What’s your impact?

So, in my never-ending quest to save the world, or at least improve my little corner of it, I was looking up environmentally friendly building materials to use when we remodel the kitchen (and I’m kind of digging the look of recycled metal counter tops by the way).

Unfortunately, Wisconsin doesn’t seem to have as good of access to these cool green products as those on the East and West coasts. After all, can I really justify buying a recycled counter if I know how much fuel it took to ship it to me from Oregon? Yes, I know that the whole green movement is just starting- and eventually my area will catch up, but it’s still frustrating. The ReStore I’ve blogged about before is a good start, but we need more! More choices! At least more than what Home Depot or Lowe’s has been willing to offer us. Maybe I’m a bit naive, but I think a lot of personal home renovators in my area would choose the more environmentally friendly products if they had access to them- even if they cost more. I know I would. I guess selection is just hard to come by if you don’t live in a big city (or maybe I’m just not looking in the right spot!!!). Until the movement comes my way, I guess I’ll just have to make due on compact fluorescents, and buying sustainable products.

On a separate but related note, I also came across a pretty cool Living Impact Calculator (an email address is not needed, though it prompts for one). It’s a bit broad in how it calculated our output/results as our house is smaller than what it prompted, but it offered a ton of ideas on how to improve our energy efficiency, and the annual cost of savings we’d see by implementing the changes. Some of things suggested we’ve done: install a high efficiency furnace, install a low flow toilet, landscaping with climate-appropriate plants, reusing shopping bags- and to date, it looks like we’ve saved about $400. Pretty good!

And, a few of the suggestions for improvement are also on our to-do list: Install skylights, insulate the attic, start a compost, buy a hybrid (hint, hint, M). I’m not sure how I feel about buying carbon offset credits, or buying a gray water recycling system, but M is totally excited about retro-fitting our electrical system to use solar power. He keeps saying how neat it’ll be to see the electric meter run backwards in the summer…And, really, how can you argue with that?

I also wanted to recognize that today is also the official Blog Action Day. The hope is that if bloggers around the world all blog on the same day, about the same subject (specifically the environment), maybe some good will come of it. Here’s hoping!

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Categories: garden, renovation | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “What’s your impact?

  1. Great blog…love the topic! I started a green building supply company near Milwaukee WI about 10 years ago. You are right, Wisconsin is not on the map, environmentally speaking. However, there are several good signs of this changing in a big way in the next few months. Please check out our website to read up on what’s happening, including our Degree of Green rating system. BTW, we sell those ELEEK aluminum tiles you mention!

  2. Some of the paper alternatives (PaperStone) are not as expensive (on the environment – maybe they have distribution in your area) to transport from a countertop perspective, and you probably have some concrete options locally. Probably the closest Glass/resin/cement would be in Colorado?? Anyway there are several other types. I found some good reads at http://www.getwithgreen.com

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