households use cf bulbs! Surely more than 6% of people claim to be concerned for the environment, dependence on fossil fuels, etc.

As for myself, since I bought my house 11 years ago, I have used cf bulbs. I have had a tankless water heater for about seven years. I installed a pellet stove last year, though did not get much use out of it this winter because they saw how popular the stoves were and jacked up the price by 50%! I am responsible, not dumb. I am in the process of going solar. I will be installing a sizable 5.75 KW system. I am the first in my town. The thermostat never goes above 67 during the day, much to the chagrin of my forever cold wife. I have replaced just about every appliance I inherited with new efficient ones. Lastly, I use rain barrels and try to choose plants that are more drought tolerant. I also use polymer crystals.

On solar, it's getting more affordable all the time. In NY, the state pays for half of the modules, gives back $5000 in a tax credit (that's dollar for dollar off your taxes, unlike a deduction) and then offers a low cost loan to finance the rest. The Feds give $2000 in a credit. Bottom line, after the credits, I am paying about one third of the cost, using a 4% loan (one can choose 2, 3 or 4% depending on the loan duration chosen). Some states have even better deals. Also, contrary to what someone stated, batteries are NOT needed and not recommended, at least here. Instead, the utility is used as the battery. It's called net-metering. Anything my solar cells produce that exceeds my demand gets sold back to the utility at the SAME price I buy from them. If my demand is higher than my output, some or all (nighttime) is provided by the utility. Press your State legislators and governors to improve their solar incentives.

What works? There is no stronger incentive than financial, but, as in the case of cf's, people still need to overcome habit. More and more, people are valuing effect on the environment, but not in the absence of incentive number one. The sale of hybrids illustrates that. Tack on $3000 to the cost of a car and people are smart enough to know that even at $3 a gallon, $3000 buys a lot of gas.

I hope this forum catches on. I will check it and post when I can. Good luck!
claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
2:14 PM

Post #3294752

Well this is kind of off-topic but I just wanted to point out that my '77 Honda Civic got LOTS better mileage on gasohol (or whatever it was called at the time) over gasoline. I couldn't believe it, 40+ mpg compared to 28 or whatever it was. I miss that car.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
2:16 PM

Post #3294756

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/ethanol-10-06/overview/1006_ethanol_ov1_1.htm
Hrafn
Woodbridge, VA

March 18, 2007
2:19 PM

Post #3294760

Hey Spot8907,

Photovoltaic systems do not require batteries...the only time you might want batteries is if you want to run totally off the grid at night (so you can store excess energy you collected during the day). You don't have to have them to have a positive impact on the environment -- you will be reducing your power consumption by more than 50%, and considering that people sleep most of the dark hours away, your overall power consumption will be quite low.

Most modest size homes (not McMansions) can run totally off the grid during the day if one of their major roof sides (the long side of a rectangular home) face south (in the Northern hemisphere).

We have a neighbor that has a very outdated (by today's standards) photovoltaic system that was installed in the 70s, and it still works and keeps him off the grid during the day, due to his modest power usage. A more modern system is quite capable of providing most is not all of a modern homes needs...during the day.

Some years ago, President Clinton signed a bill creating the Million Solar Roof initiative. The government wanted 1 million homes with Solar roofs to help boost and showcase the technology. All states were given money to help provide a buy-down -- many states still have the funds available, all you have to do is look for it. The US Government is putting photovoltaic systems on most federal buildings nowadays to help offset the cost of keeping them cool in the summer.

I personally believe that it is the duty of everybody to figure out a way, within their means, to reduce our over reliance on fossil fuels and use what is pretty much freely available -- be it solar, wind, or geothermal energy. The counterargument I hear against this technology is that is takes more energy to make the devices than they provide -- hogwash. That neighbor of mine, his system has been running 30 years straight, providing him free power every day. You have to look at it in the long term, overall impact. Imagine if EVERY modern home in America had to be built with solar panels on the roof...what kind of reduction in our overall energy needs would that provide? Every year America needs more power, and every year, we have less and less -- nobody wants a power station in their backyard, and modern pollution control laws make it almost economically impossible.

Ooops, was on a soapbox there for a minute. Sorry all, but I have a thing for renewable energy! :)

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
2:26 PM

Post #3294774

victorgardener, well stated and thought out response. Thank you. I have several responses and PLEASE only take them as my thoughts and not personal attacks.

"Responsible Living" is an interesting title but to me it implies paying your taxes, keeping kids in school, avoiding drugs, maintaining monogamy and many more things I could name... but not reducing energy consumption, avoiding toxic chemicals or helping the planet survive foremost.

I do hope you had no specifics in mind when you said "militant" approach. I care deeply about many of the issues here AND I have no desire to cram them down someone's throat. I've not detected that stance in any other posts either. Dave did warn us that this Forum could foment harsh debate so I want to avoid that.

You said [quote]Also, you will never get many converts if the primary tool is to make them feel guilty or selfish. Of course, there are elements of that in play though. With all our scientific / technical ability, it's inconceivable to me that being responsible equals doing without.[/quote] Is there something in our threads and posts that implies we intended to make someone feel guilty or selfish? Or doing without? If so, please let all of us know so we can correct that image.

