Home Entertainment’s Take on the Green Life Project

Read more: http://www.hemagazine.com/Green_Living_Smart_Living#ixzz0aSCNvSPt

Blue is the New Green: Water Conservation in a LEED Home, Part 2 Outside

Continuing my post from yesterday, we put together a very agressive exterior water collection and conservation plan in an effort to conserve what we consider a very precious and diminishing resource.

6. Landscape Irrigation: Our irrigation was designed from the ground up according to the specifications of the LEED-H program. From determining how much grass we would have in relation to our overall permeability to specifying a custom local URI blended grass that is both drought and disease tolerant to designing beds that have grouped native, drought tolerant plants, trees and bushes, we have been working on this landscaping plan for nearly a year. The irrigation system is critical in the overall success of the design because we still want use as little water as possible. Right now, we think we have absolutely maximized what we can do here. From measuring our evapotranspiration rate  to measuring how much water we are using in our control system, we left nothing out. With measure nozzles and heads for accurate spray, rain sensors, and even humidity sensors, our irrigation system is a complex tool deigned to work with our land.  Our system is not even connected to the municipal water supply. We achieved such as high GPM water flow from our geothermal well, that our system is designed to call to the well for water when we haven’t collected enough water in our rainwater harvesting system. All our water is our own, that which we take out, filter and put back just keeps circulating from our well for the ultimate in blue…I mean green building.

7. Rainwater Harvesting: As mentioned, our rainwater harvesting system collects the rain from more than 80% of our roof and disperses it through an interconnected gutter system that directs all of the water to our 5000 gallon underground storage tank. We collect more than 3500 gallons from a 1 inch rainfall and here the water sits until we need to irrigate our grass, plantings or even our garden. Fitted with two floats that measure how much water is in the tank and one communication device that calls to the well when water is needed, the system, works in

8. Outdoor shower: We live by the beach and I love the days we spend sitting in the sun, riding the waves and building sandcastle-like structures. But I’m a sand-a-phobic. After living the past five years without an outdoor shower, it’s like the dark ages for me. Sand belongs outside, not tracked in to multiply on the floor, clog our indoor showers and then ultimately find its way into our beds.  My plan?  A hot/cold outdoor shower for everyone to get clean before coming in. Brilliant! Using a 1.75 gpm Kohler showerhead attached to removable outdoor shower system that is filtered and sent to our collection well for distribution into our grass and beds, it’s just another way for our family to conserved and reuse the water we use.

I realize that our approach to water conservation was aggressive. I would not expect most families to unilaterally attack each section in order to conserve water. But, everyone can do something. You can easily add an aerator to existing faucets at a cost of about $1.59 each. You can upgrade an old 2.2 gpf toilet that is leaking and past its day to a 1.28 or even 1.1 gpf toilet for a cost of approximately $550 – $750 per toilet. Rainwater harvesting system installation? All told based on size, you’re looking at about $12k for the gutters, tank, excavation, piping, communicating devices and landscaping. The irrigation system for an acre of land will run you another $10k.

 posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter :  newscaster

Get the Greenest lawn in the Neighborhood

solar-powered_lawnmower

Husqvarna's Solar Powered Lawn Mower

Time to buy a new lawn mower? How about trying out a hybrid mower? Or even better and electric or battery operated one? Maybe Dad needs one, it would be a great belated fathers day gift. I got my weekly email from MNN and they have the inside scoop on some possible future lawn mower tax breaks. If you can hold out on buying one, you may get 25% back on your taxes if you purchase a low or no emissions lawn mower. Its all a part of the Greener Gardens Act put together by three congressional delegates from Vermont.
googlegoatsOr you can do one better and hire goats like Google. Yep, Google doesn’t pay landscapers to trim their grass, they rent goats from California Grazingto come in and have a little snack at their Mountain View Headquarters. It takes 200 goats, one border collie named Jen and one week to finish the job, but the benefits out weigh how long it takes; The goats fertilize as well as “mow”, they are quoted as being “much cuter to watch” than landscapers and lawnmowers, its GREAT for the environment and it costs the same if not less to rent goats instead of hiring a lawn mower.
And don’t forget, if you need to fertilize your lawn don’t go out and buy expensive chemicals to sprinkle all over your yard, start your own compost pile and make your own super healthy soil to feed your grass.
Cheers to keeping lawns super green!

