Living Green in the New year

Happy New Year, dear friends and thank you for enjoying my newsletter over the past year. It has been great to hear your feedback about my articles, thank you for that too. I have written about many topics, some not having to do with Green building but Green living. I believe these 2 go hand in hand.

It is great to see what is currently happening with people “Living Green”. Green is everywhere; it is the “in” thing. This is good, even if for some it is just a fad. You see it everywhere, more organic choices in more grocery stores, more awareness and knowledge about alternative treatments for what ails you, and more ways to recycle and buy recycled products. For example, not only are organic food choices good for your body, they are also good for our ground water because fewer chemicals are being used on our crops. And it is good for industry; it has non organic growers and producers wondering “Hmmm…how can I get in on this?”. Creating Green living practices for yourself and setting an example for others puts more demand on the supply of natural and organic products.

For some of us, the beginning of living Green was recycling, some were interested in building their home Green and others wanted to provide a more natural lifestyle for their families. For some it was a way of life they already had, then when it hit the news they said “Hey, I already do that!” and went out to learn more. Help others get their start in living Green!!

Here are a few tips on recycling right! Did you know that these things cannot be put in your recycling bin?
– Paper clips and staples can jam a recycled paper machine and ruin a whole batch of recycled paper. Make sure you are careful that you remove these from your paper before it is recycled.
– Anything that has a waxy coating like paper milk containers, juice boxes and paper gift bags cannot be recycled. These papers cannot absorb water and cannot be made into a pulp to be recycled.
– Only #1 and #2 plastic bottles can be recycled at the curb, and throw all caps and lids in the garbage.
– Box board cannot be recycled at the curb. Box board is thin card board from cereal boxes and the like. But don’t throw it away, collect it in a paper grocery sack and take it to a recycling center like Ecology-Action.

You can recycle at the curb:
– cans like soup and pet food cans.
– corrugated boxes, but they need to be flattened and tied with a string.
Here is a great poster from Austin Energy that you can post next to your recycling area at your home.

If you would like to recycle more, Ecology-Action takes many items that cannot be recycled at the curb. It is simple and you can find out more at their website,

Stay Tuned… for an upcoming newsletter about Day-lighting your home. How can you get the most out of the Sun’s power for lighting?

Also, watch for an upcoming newsletter about plug load.  For most residences, our typical energy use is for heating and cooling, lighting and anything that is plugged in to our outlets. Our appliances alone can account for about 40% of our total energy use; one big one is computers that stay on 24/7. What is your plug load?

Please help me do a little survey:
Do you know where your electric meter is? Can you read it? Here is how.

Try this:
Look at your meter with the following things in use, then turned off. Email your results to us at
Computer and monitor
One incandescent light in a typical room (if you use only compact fluorescents, good for you and omit this one from the survey!!)