I wish I were in a financial position to replace some of my appliances. I'd have a Sun Frost refrigerator, for one. I'd love to have a dishwasher if for nothing else than washing and sterilizing my canning jars. Alas, I am a retired woman on a very limited income and I suspect many others here are also similarly strapped financially. Yet, I care deeply about this lovely blue planet we inhabit so I look at ways of walking softly upon it.
wrightie
Metro DC, MD
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
2:27 PM

Post #3294775

Victorgardener, I just wanted to thank you for your first post, above. I am very much in agreement, but could not have said it better myself.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
2:28 PM

Post #3294781

Lets not forget microhydro as in if it is moving it can produce power - Q: how much water is flowing in this nation at this moment? Next Q: how much of the potential power is being used?

Seems a big waste of "free" energy cause no one wants it - sorry small soapbox about a big problem.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
2:32 PM

Post #3294796

Dyson, you and I live in the region of "moving water" LOL. I still think I want to harness mine... wanna come play in the mud?
claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
2:33 PM

Post #3294801

Victorgardener, I don't doubt that's true for some cars but I know what happened in my car. There's a big difference between a Tahoe and a sideways Japanese 4 cylinder. I ride a bicycle anyway. :)
Interesting too, about the acetaldehyde, that's the same thing your (one's) liver produces after consuming too much alcohol and that's what causes the classic hangover symptoms.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
2:54 PM

Post #3294864

darius, I took a ride the other week down "power dam road" in Rocky Mount Va. The dam is still there, The building that contained the generating equipment is still there covered w/graffiti. It was a sad walk back to the car.

My mothers place on little Lynville creek has sufficient flow to produce power if harnessed. I do not have it here and am considering solar at the moment.

My next door neighbor said his light bill was 700+ dollars last month, he did not know how he was going to pay it. I gave him a compact florescent bulb & the phone number of the guy who does the work on my heat-pump. My bill was 163. and still seems high to me but at least I could pay it.

I am tired ... but I need to go outside and see if the soil in the raised beds are dry enough to work some compost into - alas good day too all.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:01 PM

Post #3294884

victor, great post. I have to chuckle when you say that "sustainable" has a hippie of flowerchild implication. Here on the west coast, it's a pretty mainstream concept among folks who grew up out here. San Francisco is often cited as the birthplace of the flowerchild, but sustainable is not associated with them, possibly because flower children are/were the "older" generation. (hee hee.)

"Responsible Living" sounds more judgemental IMHO. One persons "responsible" action may not be a sustainable action where the environment is concerned. If we continue to have a good mix of discussion, perhaps the word "sustainable" will become a more comfortable word all around.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
3:07 PM

Post #3294902

[quote]"Responsible Living" sounds more judgemental IMHO. One persons "responsible" action may not be a sustainable action where the environment is concerned. If we continue to have a good mix of discussion, perhaps the word "sustainable" will become a more comfortable word all around.[/quote]

Should read "sustainable" will become a more comfortable world all around. (IMHO).
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:13 PM

Post #3294923

We use a combination of incandescent and flourescent bulbs. The cf bulbs do not produce the same quality of light, so I have some incandescents in the reading/needlework spots and in places where children or pets might knock a lamp over. It will be great when further develpment gets the mercury and the hum out of the flourescents and improves the quality of the light. We have energy efficient appliances that are only run on full loads. I would rather see a per person electricity allotment rather than a banning of incandescent bulbs or some other device. People can then decide how they want to use their power allotment. I'm willing to give up some types of electical appliances (eg, hair & clothes dryer) in exchange for healthier lighting for my eyes. I got into the habit of using pressure cookers from sailing and living in countries where fuel is scarce.
Our utility bill is lower than most our neighbors who live in the same size unit.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:14 PM

Post #3294929

LOL! nice point Dyson. :)

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:21 PM

Post #3294953

I see your points but Sustainable Alternatives conjures up images from those extreme homes shows where someone is living in a home made from beer bottles or something similar. Sorry, but maybe it's just the NYC in me! Also, it just doesn't capture all the different elements that are part of this discussion. It's too abstract. What about something like Eco-friendly Living?
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:23 PM

Post #3294958

I like "Eco-friendly living" better than "Responsible living".

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:24 PM

Post #3294960

mermaid, how old are your cf's?? The newer ones produce a much whiter light and I never hear any hum. The first generation were horrible - real yellow.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:25 PM

Post #3294967

And for the party animals, "Irresponsible, but Eco-friendly Living"!!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
3:27 PM

Post #3294973

VG, I like the "Eco-Friendly" image.

Dyson, that's sad about the old generating plant.

Until I can get the old willow trunks removed from the end of my spring overflow pipe I cannot get in there to measure flow but I still think I can generate some amount of power. My elec. bill was $250 (elec. heat) but now I have my woodstove installed. The first load of wood was $40 (maybe 1/3 of a cord) and IF I use all of it in a month, that's still cheaper than elec. The maple in my front yard has died and that will give me some firewood for next year, plus I have a woodlot. Just need a mule to haul it down LOL.

