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. 🙂


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!

Go Green Chicago on Ning

June 16, 2008

I created a social network yesterday on Ning entitled Go Green Chicago.  It is meant to be a place where eco-friendly folks could share information, events, etc.  So far Tony is my only member, but hopefully it will catch on. At the very least, it will give me a place to post events and listings of eco stories in Chicago. ~ a green social networking site

June 1, 2008 is “dedicated to spreading the environmental movement in a fun, non-political and non-judgmental forum. aims to make green more accessible and appealing to all.”

After picking up some info about at the most recent Chicago Green Festival, I decided to give them a little looksee.  So far, seems like a good site.  In particular, check out their GreeniacsGuides, how to guides that will help you live in a more environmentally friendly way. Although I did not register, if you do register you can get some benefits, including exclusive access to GreeniacsRadio. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Better cleaners

May 18, 2008

You have probably heard that there are better, safer ways to clean your home.  In fact, many years ago, there weren’t nearly as many cleaners as clog of the grocery store aisles today.  Back then, homemakers cleaned their homes with good old elbow grease, with maybe some vinegar thrown in for good measure.  Although many big companies have gotten on the greener cleaner bandwagon in recent years, and that is great, some of those products are expensive.  If you are looking for a simpler (and maybe less expensive) way to clean your home, check out Care2’s Healthy and Green Living page.

Home Depot’s Eco-Options stamp

May 16, 2008

We tend to favor Menards as a place to purchase home improvement materials, but something I just learned about might make me change my mind.  There are 3,000 or so products that Home Depot has added an Eco-Options stamp to those products that are a little more friendly to the Earth.  While I had to hunt for a bit on their webpage, here is information about Eco-Options.  You’ll find information about how to conduct a home efficiency audit, answers to questions about how to green your home, and even look at a virtual “green” house for ideas.  Pretty nifty!