Hating on Enviromentalism

I don’t get it. How can you call caring about the environment “earth-worshipping manure”? Or liberal happycrap?

Do you have to be a liberal to care about the earth or eat local foods that taste great and don’t have chemicals? I mean I fully believe in the death penalty. Hell, I believe in an-eye-for-an-eye. I think welfare is for lazy people looking for handouts and women who aren’t smart enough to understand the concept of birth control.

But really, your saying green is about the liberals and therefore you don’t support it. Do you go to the beach? Ever been there when your three year old got her foot cut on an aluminum can? Really is it that hard to recycle it or just throw it away. Or ever been to a national park where someone just enjoyed a cookout and left all their trash behind? Looks nice don’t you think. Or you think this is about energy because it is so plentiful. Right, cause you aren’t faced with rising energy bills and are 100% for leaving you lights on and blasting your A/C when you are at work because you want to stick it to the liberal man. Ooooh….you showed him and your checking account what burning through an extra 25okWh can do.

My annoyance comes from my recent run ins with random comments and rantings on articles I have read. And honestly I am so tired of this blinders on mentality that the following comments ignited my fury.

ttt4 My nine year old daughter is a girl scout (brownie, actually) and I have to routinely offer an alternative perspective to the ‘mother earth’ environmentalist hogwash that emanates from the scouts these days. We sold hundreds of boxes of overpriced cookies for these guys and for that I get this tree-hugging nonsense. Look, I can believe in some basic concepts of voluntary recycling, but this earth-worshiping manure that is slowly overtaking many of our classic American institutions drives me up the wall.

From Well Meaning Gentleman “But is there really a problem anyway? I am not an expert or a physicist BUT, in my recollection of some elementary physical science concepts from my school days (I was listening; we didn’t have text messaging back then), ENERGY CANNOT BE DESTROYED, DIMINISHED OR DEPLEATED, it can only change in form. It seems to me that all this extreme, fear mongering, tree-hugging, earth worshipping, hand-wringing, industry hating, bottled water drinking, global greening, sterilized liberal happycrap is nothing more than a rebellion against the Sovereign God who has created this world for our use and dominion and who will sustain it until He has accomplished His purpose in it.”
Climate Change Fraud — What hippies, the WWF and now the US Government forget is that polar bears managed to survive despite the cold and ice, not because of it.  Slightly more pleasant weather will probably see an increase in the number of deadly white killing machines, not their extinction.
We have one planet and it is ours to do with what we want. This isn’t a partisan movement it’s our WORLD.  And only human beings could so thoroughly thrash a place in such a short time. For those of us who do in fact care about our sliver of the earth, I applaud you for doing what you can and fighting what seems at times a losing battle. For those of you who don’t care, don’t come crying to us when it finally hits you close to home.
Kimberly Lancaster | Twitter

Skip a flush or change your system!

Skipping a flush just doesn’t seem right, it’s a personal thing for me but I can’t see it being sanitary.  There are so many way’s to go green and to help you save money and in return are also helping the environment.  Putting low flow water heads throughout your home is a huge step.  Putting in a waterless urinal in my bathroom doesn’t really seem like an option so many greenies have suggested to opt on flushing when not truly necessary. 

The average toilet uses between 1.5 gallons and 7 gallons with each flush.  This is an overuse of water in most cases.  Water is one of the biggest green issues, the earth only has so much water, and so much of it is carelessly being used up and polluted.  There are many way’s to make sure your toilet is saving you as much water and money as possible.  The first thing to do is make sure your toilet is running efficiently

Installing a dual flush system is a great choice for those who are concerned about overuse of water.  The system allows two flushing options one with little water for liquid and a little more water for those that need an extra push.  A dual flush system is available for most toilets and for those who are renovating and replacing their existing toilet can purchase a new toilet with it already built in.  Most major toilet manufacturers carry at least one and many people are opting for his option when remodeling.

Saving money and saving water are the two best reasons to switch the way your toilet works now.  Before ordering dual flush, make sure your toilet is compatible.  Studies have shown that toilets that have been replaced with a dual flush toilet have saved almost 17,000 gallons of water a year. 

Posted by Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

Wallpaper is made from paper?

Wallpaper is slowly creeping its way back into the design word.   Although wallpaper is every new home buyer’s nightmare it can be a great fix to cover some poorly plastered walls.  Many designers are looking at Wallpaper to make a statement not just as wall covering, many are using it just on one wall, as an intense and huge piece of wall art.  What was once a bad decision made by our mothers is now becoming a well recognized way of making a statement in any room of your house.

Luckily now we are left with many more options than what our mothers lived with for so long.  Say goodbye to stripes, flowers and borders and hello to texture and vibrant colors.  Patterns with a modern twist, as well as wallpaper made out of paper!  Confused? Well most wallpaper is made from vinyl which we all know isn’t paper at all so why didn’t the manufacturers call is Wall-vinyl?  Vinyl takes up a lot of space in your local landfill where now we have the option to buy eco-friendly wall paper made out of, you guessed it, paper!  This makes the disposing of the paper recyclable friendly and if tossed in the trash has a shorter life in the landfill than its harmful vinyl counterpart.

With green becoming the new black, eco-wallpaper is a lot easier to find as well as less expensive than it used to be.  Eco-friendly wallpaper is better for the environment, but it also carries with it many health benefits opposed to using vinyl wallpaper.  The eco-friendly wallpaper breathes easier than vinyl.  This will help with the paper from trapping moisture, especially if used in bathrooms.  This will hopefully eliminate or if not reduce the ability of mold to growing behind your walls.