You must get more VA sunshine than I get in the mountains which makes solar not too viable for me. However, I am considering a solar water heating system for the non-freezing months until I can afford a tankless water heating unit for winters. I can do it myself on the cheap... I think... and I have most of the components already.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:31 PM

Post #3294992

victor, not everyone hears the hum or sees the flicker in fluorescent bulbs. It's probably like tastebuds, some folks are more sensitive than others. My husband and I both hear the hum in the bulbs, my mother and sister do not. Our bulbs are over a year old. Have they changed in the past year?
I like the Ott lights which produce full specturm light similar to natural daylight, but they still hum and are not as energy efficient.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:34 PM

Post #3294999

Hydro is wonderful, but you have no idea how difficult it is to get it done. So much red tape, environmental impact studies, etc. Most are opposed by environmentalists because it impacts some species living in the waterway. My friends ran one for a few years and just gave up. Even wind farms are often opposed. Either for aesthetics, as in the case of the one planned for off Cape Cod (vehemently opposed by Walter Cronkite and others), or by wildlife people.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:36 PM

Post #3295009

Wow, mermaid! Do you guys hear those dog whistles too??!! Being in CA, I hope you can sense the hum before an earthquake!! Hee hee.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:40 PM

Post #3295026

I'd like to see more vertical axis wind generators installed. The horizontal propeller type can be noisy and are the ones that are associated with the bird kills. The vertical axis ones are safe in migratory paths, are very efficient and require less maintenance. Seems to be a trade/market share dispute going on between the wind generator companies.
http://www.tangarie-energy.com/productsturbines.htm
http://www.windside.com/

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
3:41 PM

Post #3295027

Victor, I'm lucky that my spring is on my own land before it overflows to the creek. So, it may not be too difficult to harvest energy from it without red tape.

I lived In Boone, NC where they built the huge windmill which they took down after 2-3 years because neighbors complained about the noise. One of our DG members, Sugarweed, worked on the installation. I didn't get there until the next year. It provided power for 1,000 homes.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:43 PM

Post #3295034

Cool links, mermaid - thanks. They look nice. Maybe one for above my solar panels??

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
3:48 PM

Post #3295041

I'll have to look for the site, but it has a PDF file to make a small vertical wind turbine... more on the educational side rather than a real useable turbine. But the concept is very interesting.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
3:49 PM

Post #3295042

Lived in NYC, upstate New York (Seneca), Alaska, Japan, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, - burned a LOT of fuel down through the years, now I drive 140 miles a day to get to work, - This will change as soon as I can make it happen.

I will drive over to bring darius some smoked salmon in may when I have vacation (if she will have us visit with her)!

What was the point - oh yea, sustainable does not need to be a beer bottle house, just about making the most of what is utilized. I think about it every time I fill the tank on the Metro.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:53 PM

Post #3295051

Don't hear dog whistles but often do sense the earthquakes. I get a low level of nausea - what my DH calls the "quake queasies" if a significant tremor is on its way. There is also a noticeable increase in static electric shocks at that time. That being said, we have quakes everyday, they are just too small to notice. I'm a native to this area, so I'm used to them and frequently don't pay attention. They usually pass by so quickly that by the time you realize what is happening, it's gone. Had a good jolt that throw me out of bed in 2004 or 2005. I just thought I'd rolled out and went back to sleep. Found out in the morning that mother nature was playing pranks with me. When I lived in the Sierras, I mistook a quake for the effects of a strong cup of coffee once. The tremor hit just as I had my first sip in the morning!


This message was edited Mar 18, 2007 12:54 PM

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:53 PM

Post #3295053

Wow, Dyson! Sounds like you were a military person. 140 miles a day??! Oh boy.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
3:54 PM

Post #3295056

Dyson, you promised to come last year in trout season... Nonetheless, I have an open house for you even if you don't bring salmon!

Beer bottle houses? LOL. I have seen many photos using them from the early 1970's and DO NOT want one myself! But, the concept of solar (Sun) heat travelling through a hollow vessel into an interior space IS intriguing.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:55 PM

Post #3295061

Wow! This is certainly a very active thread! Everytime I hit send, the site says someone else has already posted! We're sizzling at this forum!

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:56 PM

Post #3295064

A caffeine and seismic jolt at the same time - cool.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
3:56 PM

Post #3295065

Yeppers and I'm LOVIN' IT!

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:57 PM

Post #3295069

Yes, but is all this activity SUSTAINABLE???????!!!!!!!!!!
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
3:58 PM

Post #3295070

Many parts of the world have a breeze that picks up when the sun goes down. A wind generator can pick up when the solar is down.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
3:59 PM

Post #3295077

I notice the breeze picks up when my MIL is over. She never stops talking!!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
3:59 PM

Post #3295080

Good point, Victor!

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
4:01 PM

Post #3295085

I have to go now for a while - I plan to post photos of the solar installation. Should start in the next couple of weeks.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
4:03 PM

Post #3295090

Look forward to seeing your project victor!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2007
4:03 PM

Post #3295091

Cool!!! Thanks
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
4:04 PM

Post #3295098

Victor! LOL , somehow I think we had the same MIL.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 18, 2007
6:00 PM

Post #3295505

Gees you guys, I was away to get some groceries and this place really heated up. IMHO this activity IS sustainable because there is a lot of interest in this subject . And your right Victor, we need to be very carefull about sounding preachy etc., you catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar, but so far thankfully I haven't seen anything like that.

I would also like to encourage everyone out there to jump in with questions and opinions, even negative ones. I for example have just learned a great deal about solar panels that I didn't know because I expressed a negative opinion. Its a lot easier to have a good discussion that covers all the bases when possible negatives are brought up. Also there are genuine flaws with some sustainable ideas and we aren't here to hide them, just inform people and encourage them to try the ideas that are right for them. This is great group and a great forum IMHO, whatever the name happens to be.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
6:11 PM

Post #3295535

You're spot - on, spot. And next time send somebody else for the groceries!
Rocco
Tulsa, OK
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
6:38 PM

Post #3295608

This is my first visit to this forum. I read all of the posts and think that this is an excellent topic for discussion. I try to lead a planet friendly life by recycling,composting,using cf bulbs,etc. All of the bulbs in my household are of the cf type. They seem to be suitable for all of my applications except reading. In order to obtain more light for reading I use a "Y" adapter with two one hundred watt equivalent bulbs in the reading lamp. That is still less than fifty watts of energy used.
Sustainable Alternatives is the proper title for this forum,don't change it!
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
7:03 PM

Post #3295674

When I retire for the evening I don't shut down the puter, knowing I will be back on it in a couple of hours, but I do power down the monitor knowing that even in "power save" mode it draws more juice than necessary when not in use (if I'm asleep I'm not looking at it). When I leave for work I power everything down.

The next step is to replace the TV's with LCD models that use less power.

There should be links to here from the frugal threads.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 18, 2007
7:11 PM

Post #3295697

LOL, Victor, nobody to send but me!
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 18, 2007
7:15 PM

Post #3295713

Spot - where is Ida? I lived in Dearborn, and Walled Lake many years ago and am not certian what part of the state you are in.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 18, 2007
7:28 PM

Post #3295752

Ida is about 20minutes north of the ohio line and about 15 minutes west of Monroe. I lived in Walled lake years ago also, you wouldn't recognize it now I'm afraid. Also lived in Wayne which is just west of Dearborn so we may have crossed paths in the past.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 18, 2007
7:30 PM

Post #3295758

Dyson, you slept in more places than GW!!
phicks
Lakeland, FL
(Zone 9b)

March 18, 2007
7:41 PM

Post #3295793

Am Here ive been passing the forum site around i lived in howel Mi long ago

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
12:13 PM

Post #3297846

WOW! Today's newsletter shows this forum activity as #3... only Games and PF Photos had more activity.

kooger

kooger
Oostburg, WI
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
4:01 PM

Post #3298544

I'm reading this forum too - first post tho. I have lots to learn, I know. :)

Regarding the sounds - I sometimes hear dog whistles but not those deer things on cars. In highschool a teacher had this sound machine, can't remember what it was, but he was showing us the range of sound it could produce and he left it on high, supposedly no one could hear it. I was going nuts! I finally put my hand up and asked him to please turn it off, it was giving me a major headache. This was shortly after I had a concussion so I always wondered if that had something to do with it.

The energy company here in IA has collected funds for years to do home visits so we signed up for one abt 5 years ago. They give you two shower heads, plus up to 4 lightbulbs, check your attic insulation level, check windows and doors for leaks and give you tips on other ways to cut your monthly bills. One thing he mentioned was to turn off the monitor. He said the computer takes very little juice, but the monitor sucks it up so I have everyone here trained to turn it off, rather than let it go on 'screensaver' mode.

We wanted to get a Bosch on-demand waterheater when our's died abt 5 years ago but it was more than we could afford. I'm hoping when this one goes out, we can get one. We saw our cousin's house in the Netherlands and they had one over the kitchen sink and also one in the bathroom. They worked great!

We just hauled a load of poles from Omaha, NE to Miami, FL and they were going to the Virgin Islands. The poles were going to be holding up small wind generators - costing abt $10,000 and they produce energy to supply an average size home. We were hoping to get more info abt them but so far, haven't had any luck finding the company that sells the generators.

The other energy source we're interested in, costs abt $8000, and monthly cost is around $10-$15 per month here in IA. It's called ground source heat. Does anyone have experience with it? A couple of DH's 2nd cousins installed it and love it.
http://www.geoexchange.org/
http://www.est.org.uk/myhome/generating/types/groundsource/
http://www.nef.org.uk/gshp/gshp.htm
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 19, 2007
4:19 PM

Post #3298590

Thanks for the links kooger! I'll have to read up on the ground source heating. There's a geothermal plant in south Reno. I hadn't heard of using ground source heat if you don't live near geothermal activity. Very interesting!
threegardeners
North Augusta, ON

March 19, 2007
4:27 PM

Post #3298614

very interesting indeed...maybe you should start a new thread about it so the info doesn't get lost??

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
4:28 PM

Post #3298616

Geothermal is getting more and more attention. If you drill deep enough, you will hit a hot enough source no matter where you are. It's just a question of economics. I'll look for the article I just read.
DiggerDee
Ffld County, CT
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
4:30 PM

Post #3298622

Haven't had a chance to read all the posts to this thread, but just wanted to chime in and say I'm very happy to see this forum. I just found it this morning. Sustainable living is an important issue to me, and I'm glad to see there are others who enjoy discussing it.

