Green Roofs in Chicago

August 9, 2008

Did you know that many of the roofs of Chicago’s buildings have garden areas on them?  I know, amazing, right?  If you would like a map, you can check out this link.  Most of the roofs are private (makes sense) but I did find at least one school that had a public roof.  Now, I’m not sure how you would go about getting access to the roof, but still, a neat concept.  I think the general public can create a green roof themselves, because there is a getting started guide on the website.  It would make sense, as the site suggests, that it is best to create a green roof when you need to put a new roof on anyway. You can read about the many benefits (including lowering your heating and air condition bills) on the site as well.  If you have a green roof, or are planning on creating one, please comment!  And have a nice day. 🙂


Al Gore’s energy speech

July 18, 2008

I just read a great speech by Al Gore.

He is calling for the United States to “… commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.” What a good idea.  He has a link in this article to a website where if you are interested you can join in the campaign.  Personally, I think doing whatever we can to become energy independent is a good thing.

More white-belt energy saving tips

July 2, 2008

Continuing from the list of the other day, here are a few more “white-belt” energy saving tips that we can all strive to implement.

take mass transit – Tony takes the bus to the Cubs, does that count?
ride your bike – need to work on that
Carpool / drive 55 – um, no and no – but I try to drive 60 so that helps some
walk to the store – um, no again, but that is doable in some cases
set your fridge to 37/freezer to 5 and keep it full – not sure how to do that, but we’ll look into it.
turn off the dry cycle on dishwater – check
unplug “energy vampires” like chargers when not in use or on vacation – check, chargers for sure!

So, how did you do with these tips?  Look for the yellow belt, or “some assembly required” tips in a few days. Have a good day!

White Belt Energy-saving tips

June 29, 2008

I read an article in the Mother Jones magazine the other day about “the green-belt movement”. Essentially, the article goes through the different green tips a person can follow to improve their lives and compares them to the different belts in martial arts. Here are a few from the white belt list…more to come.

white belt

switch to CFL bulbs – check, although I’m not sure if we’ve switched *all* the lights over
turn off lights when leaving the room – umm, well I just read CFLs last longer if not turned on/off so much
thermostat at 68 degrees in winter, 78 in summer – check! and we’ve not used the AC much recently!
turn down water heater to 120 degrees – to do list
wash clothes in cold water – check
line dry them – not yet, maybe someday
use recyclable batteries – check! have multiple sets for camera, portable laptop, synthesizer, etc.
recycle – check, to the extent we can in Chicago…and bring papers to church
Compost – check, though time will tell (end of fall) if we actually get *usable* compost

Whew! That’s some list, and the white-belt is the first belt to attain. How did you do? We did pretty well, but I did add a few things to our To Do List. Look for more white-belt tips in a few days, then on to the other colors!

Green the Capitol program

May 5, 2008

An article in Plenty Magazine discusses how the folks in the United States House of Representatives are looking for ways to green things up a bit.  I think that is a worthwhile thing.  In the end, their efforts will probably pay off in terms of cost savings.

Lights Out!

April 3, 2008

So, how did everyone do the other night with the Earth Hour Challenge?  I would have to say that we did only so-so.  We were completely planning to be in the dark from 8-9 pm Chicago time, but did not return from dinner out until about 8:30. Oops! Then, we decided it would be neat to walk around the neighborhood to see if anyone else was doing it.  That was kind of hard to tell.  Who knew if the people were out, or if they were participating in the lights out challenge?  Then, we went back home and spent a few minutes listing the ways we love each other. Awwww! Anyway, I think that there were a fair amount of businesses in Chicago that participated, given the article and picture in the Chicago Tribune the next day (see above).

What I do find interesting, is the number of comments that I read from people saying that this was a scam, and useless, etc.  Why do people do that? How can saving a little energy be bad? I read comments from a few people who said that they were not only not going to turn off lights, they were going to turn on more lights, and crank up the air conditioning.  I just don’t get those people.  I hope they were just spouting off and didn’t actually do that.

Well, if everybody would just try to conserve energy a bit each day, maybe we’ll have enough to last our lifetimes.  That, and finding new sources of renewable energy, like solar, wind, and water turbines.

Earth Hour

March 28, 2008

Tomorrow, March 29, there will be a voluntary turning off of lights all around the world for one hour.  Will you participate?  Read more about the event on the Cheap Like Me blog. It’s simple. Just turn off your lights  from 8pm -9pm, your local time. I’ve signed Tony and I up to do this. Please comment if you plan to do it, as well!