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  •  My wife an I have worked out our house (1+ / 0-)
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    dhonig

    since 1990 (me) or 1987 (her). I haven't driven 3000 miles yet this year (got an oil change in January and keep comparing the odometer to the sticker on the windshield). My wife has driven less than that. We haven't traveled by air (minus one business trip a few years ago) for the last 7 or 8 years. My wife visited our daughter in Seattle recently and took the train (about 180 miles from  here).

    Right now I'm cutting firewood, which is our principle source of heat, and has been since the mid-80s. I'm cutting up windthrow and deadfalls on the hill behind the house - stuff I couldn't get to easily until they bulldozed a fire line across the hill last fall when we were evacuated because of a nearby fire (that didn't reach us).  All of our firewood since the 1980s has come from dead trees, slash from logging, or thinning our woods. Since last year, I'm also cutting firewood for our neighbor from her land.

    We built a super-insulated house in WI in the 1980s which we could heat on less than 3/4s of a cord of hardwood a year plus passive solar, and used time-of-use electric rates. We moved to WA State in 1996, and our house here is not as energy efficient, but winters are also considerably milder. In WI, our cars MPG was between the mid-30s to nearly 50 MPG. We need higher ground clearance here and 4WD sometimes, both because of snow and road hazards, so our MPG is now in the 25+ range. But we drive a lot less now.

    Our utility produces 90% of its electricity from county-owned hydro. Even with some of the lowest electric rates in the nation, we still use CFLs for light (since the 1980s) and have most things that consume phantom power on outlet strips so they're only powered when in use. Our swimming pool is solar-heated, and in fact we run the pump at night so that the solar heater is actually cooling the water, which stays in the 90F range most of the summer.

    My wife also recycles empty wine and other bottles into glassware - both glasses and vases, and fused/slumped pieces like bowls and plates. Our cars are 6 and 12 years old respectively, and we try to repair rather than replace things or keep things until they wear out.

    Where we live now we have 16 acres of mostly woods that was logged and burned over the back half before we bought it. The calculation is approximate, but our woods sequesters more carbon every year than we emit - even if accounting for the brush we burn to stay fire safe. Our carbon footprint is zero to negative, and we probably do worse than a lot of our neighbors.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by badger on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:55:07 PM PDT

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