Posted by: Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

Bottled water is becoming obsolete

Bottled water is getting banned.  San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom has stopped the city government from using money to supply municipal workers with bottled water.  New York City launched a champagne ad to encourage residents and tourists to stop using bottled water and drink the tap water.  New York has been considered one of the best water in the country.  Boston and San Francisco have also taken bottled water off many of their menus and replaced it with filtered tap water instead.

The reason for all of this change is the fact that 11 billion dollars is spent each year on bottled water, resulting in 22 million empty plastic water bottles in the trash.  Bottled water doesn’t only take up a huge amount of space in the local landfill but it also costs a thousand times more than faucet water.  It also is no safer or cleaner than tap water and in some cases may even be more harmful!

Tap water goes through extensive testing more often than bottled water which is usually only tested annually.  Besides the water itself it is the pretty packaging that may be the most harmful to your health.  Many people want a bang for their buck and might refill their plastic bottle with the filtered water from their home or office.  This could be problematic.

The plastic is safe if used once, using it multiple times can leach chemicals such as DEHA, a potential hormone disrupter.  The plastic is also porous and you most likely will get harmful bacteria with each sip if you reuse #1 plastic bottle.

There are so many alternatives that are available now instead of the more common plastic bottle.  I myself carry one designed by Nathan, many sporting goods stores carry an array of different colors and sizes, catering to male and female as well as children and adults.  It is a wise decision to make for yourself as well as the environment.  It will save you money and room in your trash can!

Posted By: Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

A green resolution for 2010

For the past few years I have not had your typical resolution on New Years, instead I have decided on picking one way to go green and switch to it, permanently .  I find that the peer pressure involved with my going green New Year’s resolution is much harder than the resolution itself.   

Last year on January 1st 2009 I made it a point to use strictly cloth napkins when in my home.  I had to modify it to my home because it was going a bit far to be a guest at someone’s house and demand a linen napkin. 

I did my best and have to say that 8 out of 10 times I would use a cloth napkin and even get my fiancé who rarely uses napkins as it is, to join me.  He sometimes would get annoyed with this but for the ladder part of the year has stopped complaining and jumped on the bandwagon realizing that complying is much easier than having an entire conversation about why I am forcing him to do this. 

I have been thinking a lot lately about this year’s green resolution and besides my bizarre issue of recycling used foil, I think I am as green as I can get.  Now that I am a homeowner with my very own backyard, I have decided this year to invest in a clothes line.  I am hoping to dry all of my laundry if not at least 50% of it via clothesline this spring and summer! 

I have compiled a small list for those of you who need some ideas for having a greener resolution this year!

  • Wash all your laundry in cold water.
  • Switch to cloth napkins.
  • Walk instead of drive.
  • Invest in a clothes line.
  • Set your thermostat 3 degrees lower than you usually do.
  • Shut your lights off as you leave a room.
  • Install sensor lights outside.
  • Unplug all unnecessary electrical items (lamps, coffee pot ect.)

I hope you all have a truly GREEN New Year!

Posted by: Kate Kiselka, Follow me on Twitter

LEED for Homes Point by Point – Awareness and Education

Awareness and Education – 2 points achieved out of 3 points available::

So if you’ve been following our project then you know what we’ve done for both education and awareness. But we did go through extensive trainings with each of our key subcontractors like Newport Geothermal for our HVAC system and Robert Saglio Audio Video for our home, lighting, entertainment, irrigation and energy systems. I spent hours with John Carter understanding what it would take to keep our lawn healthy by minimizing water, eliminating chemicals and using organic fertilizers and treatments.

Our homeowners manual is more than 6” thick and covers every system and subsystem in our house, outlines the warranties and maintenance programs and lets us know who to call for help.

Our public awareness, well, you be the judge. We have blogged about the project or a topic relating to green building every single day since October 2008. We have had more than 60,000 people to our blog during that time and even earned an AllTop rating for best green blogs. We’ve been covered in local, regional and national media. We’ve always had signage on the home, and on December 12th we hosted our fourth and final open house on the project.

With a final rating of LEED-H GOLD, with a score of 92.5, I am proud of what we accomplished. I hope you enjoyed our project as much as we did and know that our goal now is to follow and find other projects, cover other case studies and help homeowners find the best products for their project. Feel free to submit your ideas!

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

LEED for Homes Point by Point – Energy & Atmosphere

Energy and Atmosphere: 21.5 points achieved out of 36 points available::

The overall goal of EA is to optimize energy performance of the building. We opted to follow the performance path which meant our world be rated according to the ENERGY STAR for home standards (the document can be found here). ENERGY STAR was simply the pre-requisite which everyone in LEED-H is required to meet; your points only begin to accumulate for exceptional energy performance. HERS stands for Home Energy Rating Standard and is based on a performance scale of 100. Based on a 100 point scale which is an average home, a home achieving HERS 85 is 15% more efficient. If you are familiar to the term NET ZERO, it is a similar scale, where NET ZERO means the home consumes zero percent more energy than it produces annually.

In our case, our preliminary HERS rating based on our building envelope leakage rate of less than 4%, our windows, our solar gain, our roof’s solar reflective index (SRI), our sprayfoam insulation, our geothermal HVAC system, and all of the design elements placed us at a HERS of 58, making our home 42% more efficient than an average home. This achieved us 19.5 points under EA 1. In addition we achieved 2 points for the efficient design of our hot water system which included compact plumbing runs achieved thorugh back-to-back bathrooms and a superheater added to our hot water tanks.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster