Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Green Condo?

I have been doing a LOT of research in the last few months to figure out how to make our new condo more "green". I have read several sources stating that residing in smaller quarters makes for greener living, so we inadvertently ticked that box when our budget determined what size apartment we could afford.

And being poor has accounted for another 'green' habit in our cosy condo; we don't have a TV. We noticed that when we lived at our parents' places, we had a habit of sitting with our laptops in front of the TV. Talk about a drain on electricity. So now, we watch selected TV shows on our laptops and it means we have to focus our entire attention on it. As a result, we don't watch much TV, but when we do, it's more intimate.

But other than that, I fear it's all uphill in terms of being green; our eco-friendly choices are mostly going to take up time or money.

Here's why:
  • We are going to air-dry laundry. We live in a 660-sq foot condo where clothing can only be air dried outside for 1 month of the year, so we are going to have to be clever in the way we set up our clothes lines (including a way to air dry our queen-size bed sheets!) Right now, we have big gawky A-frame lines that stand in the middle of the room. One accidental bump, and the weight of the heavy laundry brings the whole frame (clothing and all) to the floor.
  • We're being selective with furniture. I drive Jason crazy scouring kijiji for 'bargain furniture' which then needs some TLC and about $50 worth of hardware supplies to refurbish. But our efforts are justified; the greenest piece of furniture is one that already exists. It make take us time to restore it, but it's one less tree that has to be cut down.
  • We're supporting eco-friendly companies. There are very few places that are cheap AND ecofriendly but we've decided that for the most part, the benefits outweigh the guilt. Our IKEA purchases are reportedly 90% green (but its going to take a lot of time to put the pieces together), when we paint in the next few weeks, we're going to be using Benjamin Moore's Nature Zero-VOC range (not the cheapest option, but the healthiest) and when our fridge dies (any day now...), we're upgrading to a energy efficient one. The current one came with the apartment 10 years ago and doesn't even have an energy rating. It's now making a terrible clicking sound and we've decided that the little man who lives inside the fridge and turns the light on and off MUST be a gecko.
  • We're multitasking in the kitchen. Turning on the oven uses a crazy amount of energy, so if we are going to use it, it has to cook at least two things (a roast followed by apple pie for desert etc.) And we're using our dishwasher, which is apparently more water and energy efficient than hand washing if it is full and the auto-dry is turned off. Yes, I may have to dry the dishes myself after the cycle is done, but it beats that guilty feeling.
So they're my ideas for now, but I would greatly appreciate more tips or advice on how to be green around the home. My mother is the guru of all things eco-friendly, but most of her earth friendly practices take place in the garden; a luxury we don't have yet. We can't store rain water, we can't have a compost bin and we can't grow our own vegetables.


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