Dee

kooger

kooger
Oostburg, WI
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
4:31 PM

Post #3298624

threeg - yeah, I should start a new one, eh? so where's N. Augusta? I'm from Lindsay area (Cannington to be exact).

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
4:52 PM

Post #3298696

Even our US president has geothermal heat for his house in TX. The entire house, btw, is off the grid. Hmmmm...

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 19, 2007
4:56 PM

Post #3298709

Hey guys, this forum is on fire!!! 112 posts yesterday, Wow!
threegardeners
North Augusta, ON

March 19, 2007
4:58 PM

Post #3298715

kooger...I know Lindsay and area well...I myself am roughly 30 minutes south west-ish of Ottawa
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 19, 2007
5:44 PM

Post #3298896

Geese oh peets Darius, I don't think you have to worry about lack of interest in sustainable issues, I cant keep up with this forum anymore! I think you have opened the floodgates!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
5:48 PM

Post #3298914

Spot... you just gave me the BEST laugh I have had all day!
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 19, 2007
5:48 PM

Post #3298916

Opening the floodgates is an understatement! LOL!
I took a week off from DG for a knitting conference and still haven't caught up with my "usual" forums with all the activity on this one.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
7:40 PM

Post #3299366

Knitting conference???
threegardeners
North Augusta, ON

March 19, 2007
7:43 PM

Post #3299381

Glad you asked, I wanted to but was scared...
dmcdevitt
Schroon Lake, NY
(Zone 4a)

March 19, 2007
8:56 PM

Post #3299718

Well I had no idea this was here, and now I'm here and I'll be so busy catching up I won't get anything done to sustain my life at all!!!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
9:16 PM

Post #3299782

LOL Dorothy... I wondered where ya'd been!
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 19, 2007
9:38 PM

Post #3299914

Yes victor, a knitting conference. The largest one in the world, Stitches West, takes place in Santa Clara each February. There are also knitting camps and knitting excursions to various parts of the world.

http://www.knittinguniverse.com/xrx/events.php

The marketplace has every imaginable type of fiber available. Being at the conference center from 8am until 10pm with thousands of others wore me out after four days...but my stash is approaching SABLE status.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
9:47 PM

Post #3299944

That's interesting. Do you spend a lot of time (where do you find it?!) at it?
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 19, 2007
9:51 PM

Post #3299963

Knitting is one of the ways I destress. I knit for process more than end product but do manage to complete several projects a year, depending on size and complexity. Most knitters I know have several projects going simultaneously. Sometimes you need to zone out and work on something simple. Other times you want something more challenging. Socks are easy to take with you. Quite a few knitters on public transport during the work week commute, not to mention plane flights and bouts of insomnia.

Plus, a lot of hospitals need preemie hats and socks, which are finished in no time.
Chemo beenies and matching scarves are another quick project to help out.

This message was edited Mar 19, 2007 6:53 PM
pepper23
KC Metro area, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2007
9:55 PM

Post #3299978

I am only off for a few hours to get my truck up and running again (bad battery) and this forum has taken off!! I feel like I will never get caught up!! LOL

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2007
10:01 PM

Post #3299999

Yeah, ain't it great??
pepper23
KC Metro area, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2007
10:10 PM

Post #3300034

LOL.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 19, 2007
10:14 PM

Post #3300049

Very nice, gm.
biscuitz5
Iowa City, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 19, 2007
11:15 PM

Post #3300295

Darius-


Bush's Crawford house is entirely off the grid???? Are you serious???

spot8907
Ida, MI

March 20, 2007
12:59 AM

Post #3300580

Well I doubt Bush's house is off the grid for energy SAVING reasons, probably has a huge generator that runs off of crude oil from the oil well in the backyard or something like that. All politicians are phonies. Did you see in the news about Gore's house using like 12 times the elec. of the average. And the guy flys around in a jet, drives SUVs or rather has them driven for him, then when confronted about it the guy has the nerve to say he offsets it all by BUYING carbon credits. I thought to myself"Whats a carbon Credit?" Oh turns out it is scheme where the rich can make themselves think they are doing something good, the whole concept is radicly opposed to what sustainability is all about! Sustainability is about making responsible choices, considering resources as limited not something you can buy! And to top it all off with cherry turns out Gore just happens to own stock in this carbon credit company! Oh these guys are priceless! If for nothing else but a good laugh! It doesn't matter what party their from, I wish politicians were a limited resource, unfourtunately they are limitless. LOL
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 20, 2007
1:03 AM

Post #3300591

Well, at least his film got folks thinking more about the climate change and our impacts on it. Carbon credits won't help when the power is out. Solar, wind, mini hydro etc on the homestead will. Hmmmm, we might need to think about adding blackout curtains and blinds to our houses. ...when all the other power is out, everyone will follow the light our places. Might get overcrowded!
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 20, 2007
1:20 AM

Post #3300622

Yea but his behavior and then touting the carbon credits turns people off to actually doing anything. The people who will make a difference are the people just like the ones here. The ones who do these things because its the right thing to do regardless of what the hollywood people or politicians say or do.They do these things for themselves, for their kids, and when others see it they will follow. All the movies in the world aren't going to motivate people to actually do something, its seeing their friends and neighbors and places like this giving real life info and advice that are going to change things. (Note to self: better get blackout curtains) LOL