Posted by: Ashley (intern)

URI teaches the basics: REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE

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Are you a master composter and recycler? Would you like to be? Well if youre a Rhode Islander you should check out URI’s Master Composter and Recycler Program. It not only teaches you how to compost and recycle in RI, but also the ins and outs of Rhode Islands trash systems. The class takes place in a green house at Roger Williams Park, and includes 30 hours of Volunteer work and field trips to landfills, and the Earth Care Farm in Charlestown. The basic goal of the class is to teach you the many ways to reduce what is making it into the landfill. This class is perfect for those of you who, like myself, want to recycle and compost but dont quite have the hang of it or arent sure where to start. I talked with a super cool dude and Master Composter and Recycler student, Mr. Robert Redinger, about his experience with the class and I found what he said about the trip to Earth Care Farms to be especially interesting…

 “The trip to Earth Care farm was fascinating and Mike, the owner was very happy to teach, show and explain to the class.  All of the zoo waste along with local landscapers waste is taken, then a couple times a week, all of the fish waste and clam waste from Point Judith is shipped to the farm and buried for compost.  Every three weeks the pile is turned in on itself and the pile reaches 160 degrees and kills all seeds, weeds, and almost anything other than micro-organisms.  Eventually after 6 months or so, the compost can be screened and sold to the public and to landscapers at $60 and cubic yard.  Katherine Hepburn bought some and the owner had just shipped 3 semi trucks full to NY.  All of the organic stuff can be turned into fine fertile compost, mixed with our poor RI soil and we can all have lush lawns and gardens, healthy plants without chemicals, and we can all reduce the waste stream. “

That’s just from one farm, composting at home is alot less effort that composting on a farm. Imagine if we all did this kind of thing in our own yards? No more money on fertilizers, beatiful lawns, no chemicals, less trash in the landfill, and no more guessing what to toss in the recycling… its WIN WIN people!! Click to check out more about the class, Earth Care Farms, and the landfill. Thanks for the heads up Rob!

Posted by: Ashley (intern)

Green Depot

I just found a blog post on inhabitat.com about Green Depot opening a new store in New York and I’m wondering, when do we get one? This place looks pretty awesome, I poked around the website and now Iwant to completely renovate my living room. The site divvies up its products between commercial and residential and they have everything you might need for fixing up around the house, or starting from scratch. Carpeting, wall paints, heating/cooling, lawn/garden, lighting, wood, cleaning, flooring, the list goes on. When you check out a product there is a brief listing as to why its green, so you’re background check is a little bit easier and they also give a little blurb about the company that makes the product as well as the products uses. Green Depot was founded by Sarah Beatty in 2005 and Carmen Arguelles hopped on to help in 2006. They have stores in Boston, Brooklyn, Greenport, Newark and Philiadelphia, but none in Rhode Island! Hopefully they’re working on that…

Published by: Ashley (intern)

Day 1: Green Excavation

Today marks the end of Day 1 of the Green Life | Smart Life project ground break. It seems a little crazy that this day has been over two years of planning, designing, sketching, researching, re designing, re planning and so on.  We had a couple of snags. We lost one tree that we were hoping we were going to nurture back to health but its interference with the electrical lines, entanglement of vines and decaying branches forced us to cut it back. We’re going to use it for mulching our trees at another property to help the roots through an expected cold RI winter and some friends are taking some of the bigger pieces of wood. I had to bring my kids to the project with me today. I had to meet the landscape architect, John Carter (who just finished the landscape design for the only LEED certified house in RI) to run through the height for the top of foundation. We were just finishing up today (and again really today is the end of the first day) and John and I round one of the dirt mounds and my 5 year old daughter pops out from behind the tree to proclaim there was a really large poop on the lawn. As a mom, my quick answer was to stay away and we’d clean it up when she started apologizing that she had to go so bad and couldn’t hold it. I wanted to die. I was mortified. John quickly said he’d see me at the lot on Tuesday as I scooted my child into the car, grabbed a bag and scooped up her deposit. And all I could think was, it’s the first day, this is so NOT green!

Posted by: KDL