Reduce

Reduce - To use a resource more efficiently and with less waste

Old-tech Irrigation with Ollas

Olla factory at Growing Awareness Urban Farm

The Southwest isn't wet in the best of times and during a drought, like Right Now, it is downright parched. How do you keep a garden growing when the rain doesn't fall? We have to irrigate, but how can we irrigate effectively with scarce water? Drip irrigation is one modern answer, but ancient people had a simpler version of the same idea.

Flushed With Pride

Dual-flush Toilet Conversion Kit - installed

I've finished many efficiency-oriented, DIY projects around our house. Some projects, like insulation, are nearly invisible and some are quite simple, like weather stripping. But few are as subtle, yet a regular part of our daily lives as this one. I've just installed a dual-flush conversion kit into the most frequently used toilet in our home. It's not something we're likely to show off to the neighbors, but it will help reduce our household water use.

A Thermostat That's Smarter by Half

Albert Einstein

Last fall I installed a 'smarter' thermostat as our old bimetal thermostat had started short-cycling the furnace. A local hardware store had a sale on programmable thermostats for $25, and I installed one that day. Within a day or two I had the thermostat programmed to our preferences and I haven't touched it since. The one question remaining - is the new 'smart' thermostat more energy efficient than the old 'dumb' one?

I can happily say that the new programmable thermostat IS more energy efficient!

LED Vs. Halogen at Sundown

LED (left) & Halogen (right) floodlights

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and rising electricity rates.' Mr. Franklin didn't have an electricity bill to pay, but he was definitely a frugal man. In my quest for lower electrical bills and fewer burnt-out bulbs I found a replacement for outdoor halogen flood lights.

The Downside of Takeout

Trash Can, full of disposable packaging

Ours is usually a 'half-full trash bin' sort of family. Some of our neighbors roll out an overflowing trash bin each week while our bin usually holds one small bag. Our full recycling bins and compost account for some reduction in our trash output. I try to avoid excess packaging and waste, but we definitely aren't a zero-waste family. Our trash bag filled quickly this week when we ordered takeout food that was packaged in unrecyclable styrofoam clamshells.

Tuesday Night Plumbing Club

My scraped head

How do you have fun on a Tuesday night? I like to unwind with a little amateur plumbing repair. This Tuesday I dismantled the kitchen faucet assembly, rushed over to the hardware store minutes before closing time and pawed madly through the plumbing section for valves and bits. Then I ran back home to reassemble the whole mess and I only had to reverse one valve body! In the process I also banged my head under the sink. All of this so I can stop a maddening drip at the kitchen faucet. Yep, good times at our house.

Carnival of the Green # 210!

Carnival of the Green - logo

Put on your party clothes and grab some beads folks, it's carnival time! Specifically, Carnival of the Green. This is a traveling blog show filled with links about green living, sustainability and whatever else is floating about the 'green blogosphere'. Scroll down, you may find some tips you like, environmental issues, or a discussion you want to join in. Oh, thanks for visiting EcoDaddyo.com where we blather on about practical ideas for sustainable living in the American Southwest!

Accords, Treaties and Resolutions

January 1 Sunset at the Hyde Park Road Overlook

Observing the news over the past year I've come to a (probably obvious) realization or two. Climate Change is rapidly growing in global awareness, importance and the discussion has become heated (pun intended). It appears that our planet is rapidly approaching a point of change (cultural, economic, environmental, etc.) driven by climate change. Change brings uncertainty, so governments, companies, and people have chosen to either fight change or promote their vision of change.

Saving the season, part two

Peach - Ginger Jam

It's Labor Day weekend and summer has begun winding down. I can only hope that it won't be winding down too quickly because it was just in the past few days that I noticed little proto-green beans on the vine. However, people are back in school, it is cool in the morning, and the scent of roasting green chile has permeated the northern New Mexico air. As the days get shorter, I feel this mad desperation coming over me to preserve what I can of summer.

Coal Ash Waste - In Our Backyard

TVA Kingston TN Coal Ash Pond Failure

0n December 22, 2008 a 'storage pond' dam broke in Harriman, TN flooding the Tennessee River Valley with over 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge. What wasn't known at the time of this man-made disaster is how many more Coal Ash dump sites exist in the U.S.A. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club the EPA released a list of 584 coal ash dump sites across the country. 35 states, including New Mexico, have coal ash dumps containing arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins.

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