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2007
9:06 AM

Post #3301087

It also doesn't help to make exaggerated claims and then use them as the underlying argument for specific changes. When you then have to admit to the inflated numbers, you lose credibility. It's bad news when politicians take the place of scientists and an important scientific issue practically takes on religious dimensions.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 20, 2007
9:20 AM

Post #3301141

Excellent point Victor! Thats one of the reasons I think it important for people to post any negative experiences as well as positive. Things often SOUND good, but in the real world they have problems. If we can help people avoid negative experiences we encourage them actually to do more because they experience less failure and more success. And sometimes the failure you experienced won't apply to another situation so its important to ask questions etc. Someone out there might have info to turn your failure into success. What we need is more REAL info. not hype. IMHO this forum, if people maintain participation, is one of the best ways of meeting that need.

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 20, 2007
10:15 AM

Post #3301325

Sorry, I mis-spoke. Bush's house is not totally off-grid.

[quote]President Bush’s Texas Ranch Is Off-Grid, Eco-Friendly {OffGrid.net}

Amazingly, given his oil industry links, Bush’s ranch is off-grid, boasting a range of eco-features including geothermal heating and cooling, that would make Leonardo di Caprio proud. The passive-solar house is positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior walkways and walls. Does his inside knowledge lead him to suspect that he will need it to survive a downturn very soon?

“Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into purifying tanks underground — one tank for water from showers and bathroom sinks, which is so-called “gray water,” and one tank for “black water” from the kitchen sink and toilets. The purified water is funneled to the cistern with the rainwater. It is used to irrigate flower gardens, newly planted trees and a larger flower and herb garden behind the two-bedroom guesthouse. Water for the house comes from a well. The Bushes installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which uses about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and air-conditioning systems consume. Several holes were drilled 300 feet deep, where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees.” Even portions of the home are made from waste materials from a local quarry!
http://pathtofreedom.com/journal/


Meanwhile, back at the ranch
Section: HOMESTEADING — by Nick Rosen, 18 Feb 2007

George W Bush on his Prairie Chapel ranch
Yo! I’m Green

George Bush’s policies on just about everything to do with the environment are wrong headed and destructive, but you cannot say the same for his ranch in Crawford Texas. Amazingly, given his oil industry links, Bush’s ranch is off-grid, boasting a range of eco-features including geothermal heating and cooling, that would make Leonardo di Caprio proud. The passive-solar house is positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior walkways and walls. Does his inside knowledge lead him to suspect that he will need it to survive a downturn very soon? To see full details on the house, click here:

Bush acquired the Prairie Chapel ranch in Crawford, Texas, in 1999, and construction of the house was completed 2001. A White house press release of the time – showing their lack of connection with environmentalist concerns, commended the President for his use of a gas-guzzling Gator to help clear trails through “jungly” vegetation.

The place looks its best near dusk when the light is orange in the west and pale purple in the east and deep blue in the dome of the sky. Karen P. Hughes, counselor to the president, said, Bush has put in place “responsible environmental policies” at his 1,600-acre ranch. “He has installed a very environmentally friendly heating and cooling system, and he has put in place a system to recapture groundwater.”

Rainwater and household wastewater are reused for irrigation. First lady Laura Bush, is restoring native wildflowers and grasses on the property. The only sounds are the chatter of birds and the murmur of the breeze through the leaves of live oak and cedar elm trees. A short distance from the house are clusters of vivid bluebonnets and a sparkling pond, even though watchful Secret Service agents stand guard a few hundred feet from the low-slung limestone building, and telescopes for spotting intruders are set up under trees.



In 2001, White House officials introduced a policy of having the President interviewed in carefully selected backdrops including the ranch, to make pro-environmental statements, as they hoped this would draw attention away from more contentious proposals, but the strategy was dropped as it served only to highlight the hypocrisy of the administration on this issue. For Bush is no eco-nut. Early in his presidency he angered environmentalists by rejecting a treaty to reduce global warming, suspending new limits on arsenic in drinking water and breaking a vow to cut carbon dioxide emissions by power plants. And the energy policy he unveiled on gaining office eased curbs on drilling for oil and gas on public lands.

“By marketplace standards, the house is startlingly small,” says David Heymann, the architect of the 4,000-square-foot home. “Clients of similar ilk are building 16-to-20,000-square-foot houses.”

The narrow porch stretches across the back and ends of the house. At one end, it widens into a covered patio off the living room.

The Bush ranch is the kind of place we’d all like to live. Too bad his environmental policies are moving the rest of the country in exactly the opposite direction.

The Bush administration’s 63-member energy advisory team has 62 members with ties to oil, nuclear, or coal interests. His national energy policy places nuclear power, increased oil and natural gas drilling, and “clean coal” as its cornerstone. The Bush budget takes a definitive step away from developing renewable energy resources.

According to the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Americans distrust Bush’s “muscular energy” environmental agenda. In May 2006, 22 religious leaders were arrested at the Department of Energy protesting Bush’s plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Bush purchased the former Engelbrecht ranch while he was a candidate for the presidency, and Engelbrecht’s cattle continue to graze on the property. It is now worth about $3.5m, including the various government outbuildings and security measures. George W. says “the property is only good for grazing, and it’s pretty thin at that,”

The one-story, eight-room, ground-level house runs east and west. There are no stairs, even at entrances. There are no thresholds. For the most part, the house is one room wide, making for easy ventilation. The porch is the usual route from one room to another. A few rooms have interior doors.

“Every room has a relationship with something in the landscape that’s different from the room next door,” Heymann says. “Each of the rooms feels like a slightly different place.” In the guest bathroom, for example, when you look up from the sink, you look out on an oak tree rather than into a mirror, which is on a side wall.

“There’s a great grove of oak trees to the west that protects it from the late afternoon sun,” Heymann says. “Then there is a view out to the north looking at hills, and to the east out over a lake, and the view to the south running out to beautiful hills.”

Heymann says most of the rooms are relatively small and have high ceilings

The living-family room and the kitchen-dining room in the east end of the house are large, laid out for frequent entertaining and family gatherings. The living room has a series of glass picture doors.

The tin roof of the house extends beyond the porch. When it rains, it’s possible to sit on the patio and watch the water pour down without getting wet. Under a gravel border around the house, a concrete gutter channels the water into a 25,000-gallon cistern for irrigation. In hot weather, a terrace directly above the cistern is a little cooler than the surrounding area.

Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into purifying tanks underground — one tank for water from showers and bathroom sinks, which is so-called “gray water,” and one tank for “black water” from the kitchen sink and toilets. The purified water is funneled to the cistern with the rainwater. It is used to irrigate flower gardens, newly planted trees and a larger flower and herb garden behind the two-bedroom guesthouse. Water for the house comes from a well.

The Bushes installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which uses about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and air-conditioning systems consume. Several holes were drilled 300 feet deep, where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees. Pipes connected to a heat pump inside the house circulate water into the ground, then back up and through the house, heating it in winter and cooling it in summer. The water for the outdoor pool is heated with the same system, which proved so efficient that initial plans to install solar energy panels were cancelled.

The features are environment-friendly, but the reason for them was practical — to save money and to save water, which is scarce in this dry, hot part of Texas.

Heymann argued that a swimming pool would interrupt the stark landscape. After all, the house is meant to be an integral part of the land. But the twins wanted a swimming pool. “I kept fighting that, but it happened,” he says, acknowledging that his wishes didn’t stand a chance. President Bush calls it “the whining pool” — whine long enough and you get it.
.
The materials used to build the house were relatively inexpensive. Factory-built roof trusses were shipped in and nailed into place. Most of the floors are concrete. The white roof is galvanized tin.
The walls are built from discards of a local stone called Leuders limestone, which is quarried in the area. The 12-to-18-inch-thick stone has a mix of colors on the top and bottom, with a cream- colored center that most people want.

“They cut the top and bottom of it off because nobody really wants it,” Heymann says. “So we bought all this throwaway stone. It’s fabulous. It’s got great color and it is relatively inexpensive.”
“We’ve got a lot of economies in the house,” he says, noting the Bushes may be wealthy, but they are “frugal people.”

At the end of their driveway is an huge metal security barrier that recedes into the ground when a car is admitted. Secret Service agents have an air-conditioned trailer where the mailbox might otherwise be, and the government built a small house where agents sleep.

in 1999 Crawford was, as it is now, a one-stoplight town with about 700 hardy souls. But after Bush was elected president in 2000, Crawford saw its tourism numbers skyrocket. Lately, though, visitors are more likely to be protesters than tourists, and protesters don’t usually buy trinkets and t-shirts celebrating “The Western White House.” [/quote]

http://www.off-grid.net/index.php?p=680
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 20, 2007
10:49 AM

Post #3301414

I'm no fan of GW's politics, believe me, but putting politics aside its clear that Bush "gets it" on a personal level and Gore does not. Its about using sustainable technology yourself, making good decisions, saving energy, money, setting an example, AND improving your lifestyle. Gore thinks its about throwing money at a issue. The idea that money solves everything is exactly what got us in trouble in the first place.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 20, 2007
11:09 AM

Post #3301455

I suggest we steer away from commenting on individual politicians, etc. That's getting way too close to the Forbidden Zone.
spot8907
Ida, MI

March 20, 2007
11:17 AM

Post #3301477

Is that like the twilight zone? LOL Point taken Victor.
Dyson
Rocky Mount, VA
(Zone 7a)

March 21, 2007
7:11 PM

Post #3306515

darius - after looking at the latest DG daily news, (we are in third place for the most views) I realized that the number one spot (by more than double) was held by the "games" forum. So we need to devise a game that can be linked to from there. Once it is there, those that come will see the wisdom that abounds

.I have written games for the puter but it been many years. Maybe something like - http://www.energyhog.org/

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

March 21, 2007
7:12 PM

Post #3306521

Good thought, Dyson.
Trish
Jacksonville, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 21, 2007
8:00 PM

Post #3306636

I also suggest that we not discuss politics. Ya'll know better...
threegardeners
North Augusta, ON

March 21, 2007
8:09 PM

Post #3306659

I do not understand the obsession with forum ranking...this is an active forum with tons of good information. We win no prizes for being first in the forum rankings. Games, if you notice has more postings because of the daily word games...a few people posting a hundred times a day...I think we should focus more on decent information and the people will come...if not to post, then to lurk, which is fine too because if they are reading, they are learning...

