So a few weeks ago, I started to write about how I and a couple of guys from Green Sangha had begun the Low Carbon Diet challenge (as if we all need one more freakin’ challenge right now!) but I was tired and feeling fluey and never finished the post.
Well, I’m back on it. But I’m stuck. The guys and I pretty much flew through Section 1, patting ourselves on the back for having done almost everything on the list already:
1) Reducing garbage — I have next to none.
2) Turning down hot water heater and using less hot water. Check.
3) Reducing dishwashing water. Check.
4) Washing and drying clothes efficiently. This needs work. We do wash everything in cold water. And we can’t afford to buy new appliances right now. But I have been remiss about looking into drying racks or clotheslines. Mainly cuz I just don’t want to. (Don’t be mad, Burbanmom.)
5) Turning down the thermostat, and getting a programmable one. Check.
6) Dealing with electricity vampires. Check. We use Smart Strips.
7) Turning the temp up on the A/C. Check. (We don’t have one!)
8) Reducing vehicle miles. Check. (We don’t have a vehicle!)
9) Driving efficiently. Check. (See number 8)
10) Eating low on the food chain. I pledged to have one vegan day per week. So far, I have not remembered to actually do this one. I don’t eat a lot of meat. But I keep forgetting and putting milk in my coffee (or now, tea) or using butter or mayo or what have you.
All in all, Section 1 was not too bad. But a few days ago, I started on Section 2. And I have issues. Section 2 is all about making your home more energy efficient. As renters, there are only so many things we can or are willing to do. But also as someone trying to reduce my plastic consumption, a few of these steps are challenging.
That’s where you come in. Can you help?
1) Where can I find an effective door sweep that is not made from vinyl? Vinyl (aka PVC) is one of the most toxic plastics, and I simply don’t want it in my home. I can’t avoid vinyl-covered electrical cords. But I am hoping to avoid other types of vinyl. I saw this aluminum and felt door sweep. Before I order this thing that will inevitably come wrapped in plastic, does anyone know about this kind? Does it work? Do you have a better idea?
Please don’t suggest a traditional draft dodger. Burbanmom was kind enough to sew one for me this past winter, and the cats destroyed it within weeks. Plus, the problem with draft dodgers is that you have to keep moving them back into place. And how can you put it back in place when you’re leaving the house? I have seen somewhere a way to make a draft dodger attach to the door, but once again, it had better be made out of really sturdy stuff or the cats will take it apart.
2) Window and door weatherstripping. This is a mystery to me. It seems there is some felt weatherstripping in some of our windows and door cracks already, but how can I tell if it’s still good or needs replacing? I don’t want to use vinyl foam, for reasons already stated, or any other plastic if I can avoid it. But the metal weather stripping seems to be hella expensive, and we have a lot of windows. Plus, we are renters! Yeah, maybe the landlord would go in on it, but then again, probably not.
And why does weatherstripping only come in 17′ lengths? I’d need way more than that to do all my windows and outside doors, and each 17′ roll comes in its own plastic bag. Why can’t I buy a bigger roll? And what is the most effective and also least plastic type to get? Suggestions?
3) Outlet insulators. Necessary? I’d never heard of them until reading this chapter.
4) Furnace tune-up. Have you heard of this? Have you done it? Once again, as I proved in my post about Ducts, I’m kinda clueless in the ways of houses and their heating systems. Anyone in the Bay Area have a good heating company to recommend to tune up our furnace? (It’s a gas furnace in the attic, if you didn’t read or don’t remember the Duct adventure.) Also, apparently, we need to insulate those same ducts. How did I ever make it this far without knowing these basic facts of life?
Chime in, please. This may be my last post for the week, as I’ve got a lot to do to prepare for the Send-Off Ceremony this Saturday, another step towards the upcoming vision fast on July 21. I’ve given up quite a few things that were weighing me down and discovered a few more tonight in our group meeting.
Doing without my psychological and emotional crutches hasn’t been as agonizing as I thought it would be because crying is still allowed. And what I mean is that crying is a great way to release pent-up emotion and frustration without resorting to substances or other distractions. And you feel great afterward, if maybe a little headachy. I highly recommend it.
So along with your home weatherization tips, how about a few good crying stories? That’ll make us all happy!