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
8:43 PM

Post #3306792

Yes - we don't want to be GREEN with forum envy!
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2007
9:13 PM

Post #3306942

I just tuned into this thread. I really appreciate victorgardener's comments. I posted for a while on the SOE [Sustaining Our Environment] on GW. In my opinion the SOE was mainly ruled by a small cadre of heavy hitters who made me feel second class as a person/poster because I am not a gung ho organic gardener nor liberal in some political ways.

I am probably a fairly light tredder on the environment in many ways. I do have a total electric house that uses more kws in winter than I like.

So I agree...lets keep it from morphing into rants. Surely Dave, Trish, and Terry will do that here!!
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 21, 2007
9:21 PM

Post #3306963

Well, Indy, face it, if you're not composting yer own manure, you're really not anybody.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
9:24 PM

Post #3306975

There are many people I have wanted to leave my humanure with over the years.
Hineni
Paris, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
9:41 PM

Post #3307025

Hi all,

I didn't even know this forum was here, and saw it pop up in the "Recent Posts" area and I was very excited! I don't get as much time on the computer as I did in the winter, but this is all right up our alley. We're planning our sustainable, off-grid exit from consumerism over the next 3 years. Right now we're just mainly organic growing, recycling, no chemicals type people trying to learn more about what NOT to do as much as learning what and how TO do to lessen our impact and live more in harmony with the planet.

Nice to 'meet' you all, and I hope I'll get to know more about the forum and the people here.

p.s. Hippie, flowerchild, eco-friendly, tree-hugger, green, etc. - none of them offend me :) So name it what you want to, just make sure you let me know what the new name is if it changes so I don't lose track of the forum!!

~Sunny

Thumbnail by Hineni
Click the image for an enlarged view.

summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 21, 2007
9:42 PM

Post #3307029

How nice to have a "Sunny" posting in this forum now.

Just liking the sound of that.
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2007
9:45 PM

Post #3307036

Well, lets face it summerkid...I may opt out to be a nobody here then ha

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
9:46 PM

Post #3307042

Welcome Sunny. I agree with summerkid - great name to have on this forum. Especially for me, who is about to 'go solar' if this dang weather would heat up and stay there! How do you plan to get off the grid?
summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

March 21, 2007
9:51 PM

Post #3307055

I want to encourage people to start a "personal" thread to document any projects they may be considering. Photos especially. While it may seem narcissistic, it's really not. I avidly follow many people's sagas here.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
9:58 PM

Post #3307074

I have already stated that I would do so when my solar project gets going. As for my humanure...
Hineni
Paris, TN
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
10:22 PM

Post #3307156

Thanks for the warm welcome :) Victor, we aren't sure yet how to go off-grid. We want to move further north on a large property, looking for something with water present and primarily wooded with some cleared land for gardening and small stock. I'm pretty much sold on the outdoor wood furnace that burns wood/pellets/corn (can't remember the brand right now and my 'homesteading' notebook isn't handy) I'm all for solar, but every option we've looked at would far exceed our beginning budget, unless we win the lottery or something. Until I know where we will be buying property, I can't research what alternative energy options might be eligible for tax exemptions or whatnot.

We're really just in the 'oh-my-goodness-when-can-we-move' stage; we've started reading and planning, greening our own current lifestyle in the rental we are in for the interim. I'm about 2 years ahead of DH on the greening - he just recently got bit by the bug when I started sharing some of my magazines and showing him news articles about food sustainability, seed monopolies and the like. We're both pretty much city-raised, although I cut my teeth on an all-organic, home-made lifestyle from my parents, who were part of the late 60's natural food movement, so I've got a bit more of the background than he does (as in, I have actually collected a chicken's egg and milked a cow, although it was years and years ago).

So we're just planning and dreaming, and saving our pennies to make it a reality. We're at least 2 years, if not 3, out from actually gettin our own property - unless we find a deal we can't pass up or again, refer to said lottery :)

I look forward to your solar project - and even the humanure as long as there are no photos...hahaha!

~Sunny

Thumbnail by Hineni
Click the image for an enlarged view.

victorgardener

victorgardener
Lower Hudson Valley, NY
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2007
10:25 PM

Post #3307173

Thank you and good luck with your plans. Hope you share them with us as they evolve.
Indy
Alexandria, IN
(Zone 6a)

March 21, 2007
10:43 PM

Post #3307227

Also, happy birthday, Sunny.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 21, 2007
11:51 PM

Post #3307401

Indy, there's just no way you could ever be a nobody!
Don't let the kid pull your leg.
:D
PrairieGirlZ5
Thornton, IL

March 22, 2007
12:35 AM

Post #3307487

Have to admit, I skipped down here after just the first few posts, but I wanted to say *hello* to friends old and new I *found* here tonight, spread the word and They Will Come.

I like the name of the forum, maybe I'm a hippie? just a little bit, or my parents were, LOL.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

March 22, 2007
12:39 AM

Post #3307497

Ah shucks Trish...we weren't really discussin' politics. We were just havin' a neighborly chat about how some folks wire up their homes to help each other understand. :-}

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